A Special Whiskey for a Thanksgiving Cocktail: Remus Repeal Reserve Bourbon & the Old Pal

It’s here – my most favorite time of year! We get to surround ourselves with loved ones, think about all the things we are grateful for, and eat our weight in mashed potatoes! Wheeee! What more could you want? Well, booze of course, duh. Don’t worry your sweet potato head about it. I gotchoo, boo.

I always tend to think this special occasion is deserving of a special cocktail. I mean, what kind of cocktail blogger would I be if I didn’t think you should go big or go home for your signature Turkey Day cocktail?! Let’s bring in the big guns…

Just look at that sexy mofo. Beautiful Art Deco cuts and curves and swerves, and inside that beauty is an exquisite high rye bourbon blend of aged reserves to match. Style & substance – my favorite combo. Swoon-worthy on many levels.

As of last Monday – the birthdate of legendary “King of the Bootleggers,” George Remus – the American distilling powerhouse, MGP Ingredients has added a limited release, premium bourbon, Remus Repeal Reserve Bourbon to its expanding spirits portfolio. MGP, a historic 170-year-old distillery in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, (that I was lucky enough to visit recently!) is known for producing quality juice for some of the top whiskey brands in the country. They have only recently dipped their toes into producing their own line of products. And they’re taking their time to get it right. For their first reserve bourbon, the talented distillery team at MGP has chosen to use high rye bourbons from 2005 and 2006 to create a spicy, complex whiskey that will have you wondering if it’s an aged rye or unusual bourbon. Perfect for an Old Pal cocktail!

A close relative of the Negroni and Boulevardier, as it’s usually made with equal parts spirit, Campari and vermouth, the Old Pal, unfortunately, is often forgotten about. It was first published in 1922 – at the height of George Remus’ fame – in Harry’s ABC of Mixing Cocktails written by Harry MacElhone of the famed Harry’s New York Bar in Paris. I can’t help but think that if old George Remus actually drank (that’s right, he was a teetotaler!), this might be one of his favorite cocktails!

Aside from wanting to share this oft forgotten about cocktail, I also want to note how the Old Pal is the PERFECT spirit forward cocktail that you’ll need to whet your whistle with before that bird comes out, during the feast and after, with dessert. Remus Reserve holds up to the bold personality of Campari, and the blend of dry vermouth makes it less sweet than a Boulevardier. Upping the amount of whiskey versus using equal parts makes this cocktail really let the whiskey shine. So, grab that special bottle and make this classic cocktail for a memorable day of thanks, indeed!

Old Pal
1 1/2 oz Rye or Bourbon – Remus Repeal Reserve recommended!
3/4 oz Campari
3/4 oz Dry Vermouth
Garnish: Lemon Peel

Place all ingredients in an ice-filled mixing glass and stir until well chilled. Strain into a chilled coupe or cocktail glass. Garnish with lemon peel.


Remus Repeal Reserve will be available in select markets across the country, rolled out in a series of events leading up to Repeal Day, December 5, commemorating the end of Prohibition.

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I'd love to hear what YOU think! Scratch a few thoughts down there, why dontcha?