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Old Overholt Manhattan cocktail

5 Best Old Overholt Cocktail Recipes

When I’m looking to make a nice cocktail at home, I often reach for my bottle of Old Overholt rye whiskey. As one of the oldest American whiskies around, dating back over 200 years, Old Overholt has developed a distinctive yet smooth flavor profile that lends itself perfectly to classic recipes.

While I enjoy Old Overholt straight or on the rocks sometimes, I especially love discovering new ways to showcase its balanced spicy-sweet taste in mixed drinks.

Old Overholt in particular shines in drinks utilizing ingredients like vermouth, bitters and citrus. Today, I will share 6 cocktail recipes that feature Old Overholt rye whiskey.

We’ll cover classic rye whiskey cocktails like the Manhattan and Old Fashioned, along with refreshing sours and more unique options. The recipes are perfect for making at home and enjoying with friends and family.

What Is Old Overholt Cocktail?

The Old Overholt cocktail is a classic whiskey cocktail that uses Old Overholt rye whiskey as its base spirit.

Old Overholt cocktails have become classic recipes enjoyed for over a century. Produced by the historic Old Overholt Distillery in Kentucky since 1810, Old Overholt rye whiskey serves as the base for many well-known cocktails due to its balanced flavor profile.

Drinks made with Old Overholt have bold yet pleasant tasting notes of caramel, spice and cooked grains.

5 Best Old Overholt Cocktail Recipes

Some popular Old Overholt cocktail varieties include the Old Fashioned, Manhattan and Whiskey Sour. These recipes blend the complex flavors of the rye with other complementary ingredients like vermouth, citrus juices and bitters.

No matter which version you try, Old Overholt’s nuanced taste shines through but isn’t overpowering. Its smooth characteristics make it versatile for mixing while still impressing cocktail aficionados.

Whether enjoying an after-dinner drink in the cooler months or a refreshing summer cocktail, Old Overholt recipes deliver balanced sips.

1. Classic Old Overholt Manhattan cocktail

The Manhattan is a well-known cocktail with a history dating back to the 1880s. While its exact origin is unclear, it’s believed to have been created in New York City, possibly for a fancy event.

This classic recipe gets a modern twist with Old Overholt Rye Whiskey, adding a spicy kick to the familiar sweet and bitter profile.

Best Old Overholt Cocktail Recipe

Recipe by JenniferCourse: CocktailsCuisine: American


Prep time


Cooking timeminutes



Follow these simple steps to craft this spicy and sophisticated Classic Old Overholt Manhattan cocktail at home.


  • 2 ounces Old Overholt Rye Whiskey

  • 1 ounce Sweet Vermouth

  • 2 Dashes Angostura Bitters

  • Orange Twist (garnish)


  • Fill a coupe glass with ice and let it sit for a few minutes. This will chill the glass and prevent your drink from diluting too quickly.
  • Empty the ice from the chilled glass and pour in the Old Overholt Rye Whiskey, sweet vermouth, and Angostura bitters.
  • Use a bar spoon to gently stir the ingredients for about 30 seconds. This will combine the flavors without bruising the ice (which can make your drink cloudy).
  • Use a strainer to pour the mixed drink into the chilled coupe glass. Discard the ice from the strainer.
  • Hold the orange twist over the drink and squeeze the oils slightly to release their aroma. Then, use the twist as a garnish on the rim of the glass.


  • Adjust the sweetness to your liking. Start with 1 ounce of sweet vermouth and add more if desired.
  • Use high-quality ingredients for the best flavor. Freshly squeezed orange juice can be substituted for the orange twist for a more intense citrus flavor.
  • This recipe makes two servings. You can easily adjust the quantities to make multiple drinks.

To create a refreshing mocktail: Swap whiskey for non-alcoholic rye. Replace sweet vermouth with tart cranberry juice, keep bitters and garnish with an orange twist.

If you love spicy cocktails, try spicy passion fruit margarita and spicy ranch water cocktails.

2. Old Overholt Old Fashioned

This recipe is a variation of the well-known Old Fashioned cocktail, using Old Overholt Rye Whiskey instead of bourbon. This swap adds a spicier flavor to the drink, thanks to the rye whiskey’s unique peppery notes.

Old Overholt Old Fashioned

It’s a good choice for those who enjoy bold flavors and want a slightly different take on the classic Old Fashioned.


