The Harvard is a classic cocktail that hails from at least as far back as 1895, when a recipe for it was published in George J. Kappeler’s Modern American Drinks. Many of those older recipes called for a long pour of seltzer, making it something of a spritz – but we like this re-tuned recipe from Sother Teague that increases the cognac and reduces the sparkling water.
Of all the Manhattan-adjacent cocktails we’ve tested, this is by far the smoothest. A bit of sparkling water is a great way to open of the flavors of a spirit, and here it reveals all the subtle details of a good Cognac (or brandy) and the sweet richness of vermouth. Despite the absence of a sweetener, the Harvard almost tastes like a sweet drink, placing the creamy caramel-chocolate flavors and berry notes of the spirits front and center.
- 2 parts Cognac or Brandy
- 1 part Sweet vermouth
- 2 dashes Aromatic bitters
- 1 part Sparkling water
Stir all ingredients with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail or coupe glass. Garnish with an orange twist.
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- Harvard cocktail recipe at PUNCH