6 most popular Old Overholt Cocktail Recipes

Old Overholt cocktails, which can be named as the Whiskey sour, Manhattan, or Old Fashioned, might not be a strange term with a cocktail connoisseur. Being distilled between 125 and 160 proof, and aged for at least 2 years in new, charred oak barrels without other additives except for water, Old Overholt is nothing else than a straight rye whiskey. Existing from 1810 in the western part of Pennsylvania, it has now been designated as the foundation of American rye whiskey. Maybe, if you’ve ordered any rye whiskey-based cocktail in a bar, the bartenders as a default have gone with their Old Overholt cocktail recipes. The reason why it is preferred in many cocktail recipes is due to its well-rounded, flavorful rye that will not hit you too hard over your head with that typical spicy, grain attribute it has. Without further ado, this post will introduce you to the 6 most popular Old Overholt cocktail recipes.

1. Sazerac cocktail with Old Overholt

Sazerac whiskey cocktail
Sazerac Cocktail

This was first invented by Antoine Amedee Peychaud, a New Orleans apothecary in 1838 with the ingredient including a special elixir (bitters) and a popular French cognac. Until 1873, American rye whiskey has been a substitute to make the cocktail instead of the French cognac because American rye whiskey brings a sharper and more elegant taste than cognac. Therefore, in order to make this cocktail, the basic ingredient will absolutely be the American rye whiskey and the typical one will be Old Overholt.

Elements compose into that iconic drink including:

  • 2 ounces simple(sugar) syrup
  • 0,5 teaspoon Herbsaint liqueur
  • 10 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
  • 1 lemon peel
  • 1,5 ounces Old Overholt

To make the flavors of this drink irresistible, the cool glass is also an essential contribution. So, the first step will be to pour ice and water into an old-fashioned glass, then wait for it to cool down while preparing the rest.

Stir the mixture including simple(sugar) syrup, Old Overholt, ice, and bitters in a different glass (around 25 seconds). After that, pour the ice water out, pour Herbsaint and rinse the glass, then dump it out. Strain the mixture into the glass. Twist the lemon peel off and squeeze it over your glass to release its essence, and it’s ready to serve.

Coming back to the original, besides rye whiskey, lots of people now put a proportion of cognac into this cocktail. It will help soften up the edges a little and make it rounder. Start with just 0.5 ounces cognac to 1.5 ounces of rye. Or you can try both recipes and see which one do you like the most.

2. Manhattan cocktail with Old Overholt

Manhattan cocktail
Manhattan Cocktail

Like many other classic cocktails, Manhattan has a vague story of its beginning. There are few people who know the exact origins of it. However, the most popular and justifiable theory is that Dr. Iain Marshall invented the recipe in the 1880s for a party that was held in the Manhattan Club in New York by the mother of Winston Churchill (Lady Randolph Churchill).

As Manhattan only requires simple ingredients and tools, making it at home is quite easy. You don’t need to break the bank on the booze here. In this post, we will show you how to make this cocktail with Old Overholt (a low-to-mid price rye whiskey). 

The total ingredient includes:

  • 2 ounces Old Overholt
  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth (Dolin Rouge – preferable)
  • 1 dash bitters (Angostura – Preferable)

After preparation, you mix everything with ice in a mixing glass and stir it in around 25 seconds. Then, strain the mixture into either a chilled martini or coupe glass. Finally, your drink is ready to go. Oh, don’t forget to garnish it with a branded cherry.

Even though they’re easy to prepare, you need to do precise measurements and pours. Otherwise, the taste won’t satisfy you.

3. Boulevardier cocktail with Old Overholt

Boulevarider cocktail
Boulevarider cocktail

Boulevardier and Negroni almost share the same recipes. However, it uses rye whiskey instead of using gin as in Negroni and it creates a big difference, giving the drink a rich complexity.

Boulevardier was named after a magazine for expats living in Paris in the 1920s with the same name published by Erskine Gwyne. However, It only became famous after its name was included in Harry MacElhone’s 1927 book “Barflies and Cocktails.” Because it’s a whiskey-based cocktail, the flavor of richness and warmth are easy to feel. Undoubtedly, it’s definitely the drink you’ll reach for on a bleak fall or winter night.

Making this drink, the base spirit and the sweet vermouth play integral roles in balancing the taste and weight of the cocktail. Specifically, Boulevardier is composed of three simple ingredients, so you can make it quickly without a lot of fuss. And here is what you need:

  • 2,5 ounces Old Overholt
  • 1 ounce Campari
  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth
  • Garnish: orange twist

Combine and stir Old Overholt, Campari, and sweet vermouth into a mixing glass with ice in around 25 seconds. Then, strain it into a rock glass filled with fresh ice. Serve with an orange peel as a garnish.

