Saratoga Cocktail Recipe

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Saratoga Nutrition Facts





Alcohol %:28

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 Saratoga cocktail is a classic American drink that dates back to the 19th century. It was named after the famous Saratoga Springs in New York, which was a popular destination for the wealthy elite during the Gilded Age. The cocktail was often enjoyed at the luxurious hotels and resorts in the area, making it a symbol of sophistication and elegance.

  • The Saratoga cocktail is believed to have been created by legendary bartender Jerry Thomas
  • It was featured in his 1862 book, 'How to Mix Drinks or The Bon Vivant's Companion'
  • The cocktail has experienced a resurgence in popularity in recent years, thanks to the revival of classic cocktails

How Saratoga Tastes?

The Saratoga cocktail is a well-balanced mix of sweet, sour, and strong flavors. The brandy and whiskey provide a rich, warming base, while the sweet vermouth adds a touch of sweetness. The lemon juice and bitters contribute a refreshing tartness and complexity to the drink.

Interesting facts about Saratoga

  • The Saratoga cocktail is sometimes referred to as the 'ancestor' of the modern Manhattan
  • The original recipe called for Old Tom gin, but it has been replaced with whiskey in most modern versions
  • The Saratoga is often served in a chilled coupe glass, garnished with a lemon twist



Brandy adds a rich, fruity base to the Saratoga cocktail. It's like a warm hug from a good friend. Too much and you might overstay your welcome (overpower the drink), too little and you won't be making much of an impression (the drink will lack depth). Leave it out, and you're not even at the same party.

Alex Green

Rye Whiskey

Rye Whiskey is the life of the party here—a peppery, spicy spirit that contrasts nicely with the brandy. Skimping on it could make the cocktail too soft, while too much might turn the other ingredients into wallflowers. Without it, the drink loses its distinctive kick.

Emma Rose

Sweet Vermouth

Sweet Vermouth is the diplomat, balancing the strong personalities of brandy and rye whiskey with its herbal sweetness. It's crucial for a harmonized conversation between all the ingredients. If you replace it with dry vermouth, you'll throw off the sweet-bitter dynamic and end up with a more puckering guest list.

Mary Mitkina

Lemon Juice

Fresh Lemon Juice is the zesty spark that brightens the whole mix. It's what keeps the cocktail from becoming too serious—it's here for a good time, not a long time. Too little and the drink can feel heavy; too much and it might overshadow the rich base spirits.

Alex Green

Angostura Bitters

Angostura Bitters are like the spice rack of the cocktail world: a little goes a long way. These dashes add complexity and depth. Leave them out, and your cocktail may find itself missing that special something—like a blank canvas with no paint.

Emma Rose

Lemon Twist

A Lemon Twist garnish isn't just decoration; it's the final touch. The expressed oils add a fragrance that engages the drinker's sense of smell, enhancing the overall tasting experience. No twist means no aromatic introduction as you go in for a sip.

Mary Mitkina

Recipe. How to make Saratoga Drink

  1. Fill a mixing glass with ice
  2. Add the brandy, rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, lemon juice, and Angostura bitters
  3. Stir the mixture until well-chilled
  4. Strain the cocktail into a chilled coupe glass
  5. Garnish with a lemon twist, expressing the oils over the drink and placing it on the rim of the glass

Pro Tips

  • Use high-quality ingredients. The taste of your cocktail will be as good as the ingredients you use.
  • Chill your glass before pouring the cocktail into it. This will keep your drink cooler for longer.
  • Express the lemon twist over the drink to release its oils, adding an extra layer of flavor.

Perfect Pairings


  • Charcuterie Board: The hearty flavors of the meats and the richness of the cheeses will complement the robust and spicy notes of the cocktail.
  • Spiced Nuts: The warm spices will echo the bitters' aromatic complexity.
  • Crostini with Blue Cheese: The boldness of the blue cheese balances with the sweetness of the vermouth.

Main Courses

  • Grilled Steak: A classic pair; the char from the steak enhances the depth of the whiskey and brandy.
  • Barbecue Pork: The sweet and tangy barbecue sauce pairs harmoniously with the citrus and sweetness of the cocktail.


  • Dark Chocolate Fondue: The bitterness of the dark chocolate will be a nice counterpoint to the cocktail's sweetness.
  • Lemon Tart: The tanginess of the lemon tart will bring out the lemon notes in the cocktail.

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What you could change in Saratoga

  • Brandy: You can substitute it with Cognac or Armagnac.
  • Rye Whiskey: Bourbon can be used as a substitute.
  • Sweet Vermouth: Dry vermouth or red vermouth can be used instead.
  • Lemon Juice: Lime juice can be used as a substitute.

Explore all drinks starting with S here

And of course - twists🍹

The Saratoga Sparkler

Add some fizz to the party by topping your Saratoga with a splash of soda water. The bubbles will invite a playful effervescence, making the drink lighter and more refreshing.

The Caramel Saratoga

Substitute the rye whiskey with a caramel whiskey liqueur. This sweeter spirit will add a dessert-like quality to the drink, making it perfect for when you want something a little indulgent but not too heavy.

The Orchard Saratoga

Swap the brandy for apple brandy and add a tablespoon of maple syrup. This version will remind you of a walk through an autumn orchard, with a rich apple flavor and a subtle sweetness that's just the right amount of cozy.

In case you forgot basics how to make Saratoga

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 Saratoga

Can I customize cocktail ingredients according to my taste?

Yes, cocktails are highly customizable. You can adjust the amount of alcohol or other ingredients according to your preference, as long as you maintain the balance of flavors.

What are other garnishing options for cocktails?

Apart from the traditional lemon twist, you can also garnish your cocktail with a cherry, orange slice, or fresh herbs like mint or rosemary for an added aroma.

What are other cocktail preparation methods apart from stirring?

Cocktails can be prepared using several methods apart from stirring, including shaking, blending, and muddling.

Is there any non-alcoholic version of the Saratoga cocktail?

Yes, non-alcoholic or 'mocktail' versions can be created by substituting the alcohol with other ingredients such as non-alcoholic spirits, fruit juice, or soda.

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