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
- 1 oz. simple syrup
- 3-4 oz. soda water
Glass: Collins glass
Build: In a shaker with ice, combine gin, lemon juice, and syrup; shake, strain, and serve on the rocks; top with soda water.
Garnish: Lemon wedge and maraschino cherry
The Twist: John Collins (The Varnish, Los Angeles)
Credit: Steve Cohen / Getty Images
The John Collins is just as much a classic as Tom – it's just as old (both are from the 19th century), according to a few cocktail references. But few people serve it, which is partially why Eric Alperin includes it at The Varnish, making his with genever, a malty predecessor to dry gin.