How To Make A Harvard

It doesn’t take an Ivy League degree to understand why this drink just works.

The Harvard, a lesser-known cocktail beloved among brandy drinkers, is a delightfully unique spin on the classic Manhattan. While it doesn’t often appear on cocktail menus, that shouldn’t deter anyone from mixing up a version of their own.

The first written recipe appeared in George Kappeler’s “Modern American Drinks” in 1895, listing gum syrup, bitters, vermouth, brandy, and seltzer as key ingredients. Other early versions featured just Cognac, sweet vermouth, and a splash of seltzer — a treat for late 19th century drinkers, as soda water was less common.

While the Harvard’s original specs differ from modern iterations, its flavor profile isn’t too far removed. As could be expected from a Manhattan riff, this cocktail tastes particularly spirit-forward and boozy. Just a single barspoon of rich simple syrup mixes with the drink’s equal-parts mixture of Cognac and Italian sweet vermouth.

A citrus twist rounds out the robust cocktail, providing a brightness that complements the drink’s rich ingredients.

Harvard Ingredients

  • 1 ½ ounces Cognac
  • 1 ½ ounce Italian sweet vermouth
  • 1 bar spoon rich simple syrup (2:1)
  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Garnish: orange twist

Harvard Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice.
  2. Stir until well chilled.
  3. Strain into a chilled coupe glass.
  4. Garnish with an orange twist.

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Yield: 1
Calories: 195
Updated: 2022-11-22

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The Harvard