Elegant black-tie flavor without all the fuss
Holiday parties are beckoning. You’ll need something formal, of course.
The Tuxedo Cocktail is here to help. This martini variant has deep flavor and sophisticated good looks. But you can make it in a snap.
It’s a great drink any time, but we particularly like to sip it before dinner.
Which makes the Tuxedo perfect for your next soirée. Black tie optional.
Recipe: The Tuxedo Cocktail
The Tuxedo Cocktail – like the tuxedo dinner jacket – is named after the Tuxedo Club, a private country club located in Tuxedo Park, New York. There are several versions of the drink, but they’re all based on the Dry Martini.
We prefer the version that substitutes dry sherry for dry vermouth, so that’s the one we’re posting about here. We use cocktail extraordinaire David Wondrich’s formula. But there’s another popular version that we discuss in the Notes.
This recipe takes about 5 minutes to prepare, and serves one.
- 2 ounces dry gin (see Notes)
- ¾ to 1 ounce dry sherry (to taste; see Notes)
- 1 dash orange bitters (or two, if you prefer)
- garnish of lemon twist (optional; may substitute orange twist)
- Add all ingredients (except garnish) to a cocktail mixing glass half-filled with ice. Stir briskly until the contents are well chilled (about 30 seconds).
- Strain into a cocktail glass or coupe, preferably one that has been chilled. Garnish with a lemon twist, if desired, and serve.
- Why stir this drink? Because the ingredients are clear. Shaking introduces small bubbles, which can temporarily cloud the drink. Not a problem when some of the ingredients are opaque (like citrus juice). But when the ingredients are clear, bubbles can make the drink less attractive.
- This is a rule we break all the time, though, so shake away if you prefer. The drink will taste just as good. And the cloudiness will dissipate in a few minutes.
- Don’t have sherry on hand? You may want to try another version of this drink (a version that may in fact be more common than the one we prefer): Use 2 ounces of dry gin, 1 ounce dry vermouth, ¼ teaspoon maraschino liqueur, and 1/8 teaspoon of absinthe or pastis (like Pernod). Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with a lemon twist.
- That said, if you don’t have sherry on hand, you really should acquire some. It’s great as an apéritif, and is a necessary ingredient in several cocktails besides the Tuxedo (like The Sherry Cobbler and The Bamboo Cocktail).
- For cocktails, it’s best to use dry sherry. A fino, which has very pale color, is ideal. Amontillado, which is darker, would also be a good choice. But avoid cream sherry, which is way too sweet.
- Some sherries have rather assertive flavor, so you may want to vary the amount you include in this drink. We recommend starting with 1 ounce. But if the flavor is too overwhelming, dial that back to ¾ ounce.
- Sherry originated in the Cádiz province of Spain (specifically, around the town of Jerez de la Frontera). This region has produced wine for over 3000 years. Sherry was developed after Moorish invaders introduced distillation to the area, probably sometime during the 8th century. The best sherry still comes from Spain.
- Although you can spend big bucks on a bottle of sherry, for cocktails something that costs around $15 should be fine.
- Almost any gin you’re likely to find in a liquor store is “dry” gin (as opposed to sweetened gin like Old Tom – which is the only brand of non-dry gin you’re likely to see). If in doubt about which brand to buy, ask the friendly folks at the shop.
- Don’t substitute Angostura bitters for orange bitters – the flavor is all wrong. Most liquor stores carry orange bitters, or you can order them online. Our favorite brand is Regan’s, but other good brands are available.
- BTW, next time you make a classic martini, add a dash or two of orange bitters to it. The drink was originally made with bitters (they fell out of favor in the 1930s), and they add a nice flavor hit.
- The Tuxedo Club is a private country club located in Tuxedo Park, a village in the Ramapo Mountains not far from New York City (or Jersey City, for that matter). It was founded in 1886.
- The Tuxedo Cocktail became the club’s signature drink, although no one quite knows when the drink was developed.
- We do know, however, that the tuxedo dinner jacket – also named after the club – first appeared shortly after the club opened. It was inspired by the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII), who had started wearing dinner jackets with short tails while in the country (rather than the long-tailed coats that were de rigueur at dinner tables in England during the 19th century). At the Tuxedo Club’s first autumn ball in 1886, some young dandies showed up in tailless coats, aping the Prince of Wales.
