March 6th, 2007
When Esquire drinks writer David Wondrich made a guest appearance behind the bar at Eastern Standard a couple of weeks ago, he mixed a drink I’d never had before: the Saratoga. Equal parts cognac, rye and sweet vermouth, the Saratoga is one of those cocktails that flies in the face of the number-one rule you were taught during your formative drinking years: do not mix your spirits. Cognac and rye? Mixed together in the same glass? Run and hide!
No, don’t. Try it. It’s one of those drinks whose seemingly simple ingredients and proportions form something eye-openingly new. Here’s the recipe, along with the brands of liquor Wondrich used that evening. Note: he colored outside the lines with the bitters he used — a Peruvian brand that Eastern Standard happened to have lying around. They were a bit funky.
1 oz cognac (Hine)
1 oz rye (Rittenhouse 100-Proof)
1 oz sweet vermouth (Martini & Rossi)
2 dashes Angostura bitters or other aromatic bitters, such as Fee’s Old-Fashioned
Stir well with ice. Strain into chilled cocktail glass and twist a lemon peel over the top.
If you order this in a bar, be sure to specify that it’s the above version you want. There are several other cocktails named Saratoga, and they tend to involve maraschino liqueur and/or pineapple syrup.