The Old Pal Cocktail

This drink can be found in The Savoy Cocktail Book, but actually predates that by a few years, first appearing in a 1922 guide called ABC of Mixing Cocktails by Harry McElhone, who was the Harry behind the famous Harry’s New York Bar (which was, of course, in Paris, and was the birthplace of, among other drinks, the Sidecar and the Bloody Mary). I took it from The PDT Cocktail Book, however, where I expect it appears in slightly different form from those earlier recipes. Well, I know it does, at least from the version in the Savoy. Given Craddock’s penchant for ripping off other authors, I am almost certain his is the same as McElhone’s. The PDT uses the following recipe:

2 oz. rye

.75 oz. dry vermouth

.75 oz. Campari

Stir with ice and strain into a chilled coupé.

The Savoy, meanwhile, uses the same ingredients, but specifies equal parts. Old Pal CocktailAs you might already have deduced from the recipes, this is nothing more than a Boulevardier made with dry instead of sweet vermouth (and a Boulevardier is simply a Negroni with whiskey instead of gin). I tried the drink following both recipes, and surprisingly they really aren’t that different. Sure, the equal parts one is a tad more bitter thanks to the greater quantity of Campari, but both versions are pretty well balanced, with all three ingredients getting along quite well together, though the rye does dominate, as it should. A good “serious” cocktail, but probably not one for beginners. Four livers.

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