The Ohio Cocktail

@RobertSimonson just published a nice investigation into the Ohio Cocktail.

His findings rang familiar to me, because another drink, the Prince of Wales, has also enjoyed popularity in Germany, shares the common thread of champagne, and is likewise all over the place.

What wasn’t included in the Punch article was much in the way of recipes, so I wrote Simonson and he sent me a selection. (Aside: Frank Newman published an Ohio Cocktail recipe in his book from 1900, but it’s a Manhattan with with Angostura and peach bitters, no mention of champagne.)

Add in Mixing glass a few pieces of clear ice, 1/4 Curacao, 1/4 Cognac , 1/2 White wine, stir until very cold and add Castell Byrk (a brand) Champagne. Champagne cocktail glass, serve with cherry.

from “American Drinks” by Victor Hugo Himmelreich (1921)

1/2 wine glass madeira
1/2 wine glass brandy
1 dash angostura
1 dash orange bitters

from “Wissenswertes über Mischgetränke” by Gustav Fink (1949)

1 dash angostura
2/5 brandy
2/5 cordial medoc
1/5 red italian vermouth
quick shake
Fill the drink into a goblet and fill up with sparkling wine. Garnish with a cherry and a orange squeeze.

from “wohl bekomm’s” by Thaddäus Troll and Gertrud Oheim (1958)

2 cl Canadian Whisky
1 cl Vermouth rosso
1 cl Vermouth dry
1 cl Triple Sec
dash Angostura
fill with Champagne

from “Schumanns Barbuch” by Charles Schumann (1984)

2 splashes of Angostura
2 cl Canadian Whisky
2 cl Vermouth Rosso
2 cl Cointreau
cocktail cherry
Twist of Orange

from Franz Brandl, “Big Cocktail Book” (1988)

Current house recipe at Buck and Breck in Berlin:

30 ml Rye Whiskey
15 ml Italian Vermouth
dash Orange China China
dash Orange Curaçao
dash Angostura Bitters
Stirred and Strained into a Silver Cup On The Rocks. Topped with Champagne. Orange twist (discard).

There are many others, few of them identical. Frank Caiafa pointed out to me that the brandy version is little different from the Chicago cocktail.

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A couple more from Martin Heile’s Der Perfekte Mixer (1950):


2 oz Cognac
2 oz swedish punsch
1 dash Angostura

3 oz Cognac
1 oz vanilla [syrup?]
sparkling wine

I wouldn’t be inclined to make either verbatim, but the former could be interesting.

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I’m currently reading MFK Fisher’s Gastronomical Me and she mentions the Ohio on her 1935 Atlantic Crossing on the Hansa, a German ship.

The favorite cocktail was called an Ohio. It was drunk at any time of the day or night from double-sized champagne glasses which must have held ten or twelve ounces of the mixture, and were rimmed heavily with sugar.
I knew the formula, from watching the barman make so many, but I forget everything now except that it was coarse, stupid and fantastic, like the men who drank it. There were two or three cherries in each glass, and several kinds of alcohol: brandy, gin, cordials. Champagne was used as a filler.
I never tasted one, but the barman, who spent what spare time he had in practicing elaborate scroll-writing under the top of the bar, told me they were very sweet. He said I wouldn’t like them.
I didn’t like the way they made people act, certainly, and after one nightcap in the bar I was always glad to go to my cabin.


Sometimes a given drink is just whatever you happen to have on hand. And if it works ok, you make it a triple.

Very interesting. Nice find.

From the 1913 Lexikon der Getranke

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From Grassi:

(The recipe is for a straightforward champagne cocktail, the only twist being that the sugar cube is rubbed on a lemon skin first.)