Martini (Sweet) – Classic Recipe & History

Martini (Sweet)

Martini (Sweet)

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

1

servings
Calories

284

kcal
ABV

32%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make the original Martini.

Ingredients

  • 2 dashes Orange Bitters

  • 1.5 oz Sweet Vermouth

  • 1.5 oz Old Tom Gin

Directions

  • Add Ice To Mixing Glass and combine all ingredients in the mixing glass.
  • Stir the ingredients for about 15 seconds to properly chill and dilute the drink.
  • Strain into glass and garnish with an expressed a lemon peel.

Notes

Featured Video

The History of the Classic 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 dashes of 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. By 1900 George Kappeler is making it this way. Waldorf-Astoria is making it this way (they decide to be edgy and add a Spanish olive to theirs). Even Harry Johnson updated his recipe to this with his updated 1900 edition. In Britain, Harry Johnson’s original 1888 martini recipe lived on as the Martinez, as seen in Farrow & Jacksons’ 1912 Recipes of American Drinks and the 1934 Savoy cocktail book.

I used George Kappeler’s recipe and not Harry Johnson’s. Even though the 1888 Harry Johnson recipe is older, the George Kappeler one is the first time we see the generally accepted canon sweet martini recipe used. I also feel the George Kappeler version of the original/sweet martini is the best form compared to others. As far as names, I’m using the Savoy Name for this cocktail as I feel Savoy had the most straightforward and understandable names for the three styles of martini. To George Kappeler and Harry Johnson, it was just a martini as the dry and medium variations had not yet been made.

This was the only version of the martini until the 1910s, when the dry variation of the martini was invented and started to get very popular. This martini becomes known as a sweet martini, and a medium sweet version that combines the two is also made. The sweet martini is still in public knowledge but nowhere near as popular as the dry martini. Most switch the two and think the dry martini is the original, and the sweet martini is a more recent variation of the dry martini.

The Most Important Part.

The most important part of the original sweet martini is you have to use old tom gin. There is no point if you don’t have old tom gin, and dry gin is not a substitute. Prepare this like a regular martini with a lemon peel and no olive, or add olive and discard the expressed lemon peel if you want to make it as they did at the Waldorf. And if you don’t have old tom gin, make something else.

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Kentucky Colonel – Classic Recipe & History

Kentucky Colonel

Kentucky Colonel

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Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

1

servings
Calories

199

kcal
ABV

40%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make a variation of the Manhattan with an herbal twist.

Ingredients

  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters

  • 1/2 oz Benedictine

  • 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

Featured Video

The History Of The Kentucky Colonel.

The earliest publication of this cocktail is from the 1914 book “Drinks” by Jacques Straub, published posthumously by his wife, Marie Straub. That is the only publication I can find on this cocktail. None of his more famous contemporaries share this recipe, and I feel a bit iffy about Straub’s cocktail recipes anyway. Many famous cocktails are included in his book, but the recipes are all totally off the mark. None of the classic cocktails of the time matched what others were publishing. It feels like he copied no one, and no one copied him. While this cocktail is pretty good and one worth saving, I wouldn’t give it much historical weight or authority.

What Does The Kentucky Colonel Taste Like?

This is a beautiful cocktail, but it is very strong. I’m the only one I know who likes this drink, but I also am the only one who wants old, solid, and herbal drinks—the best way to think of this is an herbal Old Fashioned.

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Japanese Cocktail – Original Recipe & History

Japanese Cocktail

Japanese Cocktail

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

1

servings
Calories

171

kcal
ABV

32%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make the original Japanese Cocktail.

Ingredients

  • 2 dashes Cardamom Bitters

  • 1/2 oz Orgeat

  • 2 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

Featured Video

History Of The Japanese Cocktail.

Jerry Thomas invented the Japanese Cocktail in 1860 to commemorate the first Japanese diplomatic visit to the United States. Despite earlier limited trading with the dutch, Japan first officially opened its boards to outsiders in 1854 after Commodore Matthew C. Perry of the United States Navy docked his fleet at Edo Bay (Tokyo Bay today) and pointed all their canons at the town. The United States had assigned Townsend Harris as Consul General to Japan, and by 1858, he was able to draft a trade agreement with Japan. In 1860 the first ambassadors of Japan came to the United States. The first three ambassadors were Masaoki Shinmi, Norimasa Muragaki, and Tadamasa Oguri. During their tour of the US, the three men visited many of the major cities, and their stop in New York prompted the famous bartender Jerry Thomas to make this drink. Jerry Thomas combined orgeat for its nutty cherry flavor, Boker’s cardamom bitters for its exotic Asian-like taste, and Brandy to make this fantastic cocktail. Even though there is nothing Japanese about this cocktail, the flavor profile seems exotic and Japanese.

The Modern Japanese Cocktail vs. The Old Japanese Cocktail.

