Whiskey Cocktail Recipe

Rye Whiskey, Gum Syrup, Bitters, Lemon Peel
Whiskey Cocktail
This is the original Whiskey Cocktail recipe from Jerry Thomas' classic book How to Mix Drinks, or the Bon Vivant's Companion, published in 1862.  It is, as far as anyone can agree, the first cocktail ever—technically it could be made with any spirit, but whiskey became the most popular. Gum syrup can be a little hard to find, so simple syrup works in a pinch. Feel free to serve it either up or on the rocks, but if you do the latter it's basically just an Old-Fashioned.

Whiskey Cocktail Ingredients

2 oz rye whiskey
1 tsp gum or simple syrup
2 dashes bitters (Angostura are pretty close to period-accurate)
Lemon peel

How to make a Whiskey Cocktail

  1. Stir all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice until chilled, then strain into a squat wineglass (a cocktail glass is also fine).
  2. Cut a piece of fresh lemon peel, squeeze the oils into the glass, and drop it in.
Whiskey Cocktail