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!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Harvard Cocktail


After a December to remember, I am sure you have all been missing your bi-daily dive into the library of liquor.  Fear not, I have something to tide you over for the next few days.  The Harvard cocktail just invokes images of 1960’s frat boys sitting around in sport coats, smoking cigarettes, and playing poker.  They no doubt needed a cocktail and this one fits the bill just fine.

Dating back to 1895, this drink definitely makes up for what it lacks in popularity with longevity.  It’s true origin, other than the year it first came to print, has been lost to history so we are left to our own imagination.  Having similarities to the Manhattan, it is quite possible that this made its debut on the Harvard campus during a party when a partially inebriated bartender got a little creative with a drink order.  

In a shaker combine one and a half ounces of cognac, three-quarters of an ounce sweet vermouth, one-quarter ounce lemon juice, a teaspoon of grenadine, and three dashes angostura bitters.  Fill with ice and shake.  Pour into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon twist.  A variation on this drink omits the grenadine and adds an ounce of soda water to the top after straining into the glass.  I prefer the grenadine version, but if there is one time in your life to experiment, it’s college.

Harvard Cocktail
1 ½ oz cognac
¾ oz sweet vermouth
¼ oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp grenadine
3 dashes bitters
Mix all ingredients in an ice filled shaker.  Strain into a cocktail glass.  Garnish with a lemon twist.

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