Cocktail Block is a real thing. You have your go-to cocktails for every season and you don’t stray from the path. We’re here to break you out of your cocktail funk with some forgotten cocktail recipes from the pre-Prohibition era (and let’s be honest, during Prohibition) that may open your eyes to new possibilities for that bottle on the shelf you don’t know how to use, and help you rethink some flavor pairings you haven’t tried yet. Here are three cocktails to try that time has forgotten—ones that take odd pairings and makes them sensible (and delicious)!
The Hanky Panky
1½ oz gin
½ oz Sweet Vermouth
½ oz Fernet Branca
- Fernet Branca (classic, duh)
- Tattersall Fernet (a pinch sweeter with a dry coffee tone)
- Cynar (for an earthy/sweet bitter)
Stir and strain over ice into a coup glass; garnish with an orange peel
Gin Manhattan with extra bitter? Fernet Negroni? It’s a Hanky Panky! A century-old cocktail created at the famous Savoy Hotel in London, the Hanky Panky is a great reminder that sweet vermouth and gin can go hand in hand and don’t necessarily need to be held together by Campari—any bitter component will do! Fernet is a drier, stronger, bitterer substitute; hence less is called for. But don’t even think about forgetting that orange rind! It brings out the citrus in the gin and the dark fruit in the sweet vermouth.
1½ oz Rye Whiskey
- High West Single Barrel Double Rye (Light bright fruit and semi-sweet herbaceous spice)
- Rittenhouse (bone dry grassy spice)
- Russell’s Reserve 6 year (balance)
1 oz Dry Vermouth
¾ oz lemon juice
¾ oz Liber & Co. Grenadine
Shake and strain into a cocktail glass; garnish with a lemon twist
Enjoy a dry drink? Are some cocktails just too sweet for you? Why not take dry rye whiskey and dry vermouth and balance it out with good old fashioned citrus! Lemon complements both dry vermouth (in your martinis) and rye whiskey (in your hot toddies), and it can make these two opposites attract. The real grenadine may just be the most important component of this cocktail. Grenade is French for pomegranate. Roses Grenadine tastes like sweet cherries. We have bastardized grenadine for far too long! Any cocktail besides a Shirley Temple that calls for grenadine is screaming for pomegranate, not sweet cherry, and it’s high time that we use it correctly in cocktails. Real grenadine will add a dark, acid-driven sweetness to round out the cocktail.
2 oz brandy
- Copper & King’s American Brandy (for vanilla, oak, and patriotism)
- Pierre Ferrand 1840 (for spice and historical accuracy)
- J Carver Apple Brandy (For apple instead of grape)
1 oz orange liqueur
- Cointreau (for historical accuracy and fresh orange)
- Tattersall Orange Crema (for a light sweetness and orange rind)
- Solerno (for blood orange instead of classic orange)
1oz fresh lemon juice
Shake and strain into a coup glass
People often forget about the sidecar, and more importantly the daisy cocktail recipe itself. If you mix a spirit, fresh citrus, and a fruit-forward liqueur, you have yourself a daisy. The most classic would be a margarita, but the sidecar is just as old if not older. It is a refreshing yet warming drink, one for winter just as much as summer. The beauty of this style of drink is that you can comfortably adjust this drink to fit your whims. Too sweet? More brandy! Too strong? More citrus! Not sweet enough? More Cointreau! The sidecar is a good reminder that almost anything is interchangeable if done correctly.
This is all meant to remind you that just because some of your bar ingredients don’t match the “traditional” flavor combinations, doesn’t mean that someone hasn’t perfected a classic (yet perhaps forgotten) recipe with them. Break the chains of traditional cocktails and try something different, and you might even stumble upon a new and unique favorite!