Yale Cocktail – Classic Recipe & History

Yale
Yale

The History Of The Yale Cocktail.

The Yale cocktail dates back to the late 1800s, and the oldest printed recipe I can find for it is from the 1895 book Modern American Drinks by George Kappeler. There are two main recipes for the Yale, this one and the Waldorf-Astoria recipe, and they are both very different drinks. They differ because the Waldorf-Astoria recipe is half Old Tom Gin and half sweet vermouth instead of a dash of Peychaud bitters. While the Old Waldorf-Astoria book was printed in 1935, it documents the recipes used by the bar between the 1890s to the 1920s. Therefore both Yale recipes are from the same period, and the two recipes are also both from New York. They were just two different recipes from two different bars.

Cocktails Inspired By The Ivy League Universities.

In the United States, there is a collection of 8 universities referred to as the Ivy League universities. The term is used to group the universities by their sporting league, but it also eludes their heritage. 7 of the 8 were universities before the American Revolution, Cornell being the odd man out, and hold themselves in high esteem. There are two other elite pre-revolution Universities, but they are too far from the others to be part of the same league. A sportswriter first coined the term Ivy League in the 1930s, describing the upcoming football season.

Like any good sports rivalry, each university in the Ivy League also has a cocktail named after them. The Harvard and Yale cocktails are the most famous of the Ivy League cocktails and for a good reason. As you can also see, I know absolutely nothing about team sports. I know there are balls and points, but past that, not much else. I was more of a D&D and Japanese manga kind of kid.

About George Kappeler And The New York Holland House Hotel.

Like the Waldorf-Astoria, the Holland House Hotel in New York had one of the best bars in the country. Interestingly both hotels were right down the street from each other, Holland House on 30th and 5th, and the Waldorf-Astoria on 34th and 5th, the present-day location of the Empire State Building. Opened December 7th, 1891, the interior of the Holland house was considered its prized jewel. The New York Times in 1891 praised its beautiful carved marble interiors, ornate rooms, and mosaic floors and described the hotel as a marvel of bronze, marble, and glasswork. Managing the hotel’s cafe and restaurant Bar was one of the top bartenders in the New York George Kappeler. He’s credited with inventing many famous cocktails, a few still popular today, and was the first to describe a classic whiskey cocktail as old-fashioned. He used the term old-fashioned to differentiate it from his other fancy and standard whiskey cocktails. George published his first cocktail book in 1895 and an updated second edition in 1906.

The good times did not last, though, and by the mid-1910s, most of the wealthy New York clients moved further north to park avenue, and the hotel started to fall on hard times. With the passing of the 18th amendment and the Volstead Act on January 17th, 1920, the hotel’s few remaining revenue streams dried up, and the hotel was sold. The Holland house closed that same year and was converted to an office building. The interior was gutted to make room for office spaces, and like the Waldorf-Astoria, a vital piece of American cocktail history was lost. Although, unlike the Waldorf-Astoria, the building is still standing on 30th and 5th next to Marble Collegiate Church. The grand interior is long gone, but it’s still fun to see the façade of the once-great Holland House.

Recipe Resources

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Yale Cocktail

0 from 0 votes Only logged in users can rate recipes
Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

1

servings
Calories

189

kcal
ABV

24%

Total time

3

minutes

Make a classic Yale cocktail

Ingredients

  • 3 dashes Orange Bitters

  • 1 dash Peychaud Bitters

  • 1.5 oz Old Tom Gin

  • 1 oz Soda Water

Directions

  • Add Ice To Mixing Glass and combine all ingredients in the mixing glass.
  • Stir the ingredients for 10 – 15 seconds to properly chill and dilute the drink. 
  • Strain into glass and garnish with a lemon peel, then discard lemon peel.
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Prairie Oyster – Classic Recipe & History

Prairie Oyster
Prairie Oyster

Is The Prairie Oyster Good and What Does It Taste Like?

The prairie oyster doesn’t taste bad; it’s pretty good. You can barely taste the egg yolk. Mostly you taste the funky Worcestershire sauce and spices, which I think taste pretty good, and then the egg yolk pops and then goes down. I know that description is not very persuasive to trying it, but it’s surprisingly good. You will most likely like this if you like throwing back raw oysters, as it’s not too far off. The first prairie oyster you eat is for sure the hardest. You stare at it, and the drink stares back. Eventually, you realize you have no choice but to drink it.

Truth be told, I love this drink, and my family is disgusted by me eating them. Egg yolk is pretty mild, but the Worcestershire sauce and vinegar are what hit you. Optional toppings are either ketchup, hot sauce, or horseradish. I like the horseradish as it sends a good quick burn up the sinuses. So it’s a nice funk and burns.

