I found this one in a reprint edition of Modern American Drinks by George J. Kappeler, published in 1895. And not that I have every other cocktail guide, but by 1917’s Recipes for Mixed Drinks, the Robinson fails to appear; nor does it show up in any of the subsequently published guides I have. So not very popular? Probably not. Or maybe it was just too similar to an Old-Fashioned, and got replaced by that drink. In fact, it’s basically the same thing, only without any sugar, a point Kappeler reinforces: “Never use sweetening in this drink.” Because then you’d have to call it an Old-Fashioned.
1 1/2 oz. bourbon
3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
A twist of lemon
Add all ingredients, including the lemon twist, to an ice-filled shaker; shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Ok, so the other difference is that you shake the lemon twist along with everything else, instead of adding it afterward. Does this change things much? Not really. I expect the bruising from the ice releases just about as much of the oils from the lemon peel as twisting it over the drink would. So basically what you wind up with is bourbon, lightly flavored with lemon and with a decent helping of bitters on board. End result? It tastes more or less like bourbon. So use good stuff (I tried Angel’s Envy, a relatively new offering finished in port barrels – they also have a rye finished in rum barrels, which I’ll get as soon as I see it on the shelf anywhere). If strong whiskey drinks aren’t your thing, give this one a pass, but otherwise it’s quite good, though of course results will vary based on the bourbon you use. Four livers.