4. Old-fashioned cocktail with Old Overholt

Old-fashioned cocktail
Old-fashioned cocktail

Like Manhattan and other iconic cocktails, Old-Fashioned origin is still vague, nobody knows the exact origin of it. Its component follows the formula as a classic cocktail dating back to 1806: spirit, sugar, water, and bitters. This seems to be one of the simplest of all time. Here is how you can make this drink for your own at home:

  • 0,5 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 2 ounces Old Overholt (adding more spice and kick)
  • Garnish: orange peel

You first add some water into a rock glass, then dissolve sugar and bitters in order to sweeten and aromatize it. After that, put large and fresh ice in the glass, pour Old Overholt, and stir it gently. Squeeze the oil of an orange peel over the glass, then put it in. Now you can enjoy your drink.

More Drink Recipes: Campari Sour cocktail

5. Whiskey Sour cocktail with Old Overholt

Whiskey Sour cocktail
Whiskey Sour cocktail

Even though there’s no distinct clue about the origin of the Whiskey Sour, this iconic drink has satisfied cocktails lovers for more than 150 years. Many bartenders use Bourbon as the base in their recipes when making this drink. However, in this post, we’ll use rye whiskey, specifically Old Overholt, as this drink was originally made with rye. Remaining everything else equal, the cocktail will be less sweet with Old Overholt. Here is how you can make this cocktail at home:

  • 2 ounces Old Overholt
  • 3/4 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce simple(sugar) syrup
  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters

Shake the mixture of Old Overholt, lemon juice, and simple syrup with ice for around 20 seconds. Strain into a rocks glass with fresh and large ice. Then, drop 3 dashes of Angostura bitters into your drink.

6. Boston Sour cocktail with Old Overholt

Boston Sour cocktail
Boston Sour cocktail

If you are a fan of whiskey sour cocktails, you should definitely try the Boston sour. Both have the same recipes but Boston sour requires egg white as an additive. Having only a single difference in their recipes, the taste of the Boston sour is a little smoother than the whiskey sour and an egg white creates a frothy foam on top of the drink. Making Boston sour, if you do the same process as whiskey sour, your drink will completely be ruined. So, you have to remember to shake all of the ingredients without ice in around 35 seconds first, then you can put ice and shake it again before straining it into your glass.

The History of Old Overholt Rye Whiskey

Old Overholt Rye Whiskey has a rich history that dates back to the 1800s. The brand was founded in 1810 by Abraham Overholt, who established a distillery in Western Pennsylvania, near the town of West Overton. Overholt had immigrated to America from Germany in the late 1700s and had gained a reputation as a successful farmer and distiller.

Overholt’s rye whiskey was highly regarded for its quality and smoothness, and it quickly became popular with locals and travelers passing through the area. The whiskey was made using a traditional rye mash recipe, which included rye, corn, and barley, and was distilled in copper pot stills.

In the years that followed, Old Overholt Rye Whiskey became an iconic American spirit, known for its distinctive flavor and history. The brand was passed down through several generations of the Overholt family, and in the early 1900s, it was acquired by the renowned distilling company, National Distillers.

During Prohibition, Old Overholt Rye Whiskey played a significant role in American history, as it was one of the few spirits that continued to be produced legally for medicinal purposes. The brand’s reputation as a high-quality whiskey continued to grow, even during the years of Prohibition, and it remained a popular choice among drinkers and bartenders alike.

In the decades that followed, Old Overholt Rye Whiskey continued to be produced and distributed by a variety of companies, including National Distillers, Jim Beam Brands, and currently, the Campari Group. Today, the whiskey is still made using the traditional rye mash recipe, and it remains a favorite among whiskey enthusiasts for its rich history, balanced flavor, and smooth finish.

Overall, the history of Old Overholt Rye Whiskey is a testament to the enduring legacy of American distilling and the enduring appeal of traditional rye whiskey. Whether enjoyed straight, in a classic cocktail like the Old Overholt Cocktail, or in a more modern drink, this iconic spirit continues to inspire and delight whiskey lovers around the world.

The Appeal of the Old Overholt Cocktail

The Old Overholt Cocktail has enduring appeal among whiskey enthusiasts for several reasons. One of the primary reasons is the cocktail’s simplicity and balance. The recipe features just a few key ingredients, including Old Overholt Rye Whiskey, bitters, sugar, and citrus, and each component is carefully balanced to create a drink that is both flavorful and easy to drink.