The History Of The Prairie Oyster.

The prairie oyster starts to pop up in books around the end of the 19th century beginning of the 20th century. However, the prairie oyster appears to be a take on an authentic oyster dish. Like ordering a shrimp cocktail at the bar today, the oyster cocktail was an excellent go-to during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Many books had oyster cocktails among their recipes, and the small bar bite typically was 5 or 6 shucked oysters in a glass, mixed with vinegar, lemon juice, hot sauce or ketchup, and salt and pepper. Serve with a spoon and let the patron dig in. In the 1891 book Boothby’s American bar, I also found a cocktail called the pick me up. The cocktail is Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, black coffee, and salt. The earliest example of the prairie oyster I could find is in the 1895 book “Drinks of All Kinds For All Seasons” by John Hogg of London. He presents the origin story that a few Texans were out camping when one fell ill and demanded oysters to heal him. They didn’t have oysters, but they had eggs. So they fixed up a drink of it similar to an oyster cocktail, handed it to their friend, and he suddenly got better. That story is not true (all the ones that fit together perfectly usually are not.), but it does offer a connection that the prairie oyster is based on a regular oyster cocktail. While there may be no definitive origin for the prairie oyster, it was probably invented around the 1890s.

Does The Prairie Oyster Actually Cure Hangovers?

No, of course not, but what it does do is it forces you to focus and get it together. The drink isn’t that bad, but most people will have to psych themselves out before throwing it back. It’s that few seconds you spend staring down at that funk-covered egg yolk, building up the resolve to do it, that perks you up. It’s jumping into the abyss and discovering it’s a feather bed. Just try it. I bet you have all the ingredients for it right now.

Is It Safe To Drink Raw Eggs?

As a word of warning, use pasteurized eggs if you can. Pasteurized eggs are still raw like a regular egg but with all the germs killed off. The FDA guesstimates that 1 in every 40,000 eggs has salmonella, which is super rare. For reference, there is a 1 in 8000 chance of dying in a plane crash, 1 in 5000 die from choking, and around 1% of sushi test positive for salmonella. I got these numbers from the FDA and the Wall Street journal. Pasteurized eggs are hard to find, so you can pasteurize them yourself or roll the dice. If you have one of those fancy sous vide devices, it’s straightforward to pasteurize them yourself. As someone who has had Salmonella poisoning before, it is one of the most painful things I have ever experienced. It feels like your intestines are possessed by the devil and fed into a paper shredder. About a day or 2 in, you start to think that you will die, and you hope for death to come quickly to end it. Again 1 in every 40,000. So incredibly rare, and if you get Salmonella, you’re much more likely to get it the same way I did, by eating food somewhere with no running water, where people don’t wash their hands. I’ve eaten countless raw eggs and have never gotten sick from raw eggs once.

Why You Should Try The Weird Stuff.

Nature loves courage, and always remember that no matter how weird or gross something is to you (be it food, drinks, clothing, music, entertainment, or anything), it’s somebody’s favorite thing in the world. You have to find out why. During your life, you will be presented with something (and I’m talking about objects and experiences) that you either find gross or strange (like the Prairie Oyster), and your first reaction is typically to make a face and reject it but don’t. Whatever it is you’re making a repulsed face at is somebody’s favorite thing in the world, and it is that happiness you should try and channel when experiencing anything new. It doesn’t mean you have to end up liking it, but you should always approach new experiences looking to find their joys. So take the risk and try something strange. I learned this from Anthony Bourdain. I remember watching No Reservations in college and hearing him say before he eats anything new that he “remembers this is someone’s favorite dish in the whole world, and my job is to find out why.”

Recipe Resouces

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Prairie Oyster

5 from 1 vote Only logged in users can rate recipes
Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

1

servings
Calories

78

kcal
ABV

0%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make a prairie oyster.

Ingredients

  • 1 Egg Yolk

  • 1 tsp Malt Vinegar

  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

  • 1/2 tsp Horseradish

  • 1 Dash Salt

  • 1 Dash Black Pepper

Directions

  • Crack and separate an egg yolk into a lowball glass.
  • Add malt vinegar, worcestershire sauce, horseradish.
  • Add a dash of salt and black pepper.
  • Consume the prairie oyster in a single gulp.

Recipe Video

Notes

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Martini (Medium) – Classic Recipe & History

Martini Medium
Martini Medium

The Medium Martini, Also Known As The Perfect Martini.

