The Oriental Cocktail

Oriental Cocktail

The Spruce / Shannon Graham

  • Total: 3 mins
  • Prep: 3 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Serving: 1 serving
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
271 Calories
6g Fat
18g Carbs
5g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 271
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6g 8%
Saturated Fat 2g 11%
Cholesterol 12mg 4%
Sodium 161mg 7%
Total Carbohydrate 18g 7%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Protein 5g
Calcium 27mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

The Oriental cocktail is an old classic cocktail originally published in The Savoy Cocktail Book. While it contains no ingredients that hail from the Far East (or the Orient as it was commonly called back in the day), it was probably quite unusual and foreign at the time.

The story goes that The Oriental cocktail was created by an American engineer stationed in the ​Philippines in 1924. This gentleman nearly died of a fever and gave this recipe to the doctor who saved his life as a token of his appreciation.

This cocktail is easy to prepare, quick, and surprisingly tasty. Featuring the spiciness of rye whiskey cut with orange liqueur, sweet vermouth, and lime juice, the Oriental is a surprisingly sophisticated tipple.

Try this one the next time you are in the mood for an Asian-inspired cocktail that's a little different. 


  • 1 1/2 ounces rye whiskey
  • 3/4 ounce sweet vermouth
  • 3/4 ounce orange liqueur
  • 1/2 ounce lime juice (fresh)
  • Garnish: cherry for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Add all ingredients in a mixing glass or cocktail shaker.

  3. Add ice and shake vigorously.

  4. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

  5. Garnish with a cherry.

  6. Enjoy!


  • The Oriental Cocktail brings together two great styles from the classic cocktail scene: the Manhattan and the Whiskey Sour. The blending of sweet, sour, and spice is something to behold and relish and it can only be found to this point of perfection in a handful of cocktails.
  • The choice of whiskey should be well thought out. A robust, flavorful rye whiskey shines in this drink.
  • The sweet vermouth and orange liqueur do their individual parts to bringing in the sweeter aspects that make the Oriental Cocktail so great. It is important that both meet the quality standards appropriate to a clean, fresh drink.
  • If you were looking for an orange liqueur substitute, it would be best to go with one of equal value and quality (no cheap triple sec here, please).
  • Fresh lime juice is key to finding that balance of sweet and sour in the Oriental Cocktail. The original recipe from Harry Craddock's 1930 edition of The Savoy Cocktail Book called for 'juice from half a lime." That can be misleading because every lime is going to yield a different amount of juice. As this obscure cocktail reclaimed its space in our modern drinking sphere, bartenders have come to agree that 1/2 ounce of lime juice is the perfect fit.

How Strong Is the Oriental?

If using 100 proof rye whiskey, a hefty 80 proof orange liqueur, and 30 proof vermouth for the Oriental Cocktail, then the finished drink would be no weakling and would have an alcohol content of about 29 percent ABV (58 proof).