  • 2 ounces Old Overholt Rye Whiskey
  • 1 Sugar Cube
  • 2 Dashes Angostura Bitters
  • 1 Dash Water (optional)
  • Orange Twist (for garnish)


  1. Muddle the sugar and bitters: Place the sugar cube and bitters in a rocks glass and use the muddler to crush them together until the sugar dissolves. If you prefer a sweeter drink, add a touch more sugar.
  2. Chill the glass: If you have time, fill the rocks glass with ice and let it sit for a few minutes. Discard the ice before adding the other ingredients.
  3. Add the whiskey and water: Pour in the Old Overholt Rye Whiskey and the optional dash of water.
  4. Stir gently: Use a bar spoon to stir everything together for about 30 seconds. This will combine the flavors and chill the drink slightly.
  5. Add ice and garnish: Fill the glass with fresh ice cubes and add the orange twist as a garnish.


  • Adjust the sweetness to your liking by adding more or less sugar.
  • You can use simple syrup instead of a sugar cube if you prefer.
  • The dash of water is optional, but it can help to dilute the drink slightly and make it easier to sip.
  • This recipe makes one serving. You can easily adjust the quantities to make multiple drinks.

For a non-alcoholic fizz: Ditch the whiskey, opt for spiced apple cider or cranberry juice. Muddle orange zest sugar cube, top with sparkling water. Garnish with an orange slice.

If you love strong and bold drinks, try Dancing bear cocktail. I am sure you are going to love it!

3. Sazerac cocktail with Old Overholt

The Sazerac is a classic New Orleans cocktail dating back to the 1800s. Originally made with French cognac, the drink later used American rye whiskey like Old Overholt as the base spirit.

Sazerac cocktail with Old Overholt

The Sazerac has bold flavors from the rye, simple syrup and aromatic Peychaud’s bitters. It is perfect as an after-dinner drink to enjoy alone or with friends.

The absinthe rinsed glass adds another layer of herbal complexity. Together, the ingredients mix to create a warming, tasty beverage that captures the spirit of New Orleans.

This classic recipe calls for Old Overholt rye, simple syrup, Peychaud’s bitters and optional absinthe rinse to produce a nicely balanced Sazerac for enjoying anytime.


  • 2 ounces Old Overholt Rye Whiskey
  • 1/2 ounce Simple Syrup
  • 3 Dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
  • Absinthe Rinse (Optional)
  • Lemon Twist (Garnish)


  1. Chill your glass: Fill a rocks glass with ice and let it sit for a few minutes. Discard the ice before adding the other ingredients.
  2. Absinthe touch (optional): If you want to follow the traditional Sazerac method, you can coat the chilled glass with a small amount of absinthe. Swirl it around and discard the excess before moving on.
  3. Mix the liquid flavors: Combine the Old Overholt Rye Whiskey, simple syrup, and Peychaud’s Bitters in the chilled glass.
  4. Gentle stir: Use your bar spoon to stir everything together for about 30 seconds. This mixes the flavors and chills the drink slightly.
  5. The finishing touch: Add a fresh lemon twist as your garnish and enjoy your spicy and flavorful Sazerac!


  • Play with Peychaud’s: While 3 dashes are standard, experiment with more or less to find your ideal level of herbal bitterness.
  • Sugar control: Love it sweeter? Add a touch more simple syrup, but remember, the Sazerac traditionally leans towards a drier profile.
  • Citrus twist variations: Grapefruit or orange twist can offer different citrusy notes, allowing you to customize the experience further.
  • Absinthe alternatives: If you don’t have absinthe, try a Pernod rinse for a similar licorice touch.

Transform into a bubbly mocktail: Replace whiskey with non-alcoholic champagne or grape juice. Combine elderflower liqueur and lime juice instead of bitters. Skip absinthe, garnish with a lime twist.

Check out some more Whiskey cocktails recipes inspired by Bar Rescue.

4. Old Overholt Boston Sour

The Old Overholt Boston Sour takes the classic sour cocktail and adds a rye whiskey twist with the bold character of Old Overholt. This results in a refreshingly tart drink balanced by sweetness and a spicy rye kick.

Old Overholt Boston Sour

Perfect for sipping on a warm day or enjoying any time you crave a citrusy pick-me-up, this recipe offers a flavorful twist on a familiar favorite.


  • 2 ounces Old Overholt Rye Whiskey
  • 1 ounce Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 ounce Simple Syrup
  • 1 Egg White (Optional)
  • Lemon Twist or Cherry (Garnish)


  1. Shake it up! Combine all ingredients (except garnish) in your shaker with ice. Shake vigorously for about 15-20 seconds, creating a nice foam (especially if using the egg white).
  2. Strain and savor: Strain the mixture into a chilled glass, discarding the ice.
  3. Garnish and go! Serve in a chilled coupe glass, garnished with a maraschino cherry or orange slice.


