Narrowing down just three classic cocktails to feature today was alarmingly difficult. I have been blessed to lend my hands and mind to one of the worlds’ oldest creative pursuits. We are constantly innovating and sharing knowledge, pulled from the annals of history and legend to the present-day bar setting. While we can sometimes recreate classics using modern spirits, we are often left empty-handed where some ingredients are concerned. Many recipes call for things that are no longer commonly-produced, but the following have remained mainstays in our drinking culture. With no further ado…
The Rye Manhattan
There is much discussion as to whether or not bourbon is the better base ingredient for this cocktail, and many modern recipes use bourbon whiskey, but recipes dating as far back as the early 1860s call for Rye whiskey.
2oz Basil Hayden’s 10 Year Old Rye Whiskey
1oz Carpano Antica
2-3 dashes Angostura Bitters
Stir all ingredients over ice for 30-45 seconds, to ensure maximum release of flavor. Strain to chilled martini glass, and garnish with a Luxardo Cherry.
The Tom Collins
Appearing as early as 1876 in Jerry Thomas’ “Bartender’s Guide”, this icon of light gin enjoyment has a rather funny origin story. The legend says that in the 1870s, “Tom Collins” was an obnoxious bar patron that would loudly chatter about locals. When friends of his targets would hear the gossip, they would tell the victims, who would then seek out Mr. Collins. Instead of being directed to the obnoxious gossip-spreader, who didn’t actually exist, they would instead receive a tart gin cocktail from the bartender.
1.5oz Beefeater London Dry Gin
.75oz lime juice
.5oz Simple Syrup
Add all ingredients to a Collins glass and stir over ice. Top mixture with club soda and garnish with a lime wheel.
This cocktail has a slightly more vague origin story, though it is certainly unique. London and Paris have both laid claim to this delightful brandy-and-citrus cocktail, though some argue that even New Orleans could be the first locale to create it. “The Savoy Cocktail Book” first published the recipe in 1930, though iterations of the recipe with minor substitutions predate this published recipe. Many bartenders believe that “The Sidecar” is a variation on “The Brandy Crusta”, developed by American bartender Jerry Thomas in his 1862 cocktail book “How To Mix Drinks”.
.5oz Lemon juice
Shake all ingredients over ice for 30-45 seconds, consistently. Strain all ingredients to a chilled martini glass, and garnish with an orange twist.
The multitude of historically-charged tales that exist in the cocktail world is incredible. Rather than just continuing to walk away from the old and create new material, many of us in this industry work to successfully replicate these historical monuments to our culture, being sure to maintain their integrity in the process. The history of classic cocktail culture is beautiful and storied, and we look to the past for our most vibrant inspiration, much of the time. Imbibe safely, and enjoy the step back in time!