Left Hand Cocktail Drink

Left-Hand

A shot of Gavin Wrigley looking to the camera in a dimly lit room
Written by Gavin Wrigley
Andrea
Tested by
Andrea Ottaiano

In the mood for an exciting change? This Left Hand Cocktail recipe won’t disappoint! It’s a flavorful drink, brimming with unique components, and it’s straightforward to create – a cocktail that will enhance your mixology expertise.

Left-Hand Cocktail Recipe

Enjoy fall evenings with this easy Left Hand Cocktail recipe! A mix of bourbon, sweet vermouth, Campari and chocolate bitters will invigorate your senses.

Prep time:

1 minute

Mixing time:

1 minute

Servings:

1

Calories:

213 kl

Ingredients

  • oz Bourbon
  • ¾ oz sweet Vermouth
  • ¾ oz Campari
  • 3 dashes of Chocolate Bitters
  • Ice cubes
  • Maraschino cherry, for garnish, optional

Equipment

  • Coupe Glass
  • Mixing Glass
  • Measuring Jigger
  • Stirrer or Bar Spoon
  • Cocktail Strainer

Instructions

  • Prep Glass: Fill your coupe glass with ice. Set it aside.
  • Add Bitters: Pour 3 dashes of Chocolate Bitters into the mixing glass.
  • Add Vermouth: Measure and pour ¾ oz sweet Vermouth into the mixing glass.
  • Add Campari: Add ¾ oz Campari to the mix.
  • Add Bourbon: Finally, add 1½ oz Bourbon into the mixing glass as well.
  • Add Ice and Stir: Fill the mixing glass with ice. Using a bar spoon or a long stirrer, stir well (for about 15-20 seconds). Give it a taste and stir a bit more if you feel like more dilution is necessary.
  • Strain: Take your coupe glass and discard the ice. Using the cocktail strainer, strain the mixture into the chilled glass.
  • Garnish: Garnish with maraschino cherry and serve immediately.

Notes

Substitutes:

  • Bourbon: If you don't have bourbon on hand, rye whiskey can be a good substitute, although it will give the cocktail a spicier edge.
  • Sweet Vermouth: Dry vermouth can be used instead of sweet vermouth for a different flavor profile.
  • Campari: If you're not a fan of Campari's bitter taste, Aperol is a lighter alternative that still brings an orange essence to the drink.
  • Chocolate Bitters: Regular aromatic bitters can be used if chocolate bitters aren't available, but they will provide a different depth of flavor.

Making a Pitcher of Left Hand Cocktail:

  • To make a pitcher that serves 8, multiply all the ingredients by 8. That would be 12 oz of bourbon, 6 oz of sweet vermouth, 6 oz of Campari, and 16 dashes of chocolate bitters.
  • Combine the bourbon, sweet vermouth, Campari, and chocolate bitters in a large pitcher with ice. Stir well.
  • Pour the mixture into individual chilled coupe or martini glasses, garnish with a cherry, and serve immediately.

Making it Non-Alcoholic:

  • Bourbon Substitute: Use a non-alcoholic bourbon substitute; several brands that mimic bourbon flavor quite well are available.
  • Campari Substitute: Opt for a non-alcoholic aperitif or make a simple syrup infused with orange peel, gentian root and rhubarb.
  • Vermouth: opt for a non-alcoholic wine.
  • Proceed As Usual: Use these non-alcoholic substitutes instead of the regular ingredients, follow the original steps, and enjoy a non-alcoholic version.

Making it Vegan:

This cocktail is already vegan-friendly as it doesn't contain any animal products. However, be sure to check your ingredients' labels to ensure they're vegan. Some brands of vermouth and bitters may use animal products in their production process.

Nutrition Facts

Calories
213
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
0.01
g
0
%
Sodium
 
3
mg
0
%
Carbohydrates
 
12
g
4
%
Fiber
 
0.2
g
1
%
Sugar
 
4
g
4
%
Potassium
 
22
mg
1
%
Protein
 
0.1
g
0
%
Vitamin A
 
2
IU
0
%
Calcium
 
5
mg
1
%
Iron
 
0.1
mg
1
%

 

Left Hand Cocktail Drink

Left-Hand Cocktail Recipe

Gavin Wrigley Written by Gavin Wrigley
Jump to Video
Enjoy fall evenings with this easy Left Hand Cocktail recipe! A mix of bourbon, sweet vermouth, Campari and chocolate bitters will invigorate your senses.
Prep time: 1 minute
Mixing time: 1 minute
Servings: 1
Calories: 213

Ingredients
 

  • oz Bourbon
  • ¾ oz sweet Vermouth
  • ¾ oz Campari
  • 3 dashes of Chocolate Bitters
  • Ice cubes
  • Maraschino cherry - for garnish, optional

Equipment

  • Coupe Glass
  • Mixing Glass
  • Measuring Jigger
  • Stirrer or Bar Spoon
  • Cocktail Strainer

Instructions

  • Prep Glass: Fill your coupe glass with ice. Set it aside.
  • Add Bitters: Pour 3 dashes of Chocolate Bitters into the mixing glass.
  • Add Vermouth: Measure and pour ¾ oz sweet Vermouth into the mixing glass.
  • Add Campari: Add ¾ oz