Harvey Wallbanger. Amaretto Sour. SoCo & Lime. If you're a modern day cocktail drinker these are cocktail orders you may have never heard.
Still, even these much-maligned cocktails of decades gone by can be executed well—if you've got the right recipes. Fresh juices are key (put down that sour mix, please!), as is attention to detail. But if you've got a shaker, ice, and an old-school bottle liqueur, odds are you can make a decent drink with it. Here are four of our favorites.
Galliano: Harvey Wallbanger
All the rage in the '70s, the Harvey Wallbanger may win the award for the best-worst cocktail name in history. Use good orange juice here—fresh-squeezed, if you can. Orange is the dominant flavor, with the Galliano sneaking around the edges; the result is something like an herbaceous Creamsicle.
Instructions: In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine 1 1/2 ounces of vodka, 1/2 an ounce of Galliano, and 2 ounces of orange juice. Dash in some orange bitters. Shake all that up and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with an orange wedge and/or brandied cherries.
Midori: Melon Ball
Neon-green Midori is not known for making sophisticated cocktails. But fresh honeydew juice, a little lemon and some pineapple juice to kick up the acidity make this very ‘80s cocktail worthy of drinking today.
Instructions: In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine 3/4 ounce vodka, 3/4 ounce Midori, 3/4 ounce fresh honeydew juice, 1/2 an ounce of pineapple juice, and 1/4 ounce of lemon juice. Shake that all up and strain into a coupe. Garnish with a cherry and a melon ball.
Amaretto: Amaretto Sour
"Sour mix" turns many amaretto sours into sickly sweet, truly sad cocktails; all you need to do with this almond liqueur is use real lemon and sugar, plus an egg white. Remember, egg in cocktails is never for the taste; rather, for the texture, giving the drinks lift and body.
Instructions: In a cocktail shaker without ice, combine 2 ounces of amaretto, 1 ounce of fresh lemon juice, 1/2 an ounce of simple syrup (equal parts sugar and hot water), and 1 egg white. Shake that all up hard without ice (that's called a dry shake). Add ice and shake again hard. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish, if you wish, with brandied cherries.
And A Bonus: SoCo-Lime Daiquiri
So this isn't a throwback cocktail in itself—but it is inspired by the ultimate throwback shooter, SoCo and lime. This variation on a daiquiri uses fresh lime juice for a much more dynamic, lively cocktail. These go down easy but not, you know, frat-party easy.
Instructions: In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine 2 ounces Southern Comfort, 1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice and 1/2 ounce simple syrup. Shake that all up and strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice. Garnish with a lime wheel.