The Old Pal Cocktail and Negroni Week

Your cocktail calendar entry for: September
17
2 Comments

We’re back today during Negroni Week for another episode of The Drunkard’s Almanac.  After all, it’s Friday and your faithful correspondent could really use a drink.  So today we’re going to mix up a classic Negroni variation, the Old Pal cocktail.

The Old Pal is a bit like emerging from a workday at the office that makes you feel as though you fell into a vat down at the rendering works and can return home to an old pal like your faithful dog.  The dog would probably improve matters by licking up the grease still dripping off you, but that’s beside the point.  The drink is crisp and dry, and that works for us.

The Old Pal cocktail is another member of our two-substitution Negroni variations, but this time we’ll keep the Campari and substitute out the base spirit and the type of vermouth employed.  The cocktail itself was created during the 1920s by Harry MacElhone at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris.  You of course remember Harry from earlier this week when we had the Boulevardier.  That one he didn’t invent, but he published it in his book Harry’s ABC of Mixing Cocktails.  And somewhere along the lines, despite Mr. Potato Head not yet being born, he did a Mr. Potato head substitution and created the Old Pal.  The name itself was dedicated to William “Sparrow” Robinson, the sports editor for The New York Herald in Paris at the time.  It’s basically like a Boulevardier, but notably drier.  For something in the middle, using both sweet and dry vermouth, try the Rosita cocktail.

So onward to mixing and drinking.  And stay tuned for the Scorched Earth if you’re of that mind.

Old Pal

The Old Pal cocktail is another member of our two-substitution Negroni variations, but this time we’ll keep the Campari and substitute out the base spirit and the type of vermouth employed. The cocktail itself was created during the 1920s by Harry MacElhone at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris You of course remember Harry from earlier this week when we had the Boulevardier. That one he didn’t invent, but he published it in his book Harry's ABC of Mixing Cocktails. And somewhere along the lines, despite Mr. Potato Head not yet being born, he did a Mr. Potato head substitution and created the Old Pal. The name itself was dedicated to William “Sparrow” Robinson, the sports editor for The New York Herald in Paris at the time. It’s basically like a Boulevardier, but notably drier. So onward to mixing and drinking. Here we’re back to basic ingredients you’ve always got around the house so it’s easy as pie.
5 from 1 vote

Equipment

  • Mixing glass
  • Nick and Nora or coupe glass

Ingredients
  

  • 1 oz Rye whiskey
  • 1 oz Dry vermouth
  • 1 oz Campari
  • Garnish: orange twist

Instructions
 

  • While the above formula is the classic recipe this is another cocktail very amenable to adjusting proportions, and in fact your correspondent tends toward the magic ratio of 2:1:1 here, meaning 1.5 oz rye, and 0.75 each dry vermouth and Campari. Your mileage may vary.
  • Add ingredients to mixing glass.
  • Strain into chilled cocktail glass.
  • Add ice and stir until properly chilled.
  • Garnish with orange twist.
  • Drink.
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Paloma Cocktail for Mexican Independence Day
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The Scorched Earth Cocktail

2 Comments. Leave new

  • 5 stars
    How is it possible I’m only learning now that a dash of bitters is not part of the classic Negroni recipe? Curious, does a Left Hand count as a Negroni variation, or is that drink an entirely different beast?

    Reply
    • Jeff Anderman
      September 17, 2021

      The Editorial Board at The Drunkard’s Almanac does not really have an explanation of how you thought a classic Negroni contained bitters, but we can address your question about the Left Hand.

      We’re starting to split hairs on the semantics of it all, but the Left Hand is really a Boulevardier with chocolate bitters added, and you know we consider the Boulevardier to be a Negroni variation. So perhaps we’ll consider the Left Hand a second cousin, once removed. Of course we should also keep in mind that Sam Ross, the inventor of the Left Hand, called it “the love child of a Negroni and a Manhattan.”

      Reply

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