Princeton Cocktail Recipe

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Princeton 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 Princeton cocktail is a classic drink that dates back to the early 20th century. It was named after the prestigious Ivy League university, Princeton, and was a popular drink among the students and faculty. The cocktail is known for its elegant and sophisticated taste, making it a favorite among those who appreciate a well-crafted drink.

  • The drink is believed to have originated at the university's eating clubs, where students would gather for meals and social events.
  • The cocktail gained popularity during the Prohibition era, as it was easy to make with the limited ingredients available at the time.
  • The Princeton cocktail has experienced a resurgence in recent years, as modern bartenders rediscover and reinterpret classic cocktails.

How Princeton Tastes?

The Princeton cocktail has a smooth, balanced taste with a hint of citrus. It is slightly sweet, with a touch of bitterness from the gin and dry vermouth. The orange bitters add a subtle, zesty kick, while the port float gives the drink a rich, velvety finish.

Interesting facts about Princeton

  • The Princeton cocktail is sometimes referred to as a 'Princeton Tiger' in honor of the university's mascot.
  • The drink is traditionally served in a chilled martini glass, but can also be served in a coupe or Nick and Nora glass.
  • The port float is an optional addition to the cocktail, but it adds a layer of complexity and depth to the drink.


A few good options for Princeton are:

  • Brockmans
  • Silent Pool Gin
  • Hendrick's Gin

Learn everything on which Gin to choose


  • Gin is the spirit base here, and at 2oz it's just enough to establish a firm, botanical background without overwhelming the other flavors. Gin's piney, herbal qualities make it the star of the show. Use too little and the drink is flat, too much, and it's like you've got a pine tree in your martini glass. Substituting it with vodka for a milder taste would change this classic into a Vodka Martini—similar, but missing that botanical kick.

Mary Mitkina

Dry Vermouth

  • Dry Vermouth, the trusty sidekick for our gin, comes in at 1oz to add complexity. It's a fortified wine, weaving in that note of refinement with its subtle herbal whisper. Skip the vermouth, and you just have cold gin (a glass full of sadness, really). An alternative could be dry sherry for a slightly nuttier profile.

Emma Rose

Orange Bitters

  • Just 2 dashes of orange bitters for a punch of zesty, bitter complexity. This isn't bitter like your ex, but a suave addition that rounds out the cocktail. Forget them, and the drink loses a layer of sophistication. Grapefruit bitters could be an alternative for a different citrusy twist.

Alex Green

Lemon Twist

  • The Lemon Twist is the sassy garnish that gives life with its burst of citrus oil. It's the cocktail's photo finish. Without it, our Princeton Cocktail would miss that fresh zing. No lemon? Try an orange twist but be ready for a sweeter profile.

Mary Mitkina


  • Port at 0.5oz is optional but oh-so recommended. It's the velvet curtain call at the end of the sip, adding a layer of fruit and depth. Without it, the cocktail is still dapper but less complex. A dash of a sweet red vermouth could be a stand-in, though with a different kind of sweetness.

Emma Rose

Recipe. How to make Princeton Drink

  1. Chill the glass: Place a martini glass in the freezer for 10-15 minutes to chill.
  2. Prepare the ingredients: Measure out the gin, dry vermouth, and orange bitters.
  3. Mix the cocktail: In a mixing glass filled with ice, combine the gin, dry vermouth, and orange bitters. Stir well for 20-30 seconds.
  4. Strain and serve: Strain the cocktail into the chilled martini glass.
  5. Add the port float (optional): Carefully pour the port over the back of a spoon to create a float on top of the cocktail.
  6. Garnish: Express the lemon twist over the drink and place it on the rim of the glass.

Pro Tips

  • Use high-quality ingredients: The taste of your cocktail will greatly depend on the quality of the gin, vermouth, and bitters you use.
  • Chill your glass: This will help keep your cocktail cold for longer.
  • Stir, don't shake: Stirring the cocktail will ensure it's well mixed without diluting it too much.

Perfect Pairings


  • The herbal notes of gin complement many seafood dishes, particularly those with a citrus or herbaceous element. Try pairing with grilled shrimp or seared scallops.


  • Cheeses with nutty or subtly sweet profiles, such as Gruyère or aged Gouda, balance the botanicals in gin and the slight sweetness of the port.


  • Light, fruity desserts such as lemon tarts or berry sorbets echo the citrus notes and work well against the richness of the port float.


  • A bowl of roasted almonds or cashews can be a simple and satisfying nibble that complements the nutty complexity of the dry vermouth.

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What you could change in Princeton

  • Gin: If you don't have gin, you can use vodka as a substitute. It will give the cocktail a different taste, but it will still be delicious.
  • Dry Vermouth: If you don't have dry vermouth, you can use sweet vermouth. Just keep in mind that this will make your cocktail sweeter.
  • Orange Bitters: If you don't have orange bitters, you can use Angostura bitters. It will change the flavor profile a bit, but it will still work.

Explore all drinks starting with P here

And of course - twists🍹

Earl Grey Infused Gin Princeton

  • Infuse 2oz gin with Earl Grey tea. Mix with the usual 1oz dry vermouth, 2 dashes orange bitters. Stir, strain, and serve with a float of 0.5oz Earl Grey tea syrup instead of port. The taste? A tea-party twist with a bergamot scent that'll remind you of sipping cocktails in a blooming English garden.

The Ruby Princeton

  • Swap the dry vermouth for red sweet vermouth and use a ruby port for the float. Everything else stays the same. This twist is richer, with a deeper flavor profile, perfect for those who prefer a touch more sweetness and fruitiness in their drink.

The Smoky Princeton

  • Use a peated gin or add a drop of liquid smoke to the standard recipe. Then follow the usual steps, and consider a grapefruit twist instead of lemon. This drink has a campfire twist, with a smoky, mysterious vibe tailored for the adventurous soul.

In case you forgot basics how to make Princeton

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 Princeton

How do I measure a 'dash' of bitters?

A 'dash' is a measurement used in cocktail recipes and equals about 1/32 of a liquid ounce, or about 0.92 milliliters. Most bitters bottles come with a built-in dasher for easy measurement.

What is the significance of the port float in the Princeton cocktail?

The port float is optional, but it adds depth to the drink. It not only enhances the flavor but also gives the cocktail a stunning visual effect.

What are the typical characteristics of a quality gin for making Princeton?

Premium gin for a Princeton cocktail should possess a balanced and strong flavor of juniper berries, along with various botanicals like coriander seeds, angelica root, and citrus peel.

What can I expect when I taste the Princeton cocktail for the first time?

As a first-time taster, you'll initially experience a balanced, slightly sweet taste with a hint of bitterness. The gin, vermouth, and orange bitters will then unfold on your taste buds one by one, followed by a complex finish from the optional port.

Can I drink Princeton if I don't like gin?

Yes, you can replace gin with vodka, although it will change the taste of your cocktail.

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