Whether you’re a Gimlet sipper or a Martini drinker, expand your repertoire with these lesser-known classic cocktails.
We never tire of extolling the virtues of a perfectly made Martini, or celebrating an exceptional Negroni. But while these classics are classic for a reason, they’re not the only serves worth seeking out.
We’ve ventured deep into the vaults to retrieve five of our favourite, lesser-known classic cocktails. If you’re in search of a new go-to order — or simply want to learn more about drinks history — these all deserve a place in your sipping schedule.
Like a Martini? Try a Martinez
Before there was the Martini, there was the Martinez.
Born in California (most likely) in the 1860s or 1870s (as many drinks scholars will generally agree), the Martinez is often considered the missing link between the Manhattan and the Martini. Rich with sweet vermouth but still bracing and powerful, it’s high time the Martinez earned a place amongst your go-to serves.
Recipe: The Martinez
Like a Tom Collins? Try a Southside Fizz
Prefer your gin serves spritzy and refreshing? A Tom Collins has long been the answer, and for good reason: its blend of gin, lemon juice, sugar syrup, and club soda is both a breeze to make yourself and utterly satiating on a warm summer’s day.
But this summer, try swapping yours out for a Southside Fizz. Featuring lime instead of lemon — and a muddling of vibrant mint — it’s also an excellent alternative for those times when you want to shake up your G&T routine.
Recipe: The Southside Fizz
Like a Negroni? Try a Bijou
The Negroni was once a lesser-known classic cocktail, but no longer. A recent surge in popularity has seen it proliferate on cocktail menus across the globe. This ruby-hued stunner deserves the acclaim…but if you want to try something new, make yours a Bijou.
Meaning “jewel” in French, a Bijou keeps the classic 1:1:1 ratio of a Negroni, but swaps out bitter Campari for herbal and complex Chartreuse. Finished with an optional dash of orange bitters, it’s good enough to become your new go-to.
Recipe: The Bijou
Like a Singapore Sling? Try a Monkey Gland
With its distinctive glassware, long ingredient list, and propensity for elaborate garnishes, the fruity and tropically-minded Singapore Sling is an excellent drink to enjoy on holiday, but not always the simplest one to whip up at home.
If you’re looking for a simplified drink that still nails the Sling’s balance of fruitiness and complexity, try a Monkey Gland. Its name may be eyebrow raising — we’ll spare you the gory details — but its blend of orange juice, grenadine, gin, sugar syrup, and absinthe makes it a firm favourite.
Recipe: The Monkey Gland
Like a Gimlet? Try a Pegu Club
The Gimlet’s origins famously go all the way back to the Royal Navy. Rose’s Lime Juice, traditionally one of the serve’s key ingredients, was a 19th century invention designed to help sailors stave off scurvy; the Gimlet evolved as a pleasant way to ingest that daily dose of vitamin C.
In keeping with the maritime theme, Gimlet lovers should add the Pegu Club to their “must-try” list. This lesser-known classic is another relic of the British Empire (it was invented in the Pegu Club in Rangoon), and sees gin and lime juice join forces with orange curaçao and two types of bitters.
Recipe: The Pegu Club