A classic cocktail (Vintage) is any cocktail which appeared in the publication of Jerry Thomas’ 1862 book, Bar-Tender’s Guide, and most other cocktails created between then and the publication of Harry Craddock’s Savoy Cocktail Book in 1930. They were also known by the specific type of glass used when they were served.
Jeremiah (Jerry) P. Thomas (October 30, 1830 – December 15, 1885) was an American bartender who owned and operated saloons in New York City. Because of his pioneering work in popularizing cocktails across the United States as well, he is considered “the father of American mixology. In addition to writing the seminal work on cocktails, Thomas displayed creativity and showmanship while preparing drinks and established the image of the bartender as a creative professional. As such, he was often nicknamed “Professor” Jerry Thomas.

Vintage

In 1806, the editor of an upstate New York newspaper, The Balance and Columbian Repository, responded to a reader’s query about the meaning of the word cocktail: “Cocktail, then, is a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters – it is vulgarly called bittered sling, and is supposed to be an excellent electioneering potion.”

These earliest cocktails, vintage cocktails like the Old fashioned, were very simple: just water, sugar, spirit and bitters. Not all classic cocktails share the vintage cocktail flavour profile – a balance of bitter, sweet and herbal, winey flavours, with nary a fresh fruit in sight – yet all the old-time cocktail recipes we drink today share that same simplicity.

Be they Mojito or Cosmo, White lady or Sazerac, martini or Manhattan, all classic cocktails have three main points in common. They are simple: few classic cocktail recipes include more than five ingredients, and many use only three. They are spirited: the taste of the base spirit shines through in almost every drink. Most importantly, the classic cocktail recipes are balanced: the preferred flavour balance varies from era to era, and even from decade to decade. Yet, be it sweet and sour (like the Margarita), bittersweet (like the Negroni), fruity-creamy (like the Pina Colada), or savory-Sour (like the Bloody Mary), the ingredients form a harmony.

The turn of the 21st century saw a cocktail revolution as newly professionalized bartenders turned to old books to discover long-lost gems and reinvent vintage ingredients. And even today newly discovered – yet ancient – recipes continue to delight.

Old-Fashioned

Knob Creek Bourbon, Simple Syrup, Angostura Bitters

Oaxaca Old Fashioned

Tequila Blanco,  Mezcal Blanco, Agave Nectar, Angostura Bitters

Rum Smuggler

Banana infused Anejo Rum, Lavander Syrup, Angostura bitters

Conference

Rye Bourbon, Bourbon, Calvados,  V.S.O.P. Cognac, Demerara Syrup, Angostura Bitters, Bittermens Xocolatl Mole Bitters

Elderfashion

Plymouth Gin, St Germain Elderflower liqueur, Orange Bitters

La Conferencia

Reposado Tequila, Oaxaca Blanco Mezcal, VO Agricol Rum, Old Rum, Simple syrup, Angostura Bitters, Bittermens Xocolatl Mole Bitters

The Black Prince

VO Agricol Rum, Punt e Mes Vermouth, Averna Amaro, Orange Bitters

Daisy Buchanan

Camomile Infused Rye Bourbon, Martini Dry Vermouth, Aperol, Amaro, Yellow Chartreuse Liqueur

Cooper Union

Bushmills Black Bush , St Germain Elderflower Liqueur, Orange Bitters, Talisker 10 Scotch Rinse

Latin Quarter

VO Agricol Rum, Cane Sugar Syrup, Angostura Bitters, Bittermens Xocolatl Mole Bitters, Peychaud’s Bitters, Absinthe Rinse

Negroni

Dry Gin, Campari Amaro, Punt e Mes & Martini Rosso Vermouth Blend

House of Payne

Dry Gin, Plymouth Sloe Gin, Campari, Raspberries

Kingston Negroni

Anejo Jamaican Rum, Carpano Antica Formula Vermouth, Campari

Un Soixante Quinze

The drink dates to World War I, and an early form was created in 1915 at the Harry’s New York Bar by Harry MacElhone. The combination was said to have such a kick that it felt like being shelled with the powerful French 75mm field gun.