For as long as we know it a gentleman’s cocktail has always been around. The history of cocktails and martinis is a fascinating one take it back to the Prohibition era and even further to when it was first recorded in writing. Today there are hundreds and hundreds of cocktails and martinis, but there was one that we would say started it all and it started with the infamous Old Fashioned. With it’s history going back to 1806, this is the drink that remains the same until this day. Small, simple, and taste so perfect you can’t help, but end your day with and Old Fashioned. Now served at bars all around the world, this signature drink is a cocktail everyone can get on the same page about.
Table of Contents:
Old Fashioned Recipe:
Garnish: orange slice / cocktail cherry
How to Make an Old Fashioned:
- Place sugar cube in old fashioned glass
- Saturate with bitters, add a dash of plain water
- Muddle until dissolved
- Fill the glass with ice cubes and add whiskey
- Garnish with orange slice, and a cocktail cherry
Old Fashioned History:
In May 6, 1806 a reader wanted to know the definition “cocktail”. On May 13, 1806 in The Balance and Columbian Repository New York issue, it was described as a “potent concoction of spirits, bitters, water, and sugar, also known as a battered sling. By the 1860’s orange curaçao, absinthe and various liqueurs were added. The original cocktail came back and was referred to as an “old fashioned”. The first time the name was used for a bourbon whiskey was in 1881 at Pendennis Club, a gentleman’s club in Louisville, Kentucky.
Best Old Fashioned in NYC:
Lantern’s Keep on 49 W 44th St. Phone: (212) 453-4287.
How to Make a Manhattan:
- Stir over ice
- Strain into a chilled glass
- Served straight up
History suggests that the Manhattan was originated at Manhattan Club in New York City in early 1870’s, invented by Dr. Iain Marshall. The original mix was American whiskey, Italian vermouth and angostura bitters. In the Prohibition era, 1920-1933, Canadian whiskey was used because it was readily available.
Best Manhattan in NYC:
King Cole Bar: St. Regis New York, 2 E. 55th St. (212) 753-4500.
- 1 dash of orange bitters
- 2 dashes of maraschino
- 1 pony (ounce) of Old Tom gin
- 1 wine-glass (two ounces) of vermouth
- ⅔ mixing glass big ice cubes
Garnish: orange slice
How to Make a Martinez:
- Stir and strain into a large cocktail glass.
- Put a quarter of a twist of lemon in the glass, and serve.
NOTE: If the guest prefers it sweet, add two dashes of simple syrup.
The Martinez is the father of the Martini. In 1887 it was first put into print by Professor Jerry Thomas and was also credited for creating the drink while in California for a patron traveling to Martinez. Thomas’ Martinez was heavy on Vermouth and light on the Gin with a bit of Boker’s bitter (no longer available, but substituted with Angostura).
Best Martinez in NYC:
Dram on 177 S 4th St Phone: (718) 486-DRAM.
- 5 cl Cognac
- 2 cl Triple Sec
- 2 cl lemon juice
How to Make a Sidecar:
- Pour all ingredients into cocktail shaker filled with ice
- Shake well and strain into cocktail glass (without ice)
Thought to have been invented around the end of WWI in either Paris or London. The Ritz Hotel in Paris claims the originality of the drink. Recipes for the cocktail appear around 1922.
Best Sidecar in NYC:
Flatiron Lounge on 37 West 19 Street Phone: (212) 727-7741.
Garnish: orange peel
How to Make a Negroni:
- Stir into glass over ice
- Garnish and serve
Invented in Florence, italy in 1919 at Caffe Casoni, now called Caffe Cavalli. Count Camillo Negroni invented it by asking the bartender, Fosco Scarcely, to strengthen what was his favorite cocktail, the Americano, by adding gin in place of soda water. In addition the bartender added an orange garnish in place of the lemon garnish. After the cocktail was a success, the Negroni Family founded Negroni Distillerie in Treviso, Italy in 1919.
Best Negroni in NYC:
Orsteria Morini on 218 Lafayette St. Phone: (212) 965-8777.
Garnish: lemon peel
How to Make a Sazerac:
- Rinse a chilled old-fashioned glass with the absinthe
- Add crushed ice and set it aside
- Stir the remaining ingredients over ice and set it aside
- Discard the ice and any excess absinthe from the prepared glass
- Strain the drink into the glass
- Add the Lemon peel for garnish
In 1850, Aaron Bird began serving the first “Sazerac Cocktail”, made with sazerac cognac imported by Sewell T. Taylor and with bitters became the local apothecary.
Best Sazerac in NYC:
Campbell Apartment in Grand Central on 15 Vanderbilt Ave. Phone: (212) 953-0409.
Garnish: orange peel or cherry
How to Make a Boulevardier:
- Stir with ice
You can thank Prohibition for the birth of the Boulevardier. The Boulevardier appeared in Harry’s 1927 bar guide, Barflies and Cocktails.
Best Boulevardier in NYC:
Hudson Malone on 218 E 53rd St. Phone: (212) 355-6607.