Retro is Back: Classic Cocktails for the Holidays

With the holiday season upon us, and nostalgia and whimsy in the air, what better way to celebrate than with a few classic cocktail ideas for you to order up at the bar, or make at home.

Gins, cognacs, rums, and bourbons are always a great choice when looking for a base for a classic cocktail, because they pack a lot of complexity and flavor in the palate.

Unlike vodka, gin and brown spirits challenge the home and professional bartender to work with underlying notes, instead of a blank canvas. Easy to do?  Not always.  But the rewards can be a tasty treat that will impress your guests all night long.

Sidecar Cocktail

  • 2 ounces cognac
  • 1 ounce Cointreau
  • 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup (heat mixture of one part water to one part sugar, stirring until sugar is dissolved)

Pour ingredients into an ice-filled shaker. Shake hard to combine. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.


Original Cuba Libre

  • Several dashes of bitters (Angostura or Fee Brothers)
  • 1 lime
  • 2 oz of rum
  • one can of Coca-Cola (Mexican is best)

Cut the lime in half, squeeze out the juice. Drop in half a lime, and fill a highball glass with ice (you can even freeze the ice w/ a few drops of bitters!).  Add the bitters, then add the rum, and fill with cola. Garnish with a lime wheel.


Another classic favorite is a cocktail made with brandy or whiskey. David Smith from shared the original recipe with us.

Original Horse’s Neck

  • 50ml Rye Whisky or Brandy
  • 100ml Ginger Ale
  • A long twist of lemon peel

Add ice and whiskey to a cocktail glass, then add the ginger ale. Peel a long twist of lemon directly over the glass (you’ll get the oil from the lemon this way), and slip it into the glass. (that’s the horse neck, as you can see)

Got an idea for a classic cocktail recipe? Email us at info (at) cravelocal (dot) com. If we like it, we’ll post it up with a credit to you!


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