The last of the three main martinis, the medium martini, is perfect and combines the flavors of both the sweet and dry martini. The oldest printed martini recipe I could find is in the 1888 edition of Harry Johnson’s New and Improved Bartender’s Manual. His original 1882 edition does not provide a recipe for the Martini. The original martini recipe appears between the late 1880s and 1890s and is essentially a pre-prohibition style Manhattan with Old Tom Gin instead of whiskey. Harry Johnson’s recipe is half Old Tom Gin, half sweet vermouth, a dash of orange liqueur, two Boker’s (cardamom) bitters, and two dashes of gum syrup. If you look at my original pre-prohibition style Manhattan recipe, they are almost the same, save for the Old Tom Gin. But the recipe begins to change over the next decade until it settles on the more generally accepted 2 oz Old Tom, 1 oz sweet vermouth, and a dash of orange bitters with an expressed lemon peel. This was the standard martini until the 1910s, when the martini’s dry variation was invented and became very popular. The original martini becomes known as a sweet martini, and a medium sweet version that combines the two is also made.

Now while most bartenders from the 1910s through to prohibition know of the sweet and dry martini (Not all, though, even books like Hoffman house from 1912 and Jack’s Manual from 1916 only have the sweet martini), not all seemed to do medium martinis. Hugo Ensslin’s 1917 book Recipes for Mixed Drinks only list the sweet and dry versions. It’s not till the mid-1920s that you start to see the medium martini recipe being printed—beginning in 1925, books like L’art du Shaker by Dominique Bristol first published a martini named the medium martini. The recipe for the medium martini is precisely the same regardless of the book. 1/2 dry gin, 1/4 dry vermouth, 1/4 sweet vermouth, and most do not have a garnish for this drink. The exception to this is the Waldorf-Astoria’s recipe which has an expressed lemon peel and Spanish olive like the dry martini.

I chose to go with the Waldorf-Astoria recipe because I like the lemon oil and olive as a garnish. I think it makes the drink better. If you ignore the garnish, the recipe for this cocktail is the same from 1920 to the 1970s (I don’t own a cocktail recipe book from the 1980s). Somewhere after the 1970s, this started to be called a perfect martini. I can’t find exactly when or by who, but the name perfect martini is standard today for a medium martini. For all 3 of my martini recipes, I chose to go with the Savoy naming structure for martinis because it is the most straightforward and concise.

Recipe Resources

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Martini (Medium)

0 from 0 votes Only logged in users can rate recipes
Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

1

servings
Calories

163

kcal
ABV

29%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make a classic medium/perfect martini

Ingredients

  • 2/3 oz Dry Vermouth

  • 2/3 oz Sweet Vermouth

  • 1.5 oz Dry Gin

Directions

  • Add Ice To Mixing Glass. Combine all ingredients in the mixing glass.
  • Stir the ingredients for 15 – 20 seconds to properly chill and dilute the drink.
  • Strain into glass, express an lemon peel over the top, and garnish with an Spanish olive

Notes

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Double Barrel – Original Recipe & History

Double Barrel
Double Barrel

The Mighty Double Barrel Cocktail.

While not as alcoholic as a manhattan, it has much more flavor. For this cocktail, George Kappeler just put it all together. Both sweet and dry vermouth and both orange and angostura bitters. The recipe calls for just whiskey, but with all the herbal flavors in this cocktail, the spiciness of rye mixes well. Sadly this drink didn’t have much of a life outside of George Kappeler’s books and is absent from most any other book after. Give the Double Barrel a shot if you’re looking for a fantastic drink that was forgotten by time.

George Kappeler And The New York Holland House Hotel.

Like the Waldorf-Astoria, the Holland House Hotel in New York had one of the best bars in the country. Interestingly both hotels were right down the street from each other, Holland House on 30th and 5th, and the Waldorf-Astoria on 34th and 5th, the present-day location of the Empire State Building. Opened December 7th, 1891, the interior of the Holland house was considered its prized jewel. The New York Times in 1891 praised its beautiful carved marble interiors, ornate rooms, and mosaic floors and described the hotel as a marvel of bronze, marble, and glass work. Managing the hotel’s cafe and restaurant Bar was one of the top bartenders in the New York George Kappeler. He’s credited with inventing many famous cocktails, a few still popular today, and was the first to describe a classic whiskey cocktail as old-fashioned. He used the term old-fashioned to differentiate it from his other fancy and standard whiskey cocktails. George published his first cocktail book in 1895 and an updated second edition in 1906.

The good times did not last, though, and by the mid-1910s, most of the wealthy New York clients moved further north to park avenue, and the hotel started to fall on hard times. With the passing of the 18th amendment and the Volstead Act on January 17th, 1920, the hotel’s few remaining revenue streams dried up, and the hotel was sold. The Holland house closed that same year and was converted to an office building. The interior was gutted to make room for office spaces, and like the Waldorf-Astoria, a vital piece of American cocktail history was lost. Although, unlike the Waldorf-Astoria, the building is still standing on 30th and 5th next to Marble Collegiate Church. The grand interior is long gone, but it’s still fun to see the façade of the once-great Holland House.

