In his 1862 Bartender’s Guide Jerry Thomas lists several cocktail recipes, including whisky, brandy, vermouth and
champagne, and they follow this recipe, with the inclusion of ice (as a form of water). What is interesting to me is that
he also lists the Manhattan Cocktail, and later Harry Johnson, in 1882, lists a Martini Cocktail. His Manhattan, which is pretty
much the same today, as you will see, calls for Maraschino or Curacao (as a sweetener in place of sugar), whisky and
vermouth (liqueur), bitters and ice (water). Johnson’s recipe
for Martini Cocktail is sugar syrup, bitters, Old Tom gin and vermouth, and ice. The Manhattan, the forerunner of the
(not yet Dry) Martini, the Old Fashioned, the Sazerac, and perhaps even the Mint Julep (although there is a separate
Julep family) all follow this simple recipe to some degree. I could go on for a long while, but perhaps it would be
more interesting for you to mix a cocktail and contemplate its influence.
The ingredients of cocktails are liqueur, sugar, water and bitters. It’s as simple as that.
2 oz / 6 cl rye whisky or bourbon
3 dashes sugar syrup – no more
than one teaspoonful
2 Angostura Bitters *
1-2 dashes of Curacao
(such as Cointreau) (optional)
• Stir ingredients in a mixing glass
• Shake ingredients with ice.
• Double strain into a chilled
cocktail glass, or strain into an Old
Fashioned with ice.
• Garnish with a cocktail cherry
and a lemon twist (spray oil over
the drink and wipe around the rim
of the glass). **