Old Pal Cocktail

The Old Pal Cocktail first appears in “ABC of Mixing Cocktails” by Harry MacElhone of the famed Harry’s New York Bar in Paris. Originally calling for Canadian whisky, an American rye provides a robust flavor profile that adds a great foundation for the dry vermouth and Campari. Next time you are at your favorite bar, cozy up to the Old Pal Cocktail.

1 oz Bulleit Rye Whiskey

3/4 oz dry vermouth

3/4 oz Campari


Stir with ice.

Strain into a cocktail glass.

Garnish with a lemon twist.


George R. Welch 2 Aug 2011
10:09 am

Those Progressive International jiggers look great.  I bought Oxo’s some time ago because you used them, so I just ordered a couple of these.

You mentioned them in the comments to a previous episode, but this time you didn’t say who made them, so let me provide this:


You can get another from Pampered Chef that is similar to the Oxo but also has a 3/4 oz mark:


Wonderful drink by the way.  I always thought the gin failed to stand up to the Campari in a Negroni, so using a bolder spirit like Rye is a great idea.


Chris Milligan 2 Aug 2011
10:13 am

Glad you finally found a 3/4 jigger.  I use a metal Oxo jigger, taditional hourglass shape with markings from 1/2-2oz including a 3/4.

Robert Hess 3 Aug 2011
11:11 am

One conceptual issue I have with jiggers is that as as a “non-bartender” I suspect my jigger preference is different from if I were working as a bartender and needing to be concerned about effeciency of time. I feel that the traditional “fill to the rim” jiggers are faster to use than a graduated jigger is, but the graduated jigger doesn’t mean I’m fumbling around with “the right” jigger to use, and then trying to eyeball measures which aren’t full ones.

When using traditional jiggers, Audrey has shown me how the sizes she likes to work with are the “3/4 - 1/2” and the “1 - 2” sizes. With the “3/4 - 1/2” a fairly difficult one to find (which for the metric minded amongs us is very, very, close to “22ml - 15ml”. I recently found a nice one over on Cocktail Kingdom here: http://www.cocktailkingdom.com/product-p/jig_cktlkingxx_0575_sma.htm, now if they only had a matching “1 - 2” oz version (30ml - 60ml)

Ginty 9 Aug 2011
7:43 am

I bought a bottle of Campari two summers ago, and as my taste buds get a little more mature I’ve been drinking more and more of it and now the first bottle is ALMOST done.  Yay for me!  Hahaha!  Think I’ll polish it off with this recipe, thanks.

jellydonut 11 Aug 2011
5:42 am

You’ve kept Campari for two years? Dude, I’m pretty sure as a sugary 25% liqueur it goes bad. Or at least the flavor changes.

Maybe I’ll be able to like my bottle in two years, too.. Right now I absolutely cannot stand it.

I recently read a blind test review of bitter liqueurs where Amaro and Fernet Branca came out on top, and Campari was rated as ‘commercial’ and ‘clearly made for a large audience’. If this nasty concoction is ‘commercial’, I’m not sure what I’d think of Fernet Branca..

Robert Hess 11 Aug 2011
9:46 am

Campari, and most liqueurs, will have a certain level of “shelf life” once they are opened, but typically this will be easily noticeable by crystals forming in the bottom of the bottle. It doesn’t mean the product is going bad from a health risk standpoint, just that it is going through some changes, which may affect the flavor.

Jelly… Campari is definately an “acquired taste”, one that I had a very hard time with when I first encountered it, but dilligently I worked on it, and now love the stuff.

“Amaro” is more a general classification of “bitter liqueur” than a particular product (although there are some products that include “Amaro” in their name), I think perhaps Bassano Amaro is often referred to as just “Amaro”.

Fernet Branca is indeed a… er… robust bitter. You can think of it as being similar to Jagermeister. Which also makes it quite different in character and appeal as Campari.

Not all products are for all tastes. So perhaps Campari will never be your thing, but for those of us who have grown to love it, it is a wonderful elixir.

jellydonut 11 Aug 2011
10:11 am

I suppose it is (amaro) - the specific name of the winner of the blind test is ‘Averna Amaro Siciliano’ which tells me very little, but I suppose might be enlightening to the bittericologists of the world. ^_^

If it is similar to Jägermeister then I suppose I could like it. Jägermeister is dangerously easy to drink, and I love licorice and strong pepper licorice candy. (very popular in the Nordic countries)

I suppose Campari might grow on me eventually. I swore off espresso when I first had it, and now the only thing I bother ordering at coffee shops are double espressos.

Chris Milligan 12 Aug 2011
7:07 am

And please do remember the “bitter palate” the part of our taste buds that appreciate bitter, doesnt develope fully until the age of 29-32

jellydonut 13 Aug 2011
3:59 am

Really? Well, I am only 22. Perhaps that explains it.

I’m of a mind to try Fernet Branca, though. Other sources also refer to it as Jägermeister without the sugar. Perhaps I’ll like it.

Kurt 14 Aug 2011
4:49 pm

its a sweetener for Campari for sure!  I dont like my Campari sweetened though (call me a Campari whore)  A nice drink, but one that hides the bitterness a bit too much for me..but I am a whore for Campari

Chris Milligan 15 Aug 2011
3:34 am

Fernet is quite a mouth ful as well nad my favorite bitter.  You might want to start with n amaro like avera or a bitter such as aperol.  Mix it as you would campari

Robert Hess 15 Aug 2011
5:44 am

Not sure if I’d mix Fernet like I would Campari… or are you saying mix Aperol like you would Campari? That sounds more like it.

Chris Milligan 15 Aug 2011
6:35 am

Aperol for campari.  Sorry, Ishould have been more cear

jrwerther 6 Sep 2011
8:56 am

I notice you use “extra dry Martini”, which I tasted and had quite a hard time with and was prett happy when the bottle was done. Is it really necessary ?

Robert Hess 6 Sep 2011
10:08 am


Any “dry vermouth” would work in this, but obviously with all dry vermouths haveing slightly different character, each would bring a little bit of something different to the table.

Is it Martini & Rossi specifically that you don’t like, or is it dry vermouth in general? Do you have another dry vermouth that you prefer?


jellydonut 14 Jan 2012
3:13 pm

Robert, you are vindicated. More than half a year after purchasing Campari, I have now nearly finished the bottle and I love it. I am presently enjoying the ‘Jasmine’ cocktail to your recipe (the proportions. I changed lemon for lime, as I *always* do). I also had a glass of Fernet Branca the other day, and I quite enjoyed that too, although I could have done without the menthol note. I couldn’t have anything else afterwards, my mouth tasted like after I brush my teeth. :p

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