Using The Right Ingredients.

Vermouth is always essential and worth sending a little more to get a quality product, but your whiskey will have the most significant impact on this cocktail. George Kappeler only wrote to use whiskey, but I feel a nice spicy rye whiskey with a bit of burn works well here. Bourbon is good, but it is too sweet and gets lost in the mix. The strong herbal wine flavors of the vermouth, the earthy angostura bitters, and citrusy orange bitters are better balanced by spicy rye. Also, since it’s only 1 ounce of whiskey, it needs to be stronger and have some burn to offset the 2 ounces of vermouth.

Recipe Resources

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Double Barrel

0 from 0 votes Only logged in users can rate recipes
Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

1

servings
Calories

152

kcal
ABV

25%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make a Double Barrel

Ingredients

  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters

  • 2 dashes Orange Bitters

  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth

  • 1 oz Dry Vermouth

  • 1 oz Rye Whiskey

Directions

  • Add Ice To Mixing Glass and combine all ingredients in the mixing glass.
  • Stir the ingredients for 10 – 15 seconds to properly chill and dilute the drink.
  • Strain into a glass.
  • Garnish with 2 maraschino cherries.

Notes

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Absinthe Drip – Original Recipe & History

Absinthe Drip
Absinthe Drip

The History Of Absinthe.

Absinthe was invented in the 1790s by Dr. Pierre Ordinaire, a French Pharmacist living in Switzerland at the time, as a way to kill intestinal tapeworms. The Pharmacist figured that wormwood oil would be even more effective at killing worms if mixed with super high-proof alcohol. Absinthe would be bottled anywhere from 50 to 75% alcohol. To make it taste better if it was primarily flavored with star anise and fennel. In 1912 absinthe was banned for public safety because wormwood oil is dangerous in high doses, and people would begin to hallucinate at toxic levels. LSD had pink elephants, and Absinthe had the green fairy. It was replaced with other anise-flavored alcohols that lacked wormwood oil, and in 2007 the ban was lifted, and Absinthe is legally able to be sold again. This time minus the wormwood.

Absinthe Drip Without A Sugar Cube.

You don’t need a sugar cube if you don’t want to add it, but without some kind of sweetener, an Absinthe Drip is a bit too intense. I wouldn’t recommend not having some sugar added. Simple syrup and plain water will work fine too. The sugar cube does not affect the color of the cocktail and is there to make the high level of oils more palatable. Again this all goes back to when Absinthe was used as an essential medicine, and a common way to make medicine taste better was to add sugar. Also, the drip speed doesn’t matter; add the water fast or drip it slow. I’ve tried not adding sugar before, and it isn’t very good. It tastes like drinking the essential oils you would add to a diffuser. Also, the fountain and spoon are all part of the presentation and more theatrics than necessary to make the drink.

Why Does Absinthe Turn A Milky White Color In Water?

So there is quite a bit of star anise, fennel, coriander, and other wood oils in the absinthe. It’s these oils that give it its intense flavor and also provide its medicinal qualities. Lipids, like oil, are soluble in alcohol because they are very similar molecularly. Likes dissolve likes. Therefore the high percentage of alcohol and low percentage of water can act as a solution to the herb oil and keep them in a clear, evenly suspended solution. Once the alcohol to water ratio drops low enough, as in the case of this cocktail, the strongly hydrophobic oil is repelled by the water and separates from the ethanol molecule. The oil then bonds to other free-floating repelled oils. We perceive these large groups of suspended oil molecules as cloudiness.

Typically the oil molecules will keep bonding together until they form a fat blob of oil (pun intended) that floats to the top, just like a balsamic vinaigrette. This effect is called the Ostwald Ripening effect. But unlike balsamic vinaigrette, Absinthe with water will stay cloudy almost indefinitely. Why? The truth is, scientists, don’t fully know why. This effect is called the Ouzo Effect or Louching. The scientist discovered that at a certain point, the oil molecules stopped bonding together, and these small groups of oil floated evenly away from the surrounding alcohol, water, and other oil groups. And they don’t know why. Some of their guesses are that after the oil molecule broke free of the alcohol molecule, it picked up a slight negative charge. Once enough oil bonds together, the charge is strong enough to push away from the other negatively charged oil groups. Another guess is that maybe the Osmotic pressure kept them from further bonding together. This effect can be observed in any liqueur made from infused oil. The orange liqueur will do the same thing when adding water, Limoncello, essential oils, etc. It’s nothing specific to Absinthe but any oil-infused high-proof solution.