Another reason for the Old Overholt Cocktail’s popularity is the whiskey itself. Old Overholt Rye Whiskey has a distinct flavor profile that is characterized by its spicy and warm notes, which are balanced by a sweet, almost caramel-like finish. The addition of bitters and sugar in the cocktail helps to bring out these flavors and create a more complex and nuanced drink.

In addition to its flavor profile, the Old Overholt Cocktail is also versatile and adaptable to different settings and occasions. It can be served chilled, on the rocks, or even warmed up, making it an ideal choice for different seasons and settings. It also pairs well with a variety of foods, including charcuterie, cheese, and nuts, making it an excellent choice for entertaining.

Another reason why the Old Overholt Cocktail has enduring appeal is its connection to history. As a classic whiskey cocktail, it has a rich and storied past that harkens back to the early days of American distilling. For many whiskey enthusiasts, the Old Overholt Cocktail is a way to connect with this history and to celebrate the traditions and craftsmanship that have gone into producing American whiskey for centuries.

Finally, the Old Overholt Cocktail is an excellent introduction to rye whiskey for those who may be new to the spirit. It’s a simple and approachable cocktail that showcases the unique flavor profile of rye whiskey in a way that is easy to appreciate and enjoy. As such, it’s a great way to introduce people to the world of rye whiskey and to help them discover the many unique and delicious cocktails that can be made with this versatile and flavorful spirit.

Overall, the enduring appeal of the Old Overholt Cocktail can be attributed to its simplicity, balance, versatility, connection to history, and the unique flavor profile of Old Overholt Rye Whiskey. Whether enjoyed alone or with friends, it remains a timeless classic that is sure to delight and satisfy whiskey lovers of all kinds.

Old Overholt Cocktail Pairings

The Old Overholt Cocktail is a versatile drink that pairs well with a variety of foods and snacks, making it an excellent choice for entertaining or enjoying on its own. Here are some pairing suggestions that can help bring out the best flavors in both the cocktail and the accompanying food:

  1. Charcuterie: A board of cured meats, cheeses, and crackers pairs well with the Old Overholt Cocktail. The rich and savory flavors of the meats and cheeses complement the warm and spicy notes of the rye whiskey, creating a delicious and satisfying combination.
  2. Cheese: A variety of cheeses, such as sharp cheddar, gouda, and brie, also pairs well with the Old Overholt Cocktail. The salty and tangy flavors of the cheese contrast with the sweetness of the cocktail, creating a delightful balance of flavors.
  3. Nuts: Nuts, such as almonds, cashews, and walnuts, are a classic pairing with whiskey, and they also work well with the Old Overholt Cocktail. The nutty flavors and crunchy textures of the nuts complement the warmth and spice of the rye whiskey, creating a satisfying and flavorful snack.
  4. Dark chocolate: For those with a sweet tooth, dark chocolate is a great pairing with the Old Overholt Cocktail. The bitterness of the chocolate contrasts with the sweetness of the cocktail, creating a balanced and delicious combination.
  5. Spicy snacks: Spicy snacks, such as popcorn or potato chips seasoned with chili or cayenne pepper, can also pair well with the Old Overholt Cocktail. The spiciness of the snacks enhances the warm and spicy notes of the rye whiskey, creating a bold and flavorful experience.

When pairing the Old Overholt Cocktail with food, it’s important to keep in mind the balance of flavors and to choose snacks and dishes that complement, rather than overwhelm, the flavors of the cocktail. With a little experimentation and creativity, however, it’s easy to discover new and delicious pairings that enhance the flavors of both the cocktail and the accompanying food.

More food recipes: Del Frisco’s Lemon Cake: Recipes, Dishes and Ideas for Your Next Party

Above are 6 Old Overholt cocktail recipes, that we think, based on my years of experience, will satisfy you the most. Hope this article of Bourbono shows you that Old Overholt rye whiskey is worthy of a place on your home bar and absolutely gives it a try.

Please let us know which version do you like best. If you have any interesting recipes and want to share them with us, write your recipes in the comment and we will definitely try them.

If you’re interested in drink recipes, you can find out more recipes at this site.

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By Luong Tan

Luong Tan, the creative and passionate founder of Bourbono, is a multi-talented individual with a deep love for the culinary arts. An accomplished food blogger, cookbook author, and former Ambassador of US cuisine in Vietnam (2015-2016), Luong has been on a mission to share his appreciation for food with the world.


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