People often ask for cocktails that aren’t “too sweet.” This is a dangerous game to play - because a good cocktail should be perfectly balanced, and messing with one of the ingredients (sugar, for example), will throw it into a state of chaos on par with Woodstock ’99. But the Old Pal is different. It’s engineered to be less sweet, but not in a tacky, worse sort of way (Skinny Margarita, we’re looking at you). So this one goes out to all you readers who like pleasantly tart drinks you can chug like a Gatorade after soccer practice.
How It Tastes: Tart, Bitter, Chuggable
Drink If You Like: Boulevardier, Whiskey Soda
the old pal
- .75 lemon juice
- .75 ounce dry vermouth
- .75 ounce Campari
- .75 ounce rye
Step One: Lemon Juice
This is a shaken cocktail, so go ahead and .75 ounces of fresh lemon juice to your cocktail shaker.
Step Two: Dry Vermouth
You don’t really see dry vermouth in shaken cocktails that often. Maybe because it’s so subtle, and it tends to get lost in shaken drinks (which get a little more diluted than stirred drinks). But that’s part of what makes this cocktail so special. Put .75 ounce dry vermouth in your cocktail shaker.
Step Three: Campari
If you’ve ever had a Negroni or a Boulevardier, you’re aware of the fact that Campari is a narcissist who tries to make every drink about herself. It’s relatively thick and super bitter - which is why a full three quarters of an ounce here might seem troubling. But it’s fine. The lemon juice and dry vermouth are here to help balance things out. Add .75 ounce Campari to your shaker.
Step Four: Rye
We like the finer things in life as much as you do - but you don’t really need to use a high-end rye here. Save that for your Manhattans. Now, put .75 ounce of your perfectly respectable, yet still-affordable rye (Rittenhouse, for example) in your shaker.
Step Five: Shake
Give everything a vigorous 15-second shake, strain into a chilled coupe, then garnish with a lemon twist. Now give it a taste. It should be tart, refreshing, and a tiny bit bitter. Also, seeing as this cocktail has a relatively low ABV, you should be able to drink several of them while you float around a pool or sit at home and make a hand puppet to converse with.