Double Barrel – Original Recipe & History

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Double Barrel

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Course: DrinksCuisine: American






Total time



Learn how to make a Double Barrel


  • 2 dashes 2 Angostura Bitters

  • 2 dashes 2 Orange Bitters

  • 1 oz 1 Sweet Vermouth

  • 1 oz 1 Dry Vermouth

  • 1 oz 1 Rye Whiskey


  • Technique: Simple Stir
  • Combine all ingredients in the mixing glass.
  • Add ice to the mixing glass.
  • Stir the ingredients for 10 – 15 seconds. Try to avoid over-diluting the drink.
  • Strain into a glass.
  • Garnish:
  • Maraschino cherries.


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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.

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