Oriental Cocktail Recipe

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Oriental Nutrition Facts






Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 7, 2024


The Oriental cocktail has its roots in the early 20th century, when it was first published in the 1930 Savoy Cocktail Book by Harry Craddock. This classic cocktail is a favorite among those who enjoy the exotic flavors of the East, with its combination of rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, and a touch of cherry liqueur.

  • Originally created for travelers seeking a taste of the Orient
  • A popular choice during the Prohibition era
  • Has experienced a resurgence in recent years as a classic cocktail

How Oriental Tastes?

The Oriental cocktail offers a harmonious balance of sweet, spicy, and fruity flavors. The rye whiskey provides a strong, robust base, while the sweet vermouth adds a touch of sweetness and complexity. The cherry liqueur imparts a subtle fruitiness, and the orange bitters add a hint of citrus and spice.

Interesting facts about Oriental

  • The Oriental cocktail is sometimes referred to as the 'East Meets West' cocktail due to its fusion of Eastern and Western flavors
  • The original recipe called for equal parts rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, and cherry liqueur, but modern interpretations often adjust the ratios to create a more balanced drink
  • The Oriental is often garnished with a cherry or an orange twist to enhance its visual appeal and add a touch of elegance


Rye Whiskey

2 oz Rye Whiskey: This is the backbone of your cocktail, offering a spicy, fruity, and grain-forward kick. Go light? You'll miss the strength. Go heavy? You might overpower the subtler flavors. No rye? You could use bourbon for a sweeter, rounder drink.

Emma Rose

Sweet Vermouth

1 oz Sweet Vermouth: This herby, sweet, and slightly bitter fortified wine balances the rye. Less vermouth, and the whiskey's heat takes over. More, and you muddle the drink's complexity. A dry vermouth could make an interesting, if less traditional, alternative.

Mary Mitkina

Cherry Liqueur

0.5 oz Cherry Liqueur: This adds a deep, fruity sweetness and a touch of color—it's the 'cherry on top.' Skip it, and you lose nuance. Double it, and you're in cough syrup territory. Crème de cassis could be a berry-licious sub.

Alex Green

Orange Bitters

2 dashes Orange Bitters: They're like the cocktail's salt and pepper, providing a citrusy depth. Too timid with the dashes? The flavors may fall flat. Overzealous? It could turn into a bitter feud. Grapefruit bitters could shake things up with a tangy twist.

Emma Rose

Garnish: Maraschino Cherry or Orange Twist

Garnish: A cherry adds sweetness and an orange twist offers a zesty flair—pick your garnish based on your mood. No garnish sadly makes your cocktail a naked drink.

Mary Mitkina

Recipe. How to make Oriental Drink

  1. Fill a mixing glass with ice
  2. Add 2 oz rye whiskey
  3. Add 1 oz sweet vermouth
  4. Add 0.5 oz cherry liqueur
  5. Add 2 dashes of orange bitters
  6. Stir the mixture until well chilled
  7. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
  8. Garnish with a maraschino cherry or an orange twist

Pro Tips

  • Use high-quality ingredients: The taste of your cocktail will largely depend on the quality of the ingredients you use. Always opt for high-quality spirits and fresh garnishes.
  • Chill your glass: A chilled glass will keep your cocktail colder for longer, enhancing the overall drinking experience.
  • Stir, don't shake: This cocktail should be stirred, not shaken, to prevent over-dilution.

Perfect Pairings

Appetizers & Snacks

  • Cheese Platter: A selection of hard cheeses like cheddar or gouda can complement the richness of the rye whiskey.
  • Charcuterie Board: Savory cured meats will pair well with the sweetness of the vermouth and cherry liqueur.

Main Courses

  • Barbecue Ribs: The smoky flavors of the ribs will enhance the spiciness of the rye whiskey.
  • Roast Duck: The fruit notes from the cherry liqueur will complement the richness of duck.


  • Dark Chocolate: A piece of rich, dark chocolate can be a delightful contrast to the cocktail's complexity.
  • Cherry Pie: To echo the cherry liqueur, a slice of cherry pie would pair beautifully.

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What you could change in Oriental

  • Rye Whiskey: Can be substituted with Bourbon for a sweeter, smoother cocktail.
  • Sweet Vermouth: Can be replaced with Dry Vermouth for a less sweet, more herbal flavor.
  • Cherry Liqueur: If unavailable, consider using a Raspberry Liqueur or a dash of Grenadine.

Explore all drinks starting with O here

And of course - twists🍹

Smoky Oriental

  • Substitute rye whiskey with a smoky Scotch.
  • This twist adds a layer of peaty smokiness, pairing well with the cherry and citrus flavors.

Spicy Oriental

  • Add a thin slice of fresh ginger to the mixing glass before stirring.
  • The ginger imparts a warming spice that plays nicely with the orange bitters and deepens the rye's natural kick.

Herbal Oriental

  • Replace sweet vermouth with an herbal liqueur like Chartreuse.
  • This creates a more complex, herbal profile that could intrigue the senses and make for an excellent after-dinner digestif.

In case you forgot basics how to make Oriental

Place your chosen strainer on top of the shaker or mixing glass, ensuring a secure fit. Pour the cocktail into a glass through the strainer, which will catch solid ingredients and ice. If double straining, hold the fine mesh strainer between the shaker and the glass.

Learn everything on how to strain

Insert the spoon into the glass until it touches the bottom. Keep the back of the spoon against the inside wall of the glass, and stir in a smooth, circular motion. The goal is to swirl the ice and ingredients together without churning or splashing.

Learn everything on how to stir

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on Oriental

What type of food pairs well with an Oriental cocktail?

The Oriental's general profile of spicy, sweet, and fruity makes it a versatile cocktail suitable for pairing with a wide range of dishes. Some good matches can be smoked meats, sharp cheeses, and Asian fusion cuisine.

How should I store my Rye Whiskey?

It's best to store your Rye Whiskey in a cool, dark place with the bottle standing upright. Once opened, try to consume within 1-2 years.

Can I make my own Sweet Vermouth or Cherry Liqueur?

Yes, it's possible to make infusions at home for both Sweet Vermouth and Cherry Liqueur, but they require some time and specific ingredients.

What is the difference between dashes and drops in a cocktail recipe?

A dash is a somewhat vague measure, but generally, it's considered to be about 1/8 of a teaspoon. A drop is exactly what it sounds like - a single drop from a dropper.

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