Pre-prohibition cocktails and modern twists on classics

Old Hickory Cocktail


Old Hickory Cocktail


1.5oz Sweet Vermouth

1.5oz Dry Vermouth

2 dashes Orange bitters

2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

Lemon twist


Add all liquids to a chilled rocks glass. Add ice. Stir gently. Garnish with the lemon twist.


Composed only of vermouth and bitters, the Old Hickory is a tasty lighter cocktail. The heavier sweet vermouth is lightened up by the dry vermouth, which with the combination of bitters also takes the sweetness down a bit and makes for a smooth light drink. The addition of bitters also makes the drink more complex than a simple glass of fortified wine. A little citrus from the lemon twist ties this one together nicely.


The Old Hickory was one of Andrew Jackson’s favorite cocktails, which he became quite fond of when stationed in New Orleans during the War of 1812. In fact, “Old Hickory,” was Jackson’s nickname. To learn a bit more about The Old Hickory Cocktail, check out my post over at Serious Eats.


This classic is so easy to make substitutions with. Basically any fortified wine (or lighter amaro) can sub in for this one. Check out The New Hickory Cocktail for a great example, using Cynar and sherry.

Here’s a few more ideas:

Substitute Lillet for the dry vermouth to make the Old Hickory a bit sweeter with more citrus and hints of Apricot. Drop in Bittermens Boston Bittahs and Jerry Thomas old decanter bitters in place of the orange and Peychaud’s to complete this variation.

If you don’t have Elixir De Vegetal, you could rim the glass with green chartreuse.

Another idea is to again swap out the dry vermouth for Lillet and the sweet vermouth for white sweet vermouth, leading to a very light and sweet version of this drink. I like to do this one with an aromatic bitters, such as Angostura or Jerry Thomas old decanter bitters and a couple dashes of Elixir de Vegetal. For this one, use a lemon twist.

The Old Hickory is also great for those times where you are looking for a good cocktail to help finish off a few bottles of vermouth before the go bad.

The Old Hickory is great especially if in the mood for a lighter cocktail. Also if you have a few different types of vermouth, you can mix and match them in practically anyway imaginable and still have a great drink. Play with the bitters as well to vary the taste.

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