Old Pal

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Cocktail History

The Old Pal is a classic whiskey cocktail that was created by bartender Harry MacElhone at his bar Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, France in the early 1900s. It’s one of two popular variations of the Negroni that calls for equal parts of the spirit, vermouth, Campari, and an orange garnish, but it swaps out the gin for an aged whiskey and sweet vermouth for dry.

Cocktail legend has it that this drink was named for William Harrison “Sparrow” Robertson, a writer at the Herald Tribune who used to call everyone he met “old pal” as often as Jay Gatsby used the phrase “old sport” in The Great Gatsby.

Cocktail Ingredients

To make this cocktail, you’ll need the following ingredients:

Rye: This is the base spirit. We chose Sazerac Rye 18-Year-Old Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey because it’s a nice, spicy rye with notes of vanilla, pepper, and herbs.

Dry Vermouth: This is a fortified wine that adds sweetness. We used Dolin Dry Vermouth de Chambéry because it’s light and airy.

Campari: This is an Italian liqueur. It adds its distinct bitter yet savory flavor to the drink.

Orange Twist: This is the garnish. It adds fresh orange aroma and flavor when dropped into the cocktail.

Tasting Notes

The Old Pal features aromas of whiskey and Campari, tastes of whiskey balanced by the vermouth at first, and ends with the bitter aftertaste of the Campari.

Our Opinion of This Cocktail Recipe: This is an incredibly dry and equally as bitter cocktail that landed it at the bottom of the Negroni variations Alex usually enjoys; he liked it but not more than the Negroni or Boulevardier. And Kendall couldn’t handle more than a sip. Maybe someday she’ll be able to take the bitterness of Campari.

Recipe

This cocktail recipe was adapted from The Official Downton Abbey Cocktail Book: Appropriate Libations for All Occasions by Lou Bustamante.

AuthorThe Official Downton Abbey Cocktail BookPrep Time5 minsRating

Ingredients
 1 oz Rye
 1 oz Dry Vermouth
 1 oz Campari
 1 Orange Twist

Method
1

Add rye, vermouth, Campari, and ice to a mixing glass.

2

Stir for 30-45 seconds.

3

Strain into a lowball glass filled with fresh ice.

4

Garnish with orange twist.

Ingredients

Ingredients
 1 oz Rye
 1 oz Dry Vermouth
 1 oz Campari
 1 Orange Twist

Directions

Method
1

Add rye, vermouth, Campari, and ice to a mixing glass.

2

Stir for 30-45 seconds.

3

Strain into a lowball glass filled with fresh ice.

4

Garnish with orange twist.

Old Pal

Tools & Glassware We Recommend

More Campari Cocktails

If you like this Campari cocktail recipe, here are a few others we’ve tried that you may enjoy:

 Desert Bird: A tequila and mezcal cocktail made with pineapple gum syrup, Campari, lime juice, saline solution, and a lime wheel

 Bicicletta: A white wine cocktail made with Campari, soda water, and a lemon wheel

 Rhubarb & Gingerbread Negroni: A gin cocktail made with Campari, sweet vermouth, gingerbread syrup, and an orange peel

 Garibaldi: A Campari cocktail made with orange juice and an orange slice

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