Early in 2001, Gary Ver Voort was frustrated with the lack of consistency in taste when ordering old-fashioned cocktails at bars and restaurants. This frustration inspired him to start developing a recipe that one day would become Gary’s Old Fashioned Mix. After a few test batches, Gary thought he had perfected the old fashioned after getting rave reviews from friends and family. Before too long, Gary was receiving numerous requests to make bottles of the mix for people. Soon he was struggling to keep up with the demand.
In 2010, the requests were so frequent that Gary met with his cousin at Kerrigan Brothers Winery about what he would need to begin bottling the mix in larger batches. In December of 2010, the production of Gary’s Old Fashioned Mix started. Gary spent the next 6 years successfully self-distributing the mix to bars, liquor, and grocery stores. In 2016 at a family wedding, Gary announced to his sons that he was planning on selling his business and retire. Gary’s three sons wanted to keep the tradition alive! With the help of two close family friends, Gary’s Old Fashioned Mix changed ownership.
A Wisconsin Tradition
The first use of the specific name “Old Fashioned” was for a Bourbon whiskey cocktail in the 1880s, at the Pendennis Club, a gentlemen’s club in Louisville, Kentucky. The recipe is said to have been invented by a bartender at that club and popularized by a club member and bourbon distiller, Colonel James E. Pepper, who brought it to the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel bar in New York City.
Since that time, the Old Fashioned has become widely regarded as the unofficial Wisconsin cocktail. It’s been our pleasure to test all the variations of mixes to bring you our Original Gary's old-fashioned mix, our signature flavor.