  • You can skip egg: The egg white creates a frothier texture and richer mouthfeel, but omit it for a cleaner, drier taste.
  • Citrus symphony: Experiment with different citrus juices like grapefruit or lime for a unique tartness.
  • Sweetness symphony: Adjust the simple syrup to your preference. Remember, the Boston Sour leans towards a tart profile, so go easy on the sweetness.
  • Garnish with a twist: Feeling fancy? Get creative with your garnish! Try a sprig of rosemary or mint for a herbal touch, or even a dehydrated orange slice for a citrusy accent.

To turn it into a mocktail: Ditch the whiskey and use chilled black or hibiscus tea. Balance with equal parts lemon juice and simple syrup. Skip the egg white, garnish with a lemon wedge and mint.

5. Old Overholt Boulevardier

The Boulevardier is a twist on the classic Negroni cocktail, substituting rye whiskey for gin. This imparts the drink with warmer, richer flavors from the rye that balances nicely against the herbal notes of Campari and sweet vermouth.

Old Overholt Boulevardier

Originally created in Paris in the 1920s and later popularized by Harry MacElhone’s bar book, the Boulevardier pairs well with a chilly evening.

With equal parts rye, vermouth and Campari, this cocktail delivers bold yet balanced flavors in every sip. Featuring Old Overholt rye whiskey adds its caramel and spice flavors to the mixture.

The Boulevardier is best enjoyed slowly during fall or winter when seeking comfort in a cocktail.


  • 1 ounce Old Overholt Rye Whiskey
  • 1 ounce Sweet Vermouth
  • 1 ounce Campari
  • Orange Twist (Garnish)


  1. Combine the magic: Pour the Old Overholt Rye Whiskey, sweet vermouth, and Campari into your coupe glass with ice.
  2. Stir gently: Use a bar spoon to stir everything together for about 30 seconds. This allows the flavors to mingle and chills the drink slightly.
  3. Strain and adorn: Use a strainer to pour your concoction into a chilled coupe glass, discarding the ice.
  4. Garnish with style: Express the oils from the orange twist over the drink and add it as your garnish. Inhale the citrusy aroma before savoring your complex and delicious Old Overholt Boulevardier!


  • Sweetness adjustments: Experiment with different sweet vermouths to find your ideal level of sweetness. Remember, the Boulevardier leans towards a bittersweet profile.
  • Play with proportions: Feeling adventurous? Try slightly adjusting the ratios of each ingredient to create your own unique flavor balance.
  • Garnish variations: Try a luxardo cherry for a sweeter touch or a grapefruit twist for a bolder citrus note.
  • Ice matters: Large, clear ice cubes melt slower, minimizing dilution and preserving the drink’s flavor.

For a festive mocktail: Skip the Campari, combine unsweetened cranberry and sparkling grape juice. Add a splash of lime for balance. Garnish with a fresh cranberry.

How to serve Old Overholt Cocktails

Here are some tips for properly serving Old Overholt cocktails:

The Right Glassware

Choosing the correct type of glass for each specific cocktail is important when serving Old Overholt drinks. As someone who enjoys hosting friends, I like to have a variety of high-quality cocktail glasses on hand.

An Old Fashioned tastes best in a lowball or rocks glass in my opinion, while a stemless wine glass works well for lighter drinks. Using the proper glassware helps enhance both the appearance and drinking experience.

Old Overholt Cocktails

Proper Chilling

Most Old Overholt cocktails shine when chilled, so I ensure drink components and glasses are thoroughly cold before mixing.

For on-the-rocks cocktails, I always stash extra large ice cubes in my freezer. When entertaining a crowd, I like to batch mix multiples of chilled drinks and store in the refrigerator until showtime. Proper chilling brings out the complex flavor notes in each recipe.

Creative Garnishes

A well-placed garnish can elevate a good cocktail to something special. When serving Old Overholt drinks, I love experimenting with citrus and herb garnishes like orange or cherry to add another layer of flavor and visual appeal.

A quick rub of the fruit peel oils across the rim of the glass balances the drink perfectly in my opinion.

Attractive Presentation

For a truly polished presentation, I find it worth the few extra minutes to arrange finished cocktails beautifully on a tray before serving.

Small details like unique glassware, fresh garnishes and toothpicks make each drink an experience worthy of an event. Proper presentation shows the care and effort that went into crafting the handmade cocktails.

Batching for Efficiency

I enjoy storing pre-made batches in the refrigerator up to a day in advance for stress-free serving. Simple additions of ice and garnishes right before guests arrive means easy sipping and mingling.

