An Intellectual Affair with the Harvard

The ingredients in a Harvard cocktail are reminiscent of a Manhattan. Indeed, they are almost identical, with a couple of variations for distinction. A Harvard doesn’t have the trademark maraschino cherry garnish of a Manhattan. Rather, a thin twist of lemon peel is perched on its rim. Although the Harvard generally uses brandy or cognac instead of the traditional whiskey, feel free to use bourbon if you don’t have either of these.

First concocted in 1895, its droll title evokes a scene of a typical weekend in college— girls and boys letting their hair down and making merry with music, tango, and plenty of cocktails to go around.

Sweet yet sharp and tangy, the Harvard makes for a perfect aperitif before dinner. The following recipe takes about five minutes to mix up, and serves one.   

Mix your own Harvard cocktail…

Pour 45ml of either brandy, cognac or bourbon, 30ml sweet red Italian vermouth, one and a half teaspoons lemon juice, and a couple drops of Angostura bitters into a mixing glass filled halfway through with ice. You may choose to add a teaspoon of grenadine too. Stir briskly until nicely chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Top with 30ml seltzer or fizzy water (but only if you haven’t used grenadine). Garnish with a twist of lemon peel, and serve.

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