- The fashion caught on, and over time the tuxedo largely replaced the long-tailed formal dinner jacket at all except the fanciest occasions.
- BTW, the tuxedo is normally worn with a black bow tie, while the long-tailed jacket is paired with a white bow tie. That’s why “white tie” events are considered more formal than “black tie.”
“Elegant drink,” said Mrs Kitchen Riffs. “Rather dressy.”
“Sophisticated, but not stuffy,” I said. “No white-tie formality here.”
“Indeed,” said Mrs K R. “The tuxedo was considered scandalously informal when it was adopted.”
“Inspired in the 1880s by that notorious bon vivant, Albert Edward, then Prince of Wales,” I said.
“Who inspired more than dinner dress, apparently,” said Mrs K R. “He liked to frequent a fabled Parisian bordello called Le Chabanais.”
“Home of a champagne-filled bathtub,” I said. “One that was equipped with a handy love seat.”
“Glad that didn’t catch on for formal events,” said Mrs K R.
Agreed. Wouldn’t want to splash bubbly on my bow tie.
You may also enjoy reading about:
The Sherry Cobbler
The Bamboo Cocktail
The Atty Cocktail
Pegu Club Cocktail
Or check out the index for more
Good stuff indeed, thanks for sharing!
Hi Blogoratti, it is, it is! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Very elegant indeed. Love anything gin, with dry cherry and a touch of orange it sounds so lovely. And you own a tuxedo black tie lol perfect for the photo shoot.
This tuxedo cocktail is definitely worthy of the holidays! It's the perfect way to toast good friends and family.
I happen to have all but one of the ingredients! :)
Hi Evelyne, I actually bought that tie just for the shoot. :-) This is a good drink -- bet you'd like. Thanks for the comment.
Hi Liz, this is the perfect drink for toasts! Thanks for the comment.
Hi Pam, you'll just have to buy that missing ingredient. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Love the name of this fabulous drink! But was the tuxedo really considered informal? What a different time we live in!
Some more incredible photos!!! And sadly, this drink is way too strong for me. I guess I could make it for my husband?!!!
Hi Kelsie, it really was considered informal! Which, of course, isn't the same thing as casual -- we're counting down from the top of the scale here. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Mimi, I'd make yourself a half portion,and serve it on-the-rocks -- the melting ice will dilute it in a hurry! It'll still taste pretty good -- I actually tested one made that way to see what it was like. Thanks for the comment.
What gorgeous shots! I am not a cocktail drinker, but now I want to have a sip of this one...a really cool one.
Great story behind this drink, the Tuxedo looks perfect for the holidays!
Nice post! Very dry sherry is one of our favorites -- we just pour it in a glass and drink it. That is, when we can get it: we've found our favorite Fino quite scarce recently, and hear it's not as popular as in the past.
best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com
Hi Angie, bet you'd like this! It's a nice drink. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Cheri, isn't the story fun? :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Mae, we have a couple of wine/liquor stores that have a decent enough sherry selection. But it doesn't seem to be as popular as it used to be, does it? Shame, because it's so good! Thanks for the comment.
This is a beautiful drink to sit and enjoy in style!
Hi Laura, this looks good, tastes better! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Sherry was once so popular and then fell out of favor. Fortunately , boozy trends come and go. I'm happy to a sherry resurgence. Now I just need to get on board and add a bottle to my bar staples. GREG
Hi Greg, sherry is wonderful in cocktails! Or all by itself (which is how we usually drink it, although we might spring for a pricier bottle if that's our intent). Thanks for the comment.
This sounds like a great one! And what does one do for black tie preferred?
Hi Abbe, if you're attending a black tie preferred event, you'll of course want two of these. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I think I might actually like this drink. If you can believe it I just had gin & tonic for the first time and love it. It's so refreshing. This sounds like it would be very flavorful. I'll have to give it a try and at least have a bartender make it for me!
