The Saratoga cocktail has a storied history, dating back to the later 1800s and first appearing in the infamous Bar-Tender’s Guide by the legendary Jerry Thomas. Supposedly, it gets its name from where it was born, Saratoga Springs in New York. Today’s Saratoga Springs might not seem like the kind of place where a cocktail would come to life. It’s a fairly laid back, cookie-cutter vacation town, with the exception of some horse racing, but at the turn of the century it was apparently a pretty happening spot.
The Saratoga is yet another take on the Manhattan, but the addition of brandy dramatically changes the flavor profile on this one. While it may look like a less complicated Vieux Carre, the Benedictine in that cocktail tends to skew it to the sweeter side. With the Saratoga, you’re able to keep things somewhat drier, especially depending upon the brandy you choose. A lighter Cognac will keep the profile even keeled and let the rye shine, but a bolder brandy (I like Copper & Kings) will really create contrast while enhancing the amount of spice.
1 oz. rye whiskey
1 oz. brandy
1 oz. sweet vermouth
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir well. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an expressed citrus peel.