Cocktail time!

Jan 04 2013 Published by under Uncategorized

I'm just going to go ahead and assume that whatever little fantasy you entertained about going booze-free for the month of January went out the window the moment you set foot back in your lab/office and came to grips with the mountain of work awaiting you, am I right? It's OK! You're amongst friends. And speaking of friends, tonight we're making an Old Pal--winter's Negroni, you might say.

I may have my gripes about NJC, but I will admit that they have one or two cocktail dens whose bartenders are up to snuff. Naturally, my favorite is exceedingly popular, and you can only get in without a wait if you go at, say, 5pm on a Sunday. But it was on just such a Sunday afternoon that I was introduced to the Old Pal, and my life has never been the same since.

Look, we all love a nice Manhattan, but sometimes they're just too sweet for me, even with rye instead of bourbon. The Old Pal takes rye, dry vermouth, and Campari and makes this perfectly non-sweet, fairly bitter aperitif that warms you up without giving you cavities. If you'd like it a little sweeter, you can swap out bourbon for rye and sweet vermouth for dry*, and then it's called a Boulevardier. Also lovely.

Let's make one!

2 oz rye whiskey (Rittenhouse or Old Overholt are solid affordable options)
3/4 oz dry vermouth
3/4 oz Campari
dash orange bitters

Thoroughly stir all ingredients with ice in a shaker, and then strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a nice big orange peel (they're in season!).


* a word about vermouth. I just want to make sure you all understand that it's fortified wine, right? Which means that you can't just keep a half-used bottle on the shelf with the rest of your booze for a year or whatever and then decide one day to make a Manhattan--it's gone bad at that point, and your Manhattan will taste like poop. I recommend buying it in small bottles, and keeping opened ones in the fridge. Chilled, an opened bottle will be good for maybe a month. After that, toss it and get a new one, it's like $5.

12 responses so far

  • AmasianV says:

    That looks good, but I don't have any Campari on hand. Also, I just recently discovered that vermouth should be stored in the fridge.

    I've been big on this drink recently:

  • gerty-z says:

    that. looks. awesome. WANT!

  • KK PhD says:

    yum! Thanks for the tip on Vermouth, I should probably replace our bottle.

  • iGrrrl says:

    I usually order a perfect Manhattan, which is equal parts sweet and dry vermouth. Seems to solve the overly sweet problem, most places.

    But I applaud you opening up our horizons. This looks like one to try!

  • Dr. Cynicism says:

    Dear god how I love you Dr. Becca. Can you please teach me to be a better, higher-class drinker? This is precisely why you're still the Official Mixology Consultant for Cynicism101.

    *walking over to my home bar to toss the old-ass Vermouth*

  • gerty-z says:

    Why hasn't the interweb delivered one of these to me yet??!! *pouting*

  • Dr. Koshary says:

    Okay, hold on a minute. Usually I accept your views uncritically or at least with an open mind, Becca. But lo, today you have given me pause. $5 for a bottle of vermouth? You're really going to encourage people to drink that stuff? Vermouth honestly makes or breaks a lot of cocktails, and using substandard hooch will break them.

    The good vermouth – the vermouth that is worth drinking – costs about $10 in my neck of the woods. It's life-changing, actually. I don't do advertising, so I'll leave names out, but email me and I will gladly point you to my favorite.

    I have some doubts about this Old Pal of which you speak, mostly because I dislike Campari, but I'll give it some thought.

  • Dr Becca says:

    I hear you, Dr K, and I'd gladly live out my days drinking only Punt e Mes and Carpano Antica. But when you go through vermouth at the rate J & I do, well, it's just too expensive to maintain standards like that.

    If Campari is too bitter for you, may I suggest Aperol? It's much mellower than Campari, but still conveys some of the same flavor.

  • Dr. Koshary says:

    Fair point, I grant you. I thought of that after posting my objection and chided myself.

    Will definitely investigate the Aperol. And, since you brought up the brand name vermouth, I suggest you get a small bottle of Dolin for experimental purposes. I'm told it's not quite the equal of Carpano, but it's the only vermouth that ever made a palatable Manhattan for me.

  • r says:

    this was great! we have all of these ingredients, but never combined them in quite this wa before!! cocktails are so magical. thanks for the recommendation.

  • AK says:

    Love Negronis so I will definitely give this a try. I've noticed that a lot of bars around here are using Gran Classico Bitter as a Campari alternative for Negronis. It is a little less bitter and makes a mellower drink.

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