A noncocktail example is dissolving natural lipid-based, saponified soap in water to drive the point home further. Most “soap” these days are detergents and not true soap. Actual chemically correct soap is a combination of oils and glycerol. An easy-to-find natural soap is Dr. Bonner’s liquid Castile soap. Add it to water and see it turn cloudy like absinthe. The oils are bonded to glycerol and alcohol, and when the soap dissolves in the water, it turns a cloudy white color.

Absinthe And The Green Fairy.

Absinthe earned the title of the Green Fairy in the 1800s because of the madness it was said to give those who drank it. This madness was most likely the result of just drinking too many of them and getting blackout drunk, and at 50 – 75% ABV, that’s very easy to do. It is also possible that wormwood is toxic to humans at high enough doses and can bring about psychosis and eventually death. There is a saying that the only difference between a remedy and a poison is quality. It didn’t help absinthe’s image that many artists and social outcasts were fans of this cocktail, and some of their more eccentric behaviors were believed to be the results of drinking too much absinthe. So for better or worse, in 1912, Absinthe was banned in most of Europe and the United States and replaced in many cocktails by the much lower proof anise Liqueur. But if you would like to experience the cocktail that enchanted Oscar Wilde, Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, and many others, give this simple drink a taste.

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Absinthe Drip

5 from 1 vote Only logged in users can rate recipes
Course: DrinksCuisine: French
Servings

1

servings
Calories

201

kcal
ABV

16%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make an Absinthe Drip.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 oz Absinthe

  • 1/3 oz Simple Syrup

  • 4 oz Water

Directions

  • Simply combine Ice cold water with simple syrup and absinthe in a cup and enjoy.
  • For a fancier presentation place a sugar cube on a slotted absinthe spoon over cup with absinthe.
  • Slowly drip ice cold water from an absinthe fountain onto the sugar cube to dissolve it.
  • Add as much or as little water as needed for the desired taste.

Notes

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If you have ever struggled with a recipe or wonder why yours are not turning out like they do at the bar then check out my simple step-by-step videos. I will walk you through how to expertly build each drink so you get consistently great results.

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Whiskey Julep – Classic Recipe & History

Whiskey Julep
Whiskey Julep

The History of Julep Cocktails And Their Ancient Origins.

The history of the Julep goes back to ancient Persia (modern-day Iran). Rosewater was thought to have health benefits, and the word for rosewater in old Persian is Gulab (gul=rose, ab=water). Gulab slowly made its way to the surrounding Arabic cultures, and over time, the word Gulab changed to Julāb, and it was used to describe any sweetened medicinal syrup. Julābs eventually traveled to western Europe and England; syrupy medicines are called Julaps or Julapums. By the mid-1700s, there were all kinds of julaps. Rosewater julap was called Julapum Rosatum and was used for treating Heart issues. Julapum tabaci was a tobacco-infused syrup for treating asthma, Julapum sedativum was opium syrup Julapum Stomachicum was a mint-infused syrup used to settle upset tummies. I found many kinds of other Julapums, but this is good enough. Also, most of what I found was written in Latin, and google translate can only do so much. A medical journal I found online from the 1750s calls for a Julapum Stomachicum to be a peppermint-infused sweetener mixed with sherry. What we today consider a mint julep emerges around the early 1800s. The British 1827 home medical book Oxford Night Caps refers to a mint julap as a mint syrup mixed with brandy that a parent can make to ease the upset tummy.

With its unique drinking culture, the mint julep took on a different identity in the United States. Mint juleps were dressed up and made fancy for saloon patrons looking to get buzzed. The oldest printed recipe for this saloon-style julep comes from Jerry Thomas’s 1862 edition of The Bar Tenders Guide. The formula is one table-spoonful of white pulverized sugar. And 2 1/2 tablespoonfuls of water and mix well with a spoon. 3 or 4 sprigs of fresh mint. 1 1/2 wine glass Cognac brandy, dash with Jamaica rum, and sprinkle white sugar on top. Jerry Thomas also has recipes for a gin julep, whiskey julep, a pineapple julep, pineapple syrup, and gin cocktail.

The mint julep stays a brandy cocktail for a very long time, and most bartenders and recipe books copy Jerry Thomas till around the late 1800s. Books in the late 1880s mention how the once-loved julep had fallen in favor of other more complex cocktails and is typically something only the older men order. Around this time, the mint julep recipe replaces brandy for bourbon. The first instance of this is in the 1888 book Bartender’s Manual by Theodore Proulx, where he has his recipe for a mint julep that uses bourbon instead of brandy. Whether this change is accidental or intentional, it would happen when the cocktail begins to fade from the bartender’s repertoire. As decades passed, the mint julep and whiskey julep merged till it just became standard to make a mint julep with whiskey.

