Wellesley Cocktail Recipe

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Wellesley 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 Wellesley Cocktail is named after the prestigious Wellesley College in Massachusetts, which was founded in 1870. This all-female liberal arts college is known for its rigorous academic programs and beautiful campus. The cocktail is believed to have been created by a bartender at a nearby establishment, who wanted to pay tribute to the college and its students. The Wellesley Cocktail has since become a favorite among alumni and visitors alike.

  • The Wellesley College motto is 'Non Ministrari sed Ministrare,' which means 'Not to be ministered unto, but to minister.'
  • Famous alumni of Wellesley College include Hillary Rodham Clinton, Madeleine Albright, and Diane Sawyer.

How Wellesley Tastes?

The Wellesley Cocktail is a delightful mix of sweet, sour, and slightly bitter flavors. The gin provides a strong, herbal base, while the orange liqueur adds a touch of sweetness. The lemon juice brings a refreshing tartness, and the bitters give a subtle, complex finish.

Interesting facts about Wellesley

  • The Wellesley Cocktail is sometimes referred to as the 'Wellesley Martini' due to its similarity in ingredients and preparation to a classic martini.
  • The cocktail is often served at Wellesley College reunions and other alumni events.
  • The original recipe called for Old Tom Gin, a sweeter and less juniper-forward style of gin that was popular in the 19th century.


A few good options for Wellesley are:

  • Brockmans
  • Silent Pool Gin
  • Hendrick's Gin

Learn everything on which Gin to choose


2 oz of gin is the backbone of the Wellesley, providing a robust yet smooth base. The botanicals in gin often include juniper, coriander, citrus peels, and other aromatics, which give this cocktail its complex character. If you skimp on the gin, the cocktail loses its punch; go overboard, and it might overwhelm the delicate balance.

Mary Mitkina


The 0.5 oz of orange liqueur adds a sweet citrusy depth and slight bitterness to the drink. It complements the gin and ties in with the other citrus elements. Without it, you'd miss out on the layered flavors that make the Wellesley special. A potential alternative is triple sec, which would offer a lighter, more straightforward orange flavor.

Emma Rose


Half an ounce gives just the right amount of acidity to balance the sweetness of the liqueur and the botanicals of the gin. Too little and the cocktail may become too sweet, too much and it could become puckeringly sour. Freshly squeezed lemon juice is best for the brightest flavor.

Alex Green


Just 2 dashes are enough to contribute a subtle spice and complexity to the overall profile. Bitters act like the cocktail's seasoning, enhancing flavors and adding depth. Without them, the drink may feel one-dimensional. Other bitters could be used, but they would create different flavor undertones.

Mary Mitkina


The garnish not only looks attractive but also releases essential oils when twisted over the drink, adding a fresh, aromatic finish. Without the twist, you'd lose this final flourish of citrus aroma.

Emma Rose

Recipe. How to make Wellesley Drink

  1. Fill a mixing glass with ice.
  2. Add 2 oz of gin, 0.5 oz of orange liqueur, 0.5 oz of lemon juice, and 2 dashes of Angostura bitters.
  3. Stir the mixture until well chilled.
  4. Strain the cocktail into a chilled coupe glass.
  5. Garnish with an orange twist.

Pro Tips

  • Chill your glass before pouring the cocktail to keep it cold longer.
  • Use freshly squeezed lemon juice for a brighter, fresher flavor.
  • Stir the cocktail gently to avoid diluting it too much.

Perfect Pairings

Foods: Pairs exceptionally well with light appetizers such as smoked salmon canapés or goat cheese crostinis. The refreshing citrusy notes can cut through the richness of the food, creating a balanced taste experience.

Non-Alcoholic Drinks: A perfect non-alcoholic pairing would be a sparkling lemonade that echoes the cocktail's citrus flavors without competing with its complexity. Ice-cold mineral water also complements well, cleansing the palate between sips.

Desserts: The Wellesley's bright and slightly sweet profile makes it a delightful accompaniment to lemon tarts or orange-infused chocolates. These desserts will echo the citrus notes of the cocktail.

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What you could change in Wellesley

  • You can substitute the gin with vodka for a smoother, less herbal flavor.
  • If you don't have orange liqueur, try using Cointreau or Grand Marnier.
  • If you don't have Angostura bitters, you can use orange bitters or peychaud's bitters.

Explore all drinks starting with W here

And of course - twists🍹

The Mayfair Twist:


  • Gin: 2 oz
  • Elderflower Liqueur: 0.5 oz
  • Lemon Juice: 0.5 oz
  • Angostura Bitters: 2 dashes
  • Cucumber Ribbon: 1 for garnish Recipe and Flavor: Follow the same steps as the original Wellesley but substitute the orange liqueur with elderflower liqueur. The cucumber ribbon adds a spa-like freshness. This version is more floral and lightly sweeter, giving it a springtime vibe.

The Kensington Zest:


  • Herbal Gin: 2 oz
  • Aperol: 0.5 oz
  • Lime Juice: 0.5 oz
  • Chocolate Bitters: 2 dashes
  • Grapefruit Twist: 1 for garnish Recipe and Flavor: Swap the gin for a more herbal variety, the orange liqueur for Aperol, and the lemon juice for lime. The chocolate bitters add an unexpected but delightful depth. This twist is bolder with a slight bitter edge, perfect for those who enjoy a more adventurous taste.

The Bloomsbury Blush:


  • Rose Infused Gin: 2 oz
  • Orange Liqueur: 0.5 oz
  • Grapefruit Juice: 0.5 oz
  • Peychaud's Bitters: 2 dashes
  • Rose Petals: a few for garnish Recipe and Flavor: This romantic alteration uses rose-infused gin and grapefruit juice, accented by Peychaud's Bitters. The garnish of rose petals adds to the allure. The result is a cocktail with a floral bouquet and a touch of bitterness, creating a sophisticated, sensory treat.

In case you forgot basics how to make Wellesley

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 Wellesley

What is the origin of the name 'Angostura' for the bitters used in this cocktail?

The name 'Angostura' comes from the town of Angostura, Venezuela where the bitters were originally produced. It was named by its creator, Dr. Johann Siegert, who was a surgeon general in Simon Bolivar's army.

What's the best type of glass to serve the Wellesley cocktail in?

As stated in the recipe, the Wellesley cocktail is best served in a chilled coupe glass. This type of glass is ideal for cocktails without ice, as its shape helps preserve the cocktail's temperature and aroma.

Why do some cocktails require the glass to be chilled?

Chilling the glass helps to keep the cocktail cold for a longer period of time. As the cocktail stays colder, it keeps the ice from melting quickly, thus preventing the cocktail from becoming diluted.

What distinguishes gin from other types of alcohol?

Gin is a distilled spirit that is flavored with juniper berries. The unique taste of these berries gives gin its distinctive flavor. It is commonly used in cocktails for its herbal and floral notes.

What can I pair with the Wellesley cocktail during a meal?

The Wellesley is a versatile cocktail that can be paired with a wide range of dishes. It goes particularly well with seafood or light appetizers, and also complements spicy food by balancing out the heat.

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