Double Barrel – 1895 George Kappeler’s Modern American Drink

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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. If you’re looking for an awesome drink that was forgotten by time give the Double Barrel a shot.

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, mosaic floors and describe the hotel as a marvel of bronze, marble and glass work. Managing the hotels cafe and restaurant Bar was one of the top bartenders in the New York George Kappeler. He’s credited with inventing many famous cocktail, a few still popular today, and was the first to describe a classic whiskey cocktail as being old fashion. He used the term old fashioned to differentiate from his other fancy and standard whiskey cocktails. George published his first cocktail book in 1895 and a 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 going into effect on January 17th, 1920 the hotels 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 fa├žade of the once great Holland House.

The Most Important Part

Vermouth is obviously always important and worth sending a little more for to get a quality product but the whiskey you use will have the biggest impact on this cocktail. George Kappeler only wrote to use whiskey but I personally feel a nice spicy rye whiskey with a bit of burn works really well here. Bourbon is good but it ends up being too sweet getting lost in the mix. The strong herbal wine flavors of the vermouth, the earthy angostura bitters, and citrusy orange bitters are better balanced by a spicy rye. Also since its only 1 ounce of whiskey it needs to be a bit stronger and have some burn to offset the 2 ounces of vermouth.


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Double Barrel – 1906 George Kappeler’s Modern American Drink

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Course: DrinksCuisine: American






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Learn how to make a Double Barrel


  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters

  • 2 dashes Orange Bitters

  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth

  • 1 oz Dry Vermouth

  • 1 oz Rye Whiskey


  • 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.

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