In an age of artistinal bitters and small-batch gins, when hundreds of new drinks are finding their way onto menus, there's good reason why we keep coming back to the classics: manhattans, old-fashioneds, martinis, and negronis. These are the drinks on which so many others are based, primarily because their tried-and-true recipes have pleased generations (in some cases, a century or more) of discerning drinkers. We rounded up our favorite classic cocktails, and asked the experts to weigh in on how they've updated classics without reinventing the wheel.
- 2 oz. gin
- 1 oz. lemon juice
- 3/4 oz. simple syrup
- 8 mint leaves plus sprig for garnish
Glass: Collins glass
Build: In a shaker, muddle mint and simple syrup; add ice, gin, and lemon juice; shake, strain, and serve up.
Garnish: Mint sprig
The Twist: Ocean Side (Polite Provisions, San Diego)
Credit: Alejandro Rivera / Getty Images
When it comes to adapting classics, bartender and proprietor Erick Castro says less is more, as is the case with his Ocean Side cocktail: "A good twist on a classic should highlight and accent the original flavors of the cocktail. When it comes to the Ocean Side, all we are adding to the drink is a pitch of sea salt and celery bitters. The recipe itself is very herbaceous with the gin and the mint – we're bringing out a little more flavor simply with the addition of the celery bitters."