Old Pal – A Classic Revival with a Twist

Last Updated on February 10, 2024 by David Michael

Old Pal

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The Old Pal is a rye based cocktail with dry vermouth and Campari. It may have started out as a variation on the Negroni, and it uses the Negroni’s easy to remember ratio of equal parts of each ingredient. The spiciness of the rye is accented perfectly with the bittersweet Campari. The drink is rounded out perfectly with dry vermouth.

The Old Pal is garnished with a lemon twist instead of orange. I think the lemon works better than orange with the rye and dry vermouth, and still harmonizes beautifully with the Campari.

Old Pal Recipe

1 ounce rye whiskey
1 ounce dry vermouth
1 ounce Campari
Garnish: lemon twist

In a mixing glass half filled with ice, combine the rye whiskey, dry vermouth, and Campari.
Stir well.
Strain over ice in an old fashioned glass.
Garnish with lemon twist.

I like to use a dry French vermouth for this, the French vermouths tend to be less sweet and drier. For the garnish I use a larger twist to express more lemon oils into the drink. The dry vermouth is complemented nicely with lemon. Use a peeler to make lemon peels that are the perfect ‘twists’ for the Old Pal cocktail.

Be sure to check out The Old Pal’s close cousins The Negroni and The Boulevardier.

Browse all of our cocktail recipes in our Cocktail Recipe Index.

Recommended Products for the Old Pal

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Riedel Double Old Fashioned Glasses

If you prefer your White Spider on the rocks I recommend the Riedel Double Rocks Glass. These make building a cocktail super easy as the lines at the bottom actually indicate a perfect 2 ounce pour. I used this in the Old Pal photo above.

Riedel Double Old Fashioned Glass Double Rocks Glass

Riedel Mixing Glass

Also featured in the photo above, I have been using the Riedel mixing glass for nearly all of my stirred cocktails. It’s a nice heavy glass that holds 22 ounces. Plenty of room to make two drinks at the same time – even doubles.

Riedel Mixing Glass

Japanese Style Jigger by A Bar Above

I’m so happy with my Japanese jigger. There are marks on the inside to get the perfect measure of just about any size. The conical design allows the lines to be clear and well spaced. This heavy duty stainless jigger is also dishwasher safe. Measuring out an Old Pal couldn’t be any easier with this.

A Bar Above Premium Japanese Jigger with 8 Measurements Inside - Rolled Lip, Double Jigger for Bartending & Measuring Cocktails - Professional & Heavy-Duty 304 Stainless Steel Cocktail Jigger 1oz/ 2oz

Stainless Bar Spoon by Barfly

I prefer these stainless steel barspoons from Barfly. They are high quality commercial grade. They come in a great selection of finishes, but stainless is what I always go for.

Bar Spoon by Barfly

Stainless Julep Strainer by Barfly

I love this julep style strainer. It’s just the right size for the Riedel mixing glass. I have the stainless, but it’s available in several great finishes.

Stainless Julep Strainer by Barfly

Linen Cocktail Napkins

The perfect finishing touch. I love these classic hemstitched linen napkins. You can never have too many linen napkins, and these come in an amazing assortment of colors too.

Ceramic Peeler

This Kyocera ceramic peeler is what I use to get the wide strips of orange to garnish the Old Pal. It’s really sharp and makes thin lemon peels that don’t have any white pith.

 Kyocera Advanced Ceramic Horizontal Y Peeler, Black -

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