Hi Vicki, a G&T is a good drink, isn't it? As is this one, although quite a different flavor. Good, though. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I love Pernod and sherry,Prost!
Hi Gerlinde, both of those are so excellent in cocktails, aren't they? Or actually by themselves (need to add water to the Pernod, of course). Thanks for the comment.
Another winner. Cheers!
Perfect drink for the holidays! You got me at dry gin! This is a sophisticated cocktail for discerning tastes! A must try!!! Thanks.
Although I'm not much of a cocktail drinker, this elegant drink has me thinking about changing my mind. This is the way to welcome the holiday season!
Hi Pam, we LOVE gin in cocktails! Thanks for the comment.
Hi Deb, this is indeed a great holiday drink! Thanks for the comment.
Hi Faith, this is nice, isn't it? :-) Thanks for the comment.
This cocktail reminds me of Barney Stinson from HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER - hahahahahahaah! SUIT UP BOYS!
Hi GiGi, :-) Thanks for the comment.
Blimey, this sounds like a strong one! Sounds great!
This cocktail is pure class, I love it :D
I love the name--and the look of this cocktail. Will have to pick up some orange bitters and give it a try.
Hi Caroline, strong but smooth! It goes down easily -- too easily. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Emma, it is a rather classy drink, isn't it? Thanks for the comment.
Hi Frank, orange bitters are SO GOOD! And you can use them in a lot of drink -- fun to experiment with. Thanks for the comment.
Hi John, what a gorgeous cocktail... love that it has gin... I've only just started to appreciate it. Orange bitters? Hmmmm, not heard of those. Must investigate.
Hi Liz, you really do need to investigate orange bitters! And gin is SO nice in cocktails -- it mixes well. Thanks for the comment.
John, what a pretty cocktail. And I always have a decent dry sherry on hand for cooking, so ... Too funny about the scandalous informality of the tuxedo! I always thought that was hilarious.
Hi Jean, the tuxedo story is kinda interesting, yes. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I love your cocktail photos and I always pin them! Happy Holidays.
Hi Lea Ann, glad you like them! We like taking them. And making the cocktails, of course. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Ooh, I feel like I should put on an evening gown to sip that one. What a sophisticated cocktail! And so perfect for this festive time of year.
Hi Carolyn, this is definitely a dress-up drink. Although I usually drink it wearing a sweater and jeans. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Elegant indeed and I love the glass.
Hi Marta, that's a neat shape for a glass, isn't it? :-) Thanks for the comment.
This looks like a really nice sipper cocktail. Very clean and, loving both sherry and vermouth, I think I'd love it with either. A very easier cocktail for a busy holiday. Thanks!
Hi MJ, the sherry is a fun twist -- definitely worth a try! Thanks for the comment.
I just love the vintage glassware you often use in your cocktail images, they are always a beautiful tip of the hat to the slightly more formal times of yesteryear! I had no idea a classic martini had bitters, I will give it a go next time — the classic vodka martini is our favourite cocktail.
I'm having increasingly more trouble commenting on blogger websites, on my iPhone, I can only comment using Safari and on my MacBook Pro, it used to be Chrome but that has given out too.
Hi Eva, FYI two comments came through from you -- I'm guessing you just might not see the notification that comments are moderated on browsers other than Safari? (It must not be showing up for some reason.) Anyway, if you like a martini, you'll like this! Thanks for the comment.
This one looks as elegant as it sounds, John! And I will try your suggestion about the bitters the next time I have a martini! :)
Hi Marcelle, it IS an elegant drink! And a good one. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Now you are getting all fancy on us!!! However, the holidays are here and it is time to have a little fun and the tuxedo cocktail sounds like the perfect recipe to get the party started.
Hi Bobbi, it's a wonderful drink -- just lovely flavor. I'll have mine without the black tie, please. :-) Thanks for the comment.
That must be it. I just left a comment on your date square post, hopefully it comes through, please let me know.
Hi Eva, both comments came through! I'll send you an email to let you know. :-)
This sounds delicious, and I loved the tuxedo info - I had no idea.
Hi Jeff, we found the tuxedo info really interesting, too. And the drink, of course. :-) Thanks for the comment.
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