Homemade Whiskey Highball with Soda Water and Lemon
Food - Drink
Horsefeather: The 'Nonsense' Whiskey Cocktail With Mysterious Origins
While some cocktails can be traced back to a definite inventor or origin, most old-fashioned drinks are surrounded by lore, theories, and mystery. The horsefeather, which is named after a slang term for "nonsense," is a drink whose two possible backstories may be called nonsense by those who believe in one of the other.
The horsefeather is a Midwestern riff on the Moscow mule that uses a highball glass and a whiskey base. In addition to the liquor, the drink's formula comes together with commonplace cabinet staples: 2 ounces of whiskey, 4 ounces of ginger beer, a few dashes of Angostura bitters, and a spritz of citrus go into a glass with ice.
The horsefeather is likely a reinterpretation of the horse's neck, a 19th-century highball-like cocktail from Kansas City with whiskey, ginger ale, and a single lemon peel twirl. More popular during pre-Prohibition times, the horse's neck first appeared in print in 1895, referencing a non-alcoholic version with simply ginger ale and lemon.
Some argue that the horsefeather is from Kansas City, since it's so similar to horse's neck, and local distillery J. Rieger & Co. popularized their whiskey for the horsefeather. However, evidence points to horsefeather originating with nightlife in Lawrence, Kansas, and its now-defunct Paradise Cafe popularized the drink.