The most significant difference between the modern and original Japanese Cocktail recipes is the original used Boker’s cardamom bitters, and the modern one uses angostura bitters. Boker’s was a very common flavoring bitter used during the 19th century and early 20th century, but unfortunately, the company closed during prohibition. Most flavoring Bitters could still be produced during prohibition, but the company was already falling on hard times, and the loss of the cocktail market was too much to weather. The company closed its doors in the 1920s and never shared its recipe with anyone. Since the Boker’s cocktail bitter had lost most of its appeal to young drinkers, no one thought to try and preserve or recreate the taste, and eventually, the recipe was forever lost. To substitute Boker’s bitters, many bartenders used Angostura Bitters, and while very good, they are different from Boker’s.

To the amazement of everyone, an unopened bottle was found in the 2000s (I believe in some deceased person’s attic) and sold at auction. The bitters were reverse-engineered, and it was discovered the bitters were a kind of cardamom, spice, and citrus bitter. With that, it became possible to accurately recreate many of these older recipes that substituted Angostura bitters for Boker’s bitters.

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Japalac – Classic Recipe

Japalac Cocktail

Japalac

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Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

1

servings
Calories

183

kcal
ABV

16%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make the Japalac cocktail.

Ingredients

  • 1 oz

  • Orange Juice
  • 1 oz

  • Dry Vermouth
  • 1 oz

  • Bourbon
  • 1/2 oz

  • Grenadine

Directions

  • Add Ice To Mixing Glass. Combine all ingredients in the mixing glass except the grenadine.
  • Stir the ingredients for 15 – 20 seconds to properly chill and dilute the drink.
  • Strain into serving glass and gently pour in the grenadine so it settles on the bottom.

Notes

Featured Video

This looks kind of like a little tiny tequila sunrise. It tastes like one, too, but just a little stronger. This drink dates back to the 1930s and is named after a super-strong, quick-dry wood stain brand.

The name seems to be a play on words, combining the racial slur for a Japanese person and the word lacquer because that brand of wood stain was made with Japan lacquer. That’s the old days for you.

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Improved Whiskey Cocktail – Original Recipe & History

Improved Whiskey Cocktail

Improved Whiskey Cocktail

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

1

servings
Calories

164

kcal
ABV

39%

Total time

3

minutes

The precursor to the old fashioned, the improved whiskey cocktail by Jerry Thomas is a true classic.

Ingredients

  • 2 dashes Cardamom Bitters

  • 1 dash Absinthe

  • 2 dashes Maraschino Liqueur

  • 3 dashes 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

Featured Video

If the name isn’t descriptive enough, then think of a Whiskey Cocktail but better. I’m just kidding; this is very different than the average Whiskey Cocktail. While the normal one is cardamom-y and has a spice to it, this one is orangey and licorice-flavored.

This first appeared in Jerry Thomas’s 1880 edition of his bartender’s guide. His improved cocktail versions never really enjoyed the fame the normal ones enjoyed, but they are delicious and worthy of being remembered.

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Improved Holland Cocktail – Original Recipe

Improved Holland Cocktail

Improved Holland Cocktail

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

1

servings
Calories

269

kcal
ABV

33%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make the Improved Holland Cocktail Recipe by Jerry Thomas

Ingredients

  • 2 dashes Absinthe

  • 2 dashes Maraschino Liqueur

  • 2 dashes Cardamom Bitters

  • 1 tsp Gum Syrup

  • 2 oz Genever

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

Featured Video

First printed two years after Jerry Thomas’s death, the Improved Holland Cocktail was a variation of his original Holland Cocktail. This cocktail gets its name because Genever was thought of like a Dutch liquor back then, similar to how rum is so closely associated with the Caribbean. Not too many Genever cocktails would be made during this period because Old Tom Style Gin and London Dry Gin would soon become the preferred gin for mixing.

Download Vintage American Cocktail on the Apple App Store and Google Play. Discover hundreds of the best classic cocktail recipes all from an easy-to-use app.

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Holland Cocktail – Original Recipe & History

Holland Cocktail

Holland Cocktail

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

1

servings
Calories

300

kcal
ABV

33%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make a classic Holland Cocktail from the mid 1800s

Ingredients

  • 2 dashes Cardamom Bitters

  • 1 tsp Gum Syrup

  • 2 dashes Orange Liqueur

  • 2 oz Genever

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

Featured Video

One of the old classics from Jerry Thomas, the Holland Cocktail is one of the few gin cocktails made with Genever before Old Tom Gin, and London Dry became popular. Dating back to the 1800s, this cocktail was first published in Jerry Thomas’s first edition of the Bartender’s Guide in 1862. A modified or improved version of this would be printed two years after Jerry Thomas’s death in the 1887 edition.

