At bleu, we think few things seal a great evening like a hand crafted cocktail. To celebrate, we are dipping into classic cocktails and the classic way to make them.

The Old Fashioned

The drink that has never stopped being cool.

Simple yet complex, the old fashioned was the first cocktail recipe printed in 1806. The recipe – whiskey, sugar cubes, bitters, and water – has seen many rifts, making the old fashioned more of a drink form than a strict recipe.

This granddaddy cocktail is created in a variety of ways depending on your chosen bar. The difference usually occurs in the base. While most U.S. bars will use a rye or bourbon, some Midwestern bars make the cocktail with a whiskey base. If you ask for a Wisconsin old fashioned, your drink will be poured with brandy.

An old fashioned’s sweetness makes it smoother to sip than a lot of whiskey-based drinks. Recently, in historical terms, cherries have been added as additional fun or a sweetener substitute. An even more modern rendition swaps flat water for club soda, proving that while the old fashioned may evolve, it’ll never shake its cool.

How to make an old fashioned:

Drop one sugar cube into a rocks glass. Drop two dashes of Angostura bitters and a bar spoon of water into the glass. Muddle the bitters, water, and sugar together. Pour two ounces of your preferred whiskey or rye into the glass. Finish with two large ice cubes. Garnish with an orange peel or cherry if you’re feeling particularly cool.

The Negroni

The bartenders’ drink.

Originally conceived to be consumed prior to a meal, the Negroni is often a favorite of bar staff or those with a more developed palate. The drink incorporates a specific combination of flavors – Campari, sweet vermouth, and gin – that is not universally enjoyed.

Many would say that Campari, a favorite of cocktail enthusiasts, is an acquired taste. Campari has been created through an infusion of herbs, aromatic plants, and fruit in alcohol and water for 150 years. Its strong, bitter taste is offset by the sweet notes of fruit and the spice of cinnamon; however, the bitter bite will never disappear.

The Negroni was birthed at a cafe in Florence, Italy, when an American switched out soda water for gin to add a punch to a popular summertime drink. The delicious success spread from there.

How to make a Negroni:

Pour .6 ounces quality gin, .6 ounces sweet vermouth, and 20 ml Campari into a mixing glass. Add ice. Stir mixture until chilled. Strain liquid into a rocks glass. Garnish with an orange peel.