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Old Overholt Cocktail Pairings

Here are some food pairings that go well with Old Overholt cocktails:

Smoked meats and cheeses: The smoky flavor of meats like brisket, pulled pork, or sausage pairs well with the peppery notes of Old Overholt. Cheeses like cheddar, gouda, or smoked mozzarella also complement the whiskey’s richness.

Spicy food: The spiciness of foods like chili, tacos, or curry can stand up to the boldness of Old Overholt. The whiskey’s rye spice can also help to cut through the heat of the food.

Salty snacks: Salty snacks like peanuts, pretzels, or popcorn can help to balance out the sweetness of some Old Overholt cocktails. They can also help to cleanse your palate between sips.

Rich desserts: The sweetness and richness of desserts like chocolate cake, pecan pie, or cheesecake can complement the complexity of Old Overholt cocktails.

Fruity dishes: The fruity flavors of dishes like grilled pineapple, fruit salad, or sorbet can add a refreshing counterpoint to the richness of Old Overholt cocktails.

Nutrition Facts of these cocktails

While known for its sophistication, the Classic Old Overholt Manhattan comes in surprisingly light compared to other cocktails.

Clocking in at around 200-210 calories per serving, it’s a lighter option than creamy drinks or those laden with sugary syrups.

The carbohydrate content sits around 4 grams, mostly coming from the sweet vermouth, making it relatively low-carb friendly. Additionally, the rye whiskey itself boasts 0 grams of fat and protein.

NutrientApproximate Amount per Serving
Alcohol28 g

These are estimates based on standard serving sizes. Actual values may vary depending on brands and specific measurements.

Standard recipe for a Classic Old Overholt Manhattan uses 2 ounces of whiskey, which typically contains around 40% alcohol by volume (ABV). This translates to approximately 28 grams of alcohol. Therefore, one serving of this cocktail would be closer to 2 standard drinks.

Dietary Considerations


Most of the ingredients in the classic recipe are keto-friendly. Old Overholt Rye Whiskey has no carbohydrates or sugar, and sweet vermouth generally contains minimal amounts (around 4g per ounce).


Generally safe: Old Overholt Rye Whiskey and Angostura bitters are naturally gluten-free.

Double-check: Ensure your sweet vermouth brand is certified gluten-free. Some vermouths use wheat-based spirits during production.

Orange twist: Opt for a fresh, unprocessed orange peel as some commercially prepared garnishes might contain gluten-containing thickeners.

Conclusion: As long as you choose gluten-free vermouth and a fresh orange peel, the Classic Old Overholt Manhattan can be enjoyed by those with gluten sensitivities.


Whiskey and bitters: Both Old Overholt Rye Whiskey and Angostura bitters are typically vegan-friendly.

Sweet vermouth: Some vermouth brands use animal-derived products like fining agents. Look for vegan-certified brands or explore alternatives like sugar-free syrups made with vegan ingredients.

Storage Tips for Old Overholt Cocktails

Unfortunately, due to their mixed ingredients and presence of alcohol, Old Overholt Cocktails aren’t ideal for storage. Once prepared, they are best enjoyed immediately for the freshest and most flavorful experience.

Due to ice dilution, ingredient breakdown, and oxidation, they’ll lose their intended flavor and aroma quickly.

Instead of storing mixed cocktails, consider these alternatives:

1. Pre-portion ingredients: Measure out individual portions of all the ingredients (whiskey, vermouth, bitters, etc.) and store them separately in airtight containers. When ready for a drink, combine the fresh ingredients and enjoy!

2. Batch mixing (limited shelf life): If you plan to enjoy several Old Overholt cocktails within a short time (usually no more than 24 hours), you can make a larger batch. However, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator to minimize oxidation and dilution.

3. Opt for shelf-stable cocktails: Explore recipes designed for storage, often using shelf-stable ingredients like infused syrups and liqueurs.


In conclusion, I hope you’ve enjoyed this tour through some of my favorite classic cocktail recipes featuring Old Overholt rye whiskey. As someone who loves practicing their home bartending skills, I appreciate how Overholt’s complex yet smooth flavor profile lends itself to so many different mixed drink options.

If you decide to try recreating any of these yourself, I’d be excited to hear what you think! You can let me know if a recipe becomes your new go-to in the comments.

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Hey there, I'm Jennifer, the brains and heart behind Thirstpals.com. I'm on a mission to explore and share the amazing world of drinks and beverages. From healthy sips to spirited concoctions and the perfect cup of coffee, I've got it all covered. Join me in sipping and smiling through life's flavorful moments!

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