This is the classic recipe for a Saratoga cocktail. It combines everything that's great about the Manhattan and metropolitan recipes into one glass to create a sensational drink both whiskey and brandy lovers will enjoy.
The recipe dates to the 1880s, making its first print appearance in Jerry Thomas' "Bar-Tenders Guide." The story goes that it was created in Saratoga Springs, New York, the 19th-century vacation and gambling hot spot often compared to Las Vegas today.
In the Saratoga, you'll simply pour equal amounts of brandy, whiskey, and sweet vermouth, adding a couple of dashes of bitters to marry the flavors. Rye whiskey is often preferred, though some people enjoy it with a bold bourbon like Wild Turkey 101. Likewise, Cognac is often the brandy of choice.
Gather the ingredients.
In a mixing glass filled with ice, pour the brandy, whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters.
Twist a lemon or orange peel over the glass and drop it into the drink.
Serve and enjoy!
- For some drinkers, this cocktail is not an immediate hit but they fall for it once a certain combination of brandy and whiskey is used. It's rather finicky that way, so experiment with different pairings to find your ideal Saratoga.
- Try various sweet vermouths as well—Carpano Antica is recommended by many. You can also explore handcrafted vermouth under lesser-known brands. For instance, T.W. Hollister & Co. from California makes Oso de Oro, a brilliant red vermouth that is very enjoyable in cocktails like this.
- A well-chilled glass will also create a better tasting cocktail from beginning to end. Since cocktail glasses may not fit in a crowded freezer, you might be better off with a quick chill: Place ice cubes in the glass while you mix, then dump them before straining.
- If you prefer, shake this cocktail rather than stirring it. That extra dilution from the agitation can really help marry the flavors.
- Serve this cocktail on the rocks in an old-fashioned glass. It's another preference often employed with the Manhattan and is especially enjoyable with large cubes or ice balls that melt slowly.
How Strong Is a Saratoga Cocktail?
Like any cocktail in the martini family, this is a power-packed drink. If you make it with 80-proof brandy and whiskey (the lowest available for both spirits), its alcohol content is a hefty 27 percent ABV (54 proof). Taking that up a notch with a bourbon like Wild Turkey 101, it can reach 30 percent ABV (60 proof). You'll definitely want to savor this one slowly because a few rounds will quickly add up.