Variations Of The Mint Julep.

This specific version is the whiskey julep variation of the mint julep. Had you ordered a mint julep in the 1800s, you would be given a brandy cocktail instead, but the whiskey variation is the most common one made today. All the other variations of the mint julep are almost entirely forgotten today, and almost everyone only knows of the mint julep. Jerry Thomas had recipes for a gin julep, whiskey Julep, pineapple julep, and a plain brandy julep. Harry Johnson added the Champagne Julep too in his 1882 book Harry Johnson’s Bartender’s Manual. An 1885 book called New guide for the hotel, bar, restaurant, butler, and chef by Bacchus has nine different Julep recipes. They are not worth listing here as they are all quite lousy.

Getting The Ice Right In A Julep.

I feel the most essential part of any julep is the crushed or shaved ice you will pack the cup with. This cocktail should have the spirit of a snow cone that tastes sweet of mint and booze, and the ice should be rounded over the rim. Otherwise, it comes across as old-fashioned if you don’t pack the cup with ice, and the julep should be more of a refreshing hot daytime summer drink and not a smoky old nighttime bar drink.

Recipe Resources

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Whiskey Julep

5 from 1 vote Only logged in users can rate recipes
Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

1

servings
Calories

211

kcal
ABV

32%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make a classic whiskey julep. Often mistaken for a mint julep, which traditionally uses brandy as its base, the whiskey julep is an amazing cocktail. This recipe dates from the 1862 edition of the Bartenders guide by Jerry Thomas.

Ingredients

  • 5

  • Mint Leaves
  • 1/2 oz

  • Simple Syrup
  • 2 oz

  • Bourbon
  • 2 dashes

  • Gold Rum

Directions

  • Add the simple syrup and mint to a mixing glass.
  • Press the mint leaves into the syrup to infuse it with the mint’s flavor.
  • Fill the mixing glass with ice and add the base spirit.
  • Mix the drink for 20 – 30 seconds.
  • Fill your serving glass with crushed ice and strain the drink into the serving glass.
  • Garnish with a bouquet of mint and dust with powdered sugar.

Recipe Video

Notes

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If you have ever struggled with a recipe or wonder why yours are not turning out like they do at the bar then check out my simple step-by-step videos. I will walk you through how to expertly build each drink so you get consistently great results.

  • Free and simple step by step videos.
  • Tips and tricks from years of experience.
  • Historically accurate and balanced recipes.


Whiskey Cocktail – Classic Recipe & History

Whiskey Cocktail
Whiskey Cocktail

The History Of The Whiskey Cocktail.

Before people started calling this an Old Fashioned, it was just a Whiskey Cocktail. Prohibition brought about a massive paradigm shift in the way cocktails were made. Before the ratification of the 18th amendment and the start of prohibition, lightly flavored, high-quality spirits were popular among many drinkers. You can identify these vintage-style American cocktails by a couple of ounces of a base spirit lightly flavored with no more than 2 or 3 dashes of other flavorful ingredients and just enough sweetness to cut the spirit’s burn. With the start of prohibition in 1917, the quality of most liquor greatly diminished, high-quality spirits were priced out of most people’s range, and most trained bartenders left the profession and got jobs that were not illicit. Suddenly overnight, there was a loss of quality products and knowledge. The cocktails that gained in popularity were the highball and sour style cocktails. Not to say they didn’t exist before this but prohibition had made them more popular. Highballs and sours were slightly easier to make and had more significant amounts of strong-flavored ingredients that helped mask the taste of poor quality spirits. The epitome of this is the tiki drink, which was created during prohibition and saw the first tiki bar open in Hollywood, CA, in 1933, immediately once prohibition ended. If an older individual wanted to order a whiskey cocktail like they remembered having before prohibition, they would need to ask for a whiskey cocktail made in the old fashion. Keep in mind that prohibition lasted for 16 years. A person turning 21 in 1917 was now 37. An entire drinking generation had grown up not having access to this kind of cocktail.

Before prohibition, the bitter used in this classic cocktail was Boker’s Bitters. Unfortunately, the company that manufactured Boker’s Bitters was already on hard times in the early 1910s, and with the start of prohibition, they closed their doors forever. Those that knew the recipe ended up taking it to their graves. Angostura Bitters ended up replacing Boker’s since people could not get this classic ingredient or even find people who knew what it was made of. Oddly enough, a bottle of Boker’s Bitters was found in the 2000s in a deceased man’s attic, and the very old tincture was reverse-engineered. It was primarily a primarily Cardamom bitter with other citrus and spices flavors. Since this discovery, Cardamom bitters made in the Boker’s style have started popping up on store shelving.

The other lost ingredient was gum syrup which was replaced with standard simple syrup. It’s not that gum arabic disappeared, but gum syrup is difficult to make and can take quite a while to emulsify fully. Untrained prohibition-era bartenders didn’t have the skill or patience to make an ingredient that most speakeasy drinkers didn’t even want.

What Does The Whiskey Cocktail Taste Like?

The classic whiskey cocktail still taste strongly of bourbon and has very forward caramel and oak flavors, but the bitters add almost an Indian spice to it. The boker’s style bitters add a cardamom, cinnamon, herbal, citrus flavor that taste very much like traditional spices for Indian food. The small amount of gum syrup thickens the consistency giving the drink a velvet full body. the body is similar to that of a red wine. To me it’s completely different from a modern old fashion. I can see reasons for preferring one over the other as they are very different from each other and both are an acquired taste.

Make Sure To Use The Right Bitters.

The cardamom bitters are the most essential ingredient in a pre-prohibition-style whiskey cocktail. This one ingredient completely changes the direction of the drink. Angostura has a dark heavy, spicy, bark, earthy flavor, but broker’s style cardamom bitters are bright and fragrant with Indian spices and citrus flavors. The Gum syrup does play a nice role in changing the body to more of a milky full-body red, but regular simple syrup will still work fine, but the bitters define this cocktail.

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Whiskey Cocktail

0 from 0 votes Only logged in users can rate recipes
Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

1

servings
Calories

213

kcal
ABV

32%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make the classic whiskey cocktail the old fashion is based on.

Ingredients

  • 2 dashes Cardamom Bitters

  • 1/2 oz Gum Syrup

  • 2 oz Bourbon

Directions

  • Add Ice To Mixing Glass and combine all ingredients in the mixing glass.
  • Stir the ingredients for 20 – 30 seconds to properly chill and dilute the drink.
  • Strain into glass.

Notes

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Star – Classic Recipe & History

star
star

First appearing in 1895, this drink initially used gum syrup to sweeten it, but simple syrup works. This is a delicious drink but doesn’t take my word for it, make it yourself.

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Star Cocktail

0 from 0 votes Only logged in users can rate recipes
Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

1

servings
Calories

182

kcal
ABV

26%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make a classic Star Cocktail

Ingredients

  • 2 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters

  • 1 tsp Gum Syrup

  • 1.5 oz Sweet Vermouth

  • 1.5 oz Brandy

Directions

  • Add Ice To Mixing Glass and combine all ingredients in the mixing glass.
  • Stir the ingredients for 20 – 30 seconds to properly chill and dilute the drink.
  • Strain into glass.

Notes

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If you have ever struggled with a recipe or wonder why yours are not turning out like they do at the bar then check out my simple step-by-step videos. I will walk you through how to expertly build each drink so you get consistently great results.

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Sazerac – Original Recipe & History

Sazerac
Sazerac

The Origins And History Of The Sazerac Cocktail.

The most complete history of the Sazerac cocktail comes from Stanley Clisby Arthur in his 1938 book “Famous New Orleans Drinks and how to mix ’em.” It is not the oldest written recipe, though. That goes to the 1908 book “The World’s Drinks and how to Mix Them” by Boothby. However, the latter Arthur’s history and recipe are considered canon today.

John B. Schiller was a New Orleans agent and distributor for “Sazerac-de-Forge et fils,” who operated out of a location on Canal and Royal Street. Schiller acquired the site in 1859 and opened a bar in the rear of the building facing Exchange Alley/Place, where he made all kinds of drinks and cocktails elusively with Sazerac-de-Forge Brandy. The location was named Sazerac Coffee House, and a large tiled mosaic of the word Sazerac was placed at the bar’s entrance. While writing this history in 1938, Arthur says the mosaic was still there, but the location was currently a barbershop.

The bar’s namesake cocktail, The Sazerac, was probably more like the recipe in the 1908 Boothby book. Schiller’s original Sazerac is described by Arthur (Who got this history from Leon Dupont, who worked as a bartender there a few years later) as a simple Brandy, Peychaud’s bitters, and sugar cocktail. It’s debated when Absinthe was first added. In 1870 the bar was bought by Schiller’s bookkeeper Thomas H. Handy. The large tile mosaic was just too nice, and Handy kept the mosaic and changed the name to “Sazerac House” since Handy was not an exclusive distributor with Sazerac, he no longer felt obligated only to use Sazerac Brandy in the bar’s cocktails. The Sazerac recipe changed, and the brandy was replaced with rye whiskey, and Dupont says this was when absinthe was added too. The recipe provided here is from the 1938 book “Famous New Orleans Drinks and how to mix ’em” by Leon Dupont. Dupont was a bartender at the Sazerac House under Thomas Handy and claimed this is how they made the Sazerac while he worked there. I did double the volumes since it made a very short drink.

What is Selner Bitters?

In the 1908 Boothby Book, he states that one of the ingredients is Selner bitters. From all the research I could do, I can not find anything on what Selner Bitters were, and no one else ever references them. Boothby’s book is the only book in which these bitters are ever mentioned. But they did exist. On page 5 of the New Orleans Daily Crescent from May 14, 1859, an import distributor named S. Wolff has “Selner’s German Bitters” for sale in his newspaper ad. This verifies that those specific bitters were present in New Orleans when John B. Schiller opened the Sazerac Coffee house. For context, this ad is from there is a slave auction ad above it. What did these imported german bitters taste like? Who knows.
I cannot find any reference to them in other cocktails books from the 1800s, and they are used in only two recipes in Boothby’s book. They were not common. People reading Boothby’s book in 1908 had probably never heard even then, and p. I tried to look in the german newspaper and historical literature websites, but since I do not understand German, I did not get very far. Selner wasn’t the only bitter tonic advertised as a “German Bitter.” There were a few others, the most popular being Dr. Hooflands German Bitters. This makes me wonder if German bitters have a consistent style and taste. Based on the benefits Hooflands German Bitters provided, I would guess they were a juniper, camomile, ginger bitter with cocaine and cannabis. Perhaps it’s a fashion similar to Underberg. We may never know.

Should The Sazerac Be Made With Brandy Or Rye?

Neither way is wrong. It just depends on which recipe you are making and what you like. I don’t doubt the authenticity of Boothby’s 1908 recipe, but the use of Selner’s German Bitters makes this version impossible to recreate. The later 1938 Arthur recipe is the most well know, but even the author says it was first made with Brandy. So it’s up to you. Try both and see which you prefer. I prefer it made with rye whiskey, but both are good.

Recipe Resources

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Download The Official Vintage American Cocktails App

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Sazerac

0 from 0 votes Only logged in users can rate recipes
Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

1

servings
Calories

226

kcal
ABV

34%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make the a classic Sazerac.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 oz Simple Syrup

  • 1 dash Peychaud’s Bitters

  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters

  • 3 oz Rye Whiskey

  • 2 dash Absinthe

Directions

  • Add Ice To Mixing Glass and combine all ingredients in the mixing glass.
  • Stir the ingredients for 20 – 30 seconds to properly chill and dilute the drink.
  • Strain into glass. Garnish with an expressed lemon peel

Recipe Video

Notes

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If you have ever struggled with a recipe or wonder why yours are not turning out like they do at the bar then check out my simple step-by-step videos. I will walk you through how to expertly build each drink so you get consistently great results.

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Rob Roy – Classic Recipe & History

Rob Roy
Rob Roy

The History Of The Rob Roy Cocktail.

The earliest known Rob Roy recipe comes from the 1908 Boothby book “The Worlds Drinks and How to Mix Them” Boothby credits the cocktail to Johnny Kent of San Francisco. His recipe is a scotch, dry vermouth, and angostura bitters cocktail, which is very good. The more common recipe is the Waldorf-Astoria recipe which is 1:1 scotch and sweet vermouth with orange bitters. Other than scotch, the two recipes are entirely different. Both are fantastic cocktails, and even though the Waldorf-Astoria recipe is more popular, the Boothby recipe is worth trying.

Recipe Resources

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Download The Official Vintage American Cocktails App

Discover what classic cocktails you can make right now with the ingredients you have. Check out the Vintage American Cocktail app.

Rob Roy

0 from 0 votes Only logged in users can rate recipes
Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

1

servings
Calories

193

kcal
ABV

32%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make the classic Rob Roy.

Ingredients

  • 1 dash Orange Bitters

  • 1.5 oz Sweet Vermouth

  • 1.5 oz Scotch

Directions

  • Add Ice To Mixing Glass and combine all ingredients in the mixing glass.
  • Stir the ingredients for 20 – 30 seconds to properly chill and dilute the drink.
  • Strain into glass.

Notes

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Make Cocktails Like A Pro

If you have ever struggled with a recipe or wonder why yours are not turning out like they do at the bar then check out my simple step-by-step videos. I will walk you through how to expertly build each drink so you get consistently great results.

  • Free and simple step by step videos.
  • Tips and tricks from years of experience.
  • Historically accurate and balanced recipes.