The cocktail is an art form that peaked in the middle of the 20th century and has been in rapid decline since. As a young lad, I was schooled in the fine art of cocktailing by my father and grandfathers, I learned many valuable lessons that I plan to pass on. I also want to resurrect some of the old classics that vastly surpass the sugary & fruity concoctions made today with their simplicity, elegance and bold flavors. Most of the time I will focus on one drink, and to provide, at least in my opinion, the definitive recipe, but hope to expand to other related topics as I see fit. Please mix yourself a cocktail, read, drink, and enjoy!

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Old Pal

To kick of the season of the brown liquors I present to you the Old Pal. A name that just sounds comforting, conjuring memories of great friends and college haunts, or the loyal dog that you grew up with. This is a surprisingly simple recipe that produces a very complex balance of flavors. At first glance it looks to be similar to the Boulevardier, but the difference between sweet and dry vermouth makes to two drinks very distinct.

There is not much history to be discovered with this drink, it appeared in the 1922 version of Harry's ABC of Mixing Cocktails and is apparently one of the first drinks to use Campari, one of my personal favorites, as an ingredient. What I really like about it is that it is a great introduction to both the distinct flavors of rye and Campari.  At first sip, this drink is very bold, but it will quickly grow on you, and you will find yourself ordering another.

As I said, this is a fairly simple drink, start with an ounce of rye whiskey in a shaker or pitcher, I have been using High West’s Rendezvous Rye, add ¾ ounce each of dry vermouth and Campari, shake or stir with ice, and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist and serve.

Old Pal
1 oz rye whiskey
¾ oz dry vermouth
¾ oz campari
Mix all three ingredients with ice in a shaker or pitcher, strain into a chilled cocktail glass, and garnish with a lemon twist.

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