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Harvard Cocktail – Original Recipe & History

Harvard Cocktail

Harvard Cocktail

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

1

servings
Calories

117

kcal
ABV

22%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make the classic 1906 Harvard Cocktail

Ingredients

  • 3 dashes Angostura Bitters

  • 3 dashes Gum Syrup

  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth

  • 1 oz Brandy

  • 1/2 oz Soda Water

Directions

  • Combine all ingredients except for the soda water in a separate mixing glass with ice.
  • Stir to chill and combine those ingredients.
  • Pour into the serving glass and gently add the soda water.

Notes

Featured Video

First popping up in George J. Kappeler’s 1895 cocktail book, Modern American Drinks, this is the sister drink to the Yale and Princeton Cocktails. I have listed the original George J. Kappeler recipe here, but the 1935 Old Waldorf Astoria recipe is probably the more well-known version. The Waldorf Astoria recipe is 1/2 oz brandy, 1 1/2 oz sweet vermouth, two dashes of orange bitters, and 1 oz soda water.

For hard-to-find books like Modern American Drinks, a great resource is http://euvslibrary.com. This website has every old rare cocktail book you could ever imagine. Yes, all of this information is available for free. You can read them in the browser or download them as a pdf. Oh, did I mention that the content on the website is free?

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Gin Julep – Classic Recipe & History

Gin Julep

Gin Julep

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

1

servings
Calories

301

kcal
ABV

28%

Total time

3

minutes

Classic 1860s Gin Julep recipe from the Bartender’s Guide by Jerry Thomas

Ingredients

  • 5 Mint Leaves

  • 1/2 oz Simple Syrup

  • 2 oz Genever

  • 2 dashes Gold Rum

Directions

  • Add the simple syrup and mint to a tumbler glass. 
  • Press the mint leaves into the syrup to infuse it with the mint’s flavor.
  • Fill the glass to the top with crushed ice and stir. 
  • Pour the base spirit over the crushed ice into the serving glass.
  • Give the drink a couple turns to mix and dash the top with rum.

Notes

Featured Video

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.

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El Capitan – Classic Recipe

El Capitan Cocktail

El Capitán Cocktail

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

1

servings
Calories

158

kcal
ABV

25%

Total time

3

minutes

The Classic Waldorf Astoria Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1.5 oz Sweet Vermouth

  • 1.5 oz Pisco

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

Featured Video

The History Of The El Capitan Cocktail.

Many online resources claim the El Capitan cocktail was invented in Peru during the early 1900s, but they offer evidence other than the fact that it has Pisco in it. The oldest recipe for the El Capitan I was able to find comes from the 1935 Old Waldorf Astoria cocktail book. Just because it has pisco doesn’t mean it came from Chile or Peru; for example, the pisco punch was invented in the 1890s in San Francisco. I’m willing to believe the El Capitan cocktail came from pre-prohibition New York. The Old Waldorf-Astoria book is the first record of it, and during that time, there were many variations on the Manhattan cocktail being made in New York City, which this drink resembles. Often, a romanticized history is made up when the exact origin of food or beverages is unknown.

The History Of The Original Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.

The original Waldorf Hotel was opened in 1893 by William Waldorf Astor of New York. Named after the town of Waldorf, Germany, the Astor Families’ ancestral home, the Waldorf was the apex of luxury New York hotels at its opening. A few years later, in 1897, as a bit of humorous rivalry, William’s cousin, John Jacob Astor IV, would open the Astoria Hotel right across the street. John built the Astoria in the same renaissance revival style and even commissioned the same architect, but made sure to make his hotel a little bit bigger than William’s Waldorf Hotel. Named after the town of Astoria, Oregon, The city founded by John Jacob Astor senior in 1811, the Astoria Hotel was an even more beautiful version of the Waldorf. Fun facts: Astoria, Oregon, is the oldest American settlement west of the Rocky Mountains and the location of the film Kindergartner Cop, starring the great Arnold Schwarzenegger. Also, John Jacob Astor IV helped develop early versions of the turbine engine, wrote sci-fi books, and was one of the most famous Americans to perish with the sinking of the Titanic in 1912.

The rivalry was short-lived, though, and the two hotels joined together almost immediately, forming the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in 1897. Opened on the Waldorf side of the hotel, the Waldorf-Astoria bar was one of the top bars in New York, serving wealthy socialites. From 1897 to 1919, the Waldorf-Astoria bar stood as a testament to the pre-prohibition elite bar scene and helped solidify many of the American classics we know today. With the closing of the bar in 1919 and many of the New York elites moving further north, the hotel’s image became dated, and its current structure and location needed to change too. In 1929 the company sold its hotel on 5th and 34th to Empire State Inc. and began constructing the more modern Waldorf-Astoria on Park Avenue. The original hotel was demolished and replaced by the Empire State Building. Hoping to preserve the legacy of the original hotel’s bar, the company’s publicist, Albert Crockett, managed to collect and publish most of the bar’s classic cocktail recipes in part IV section A of “The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book.” He added popular present-day (1934) cocktails in Section B but maintained that section A of the book had all the original recipes from the hotel’s old days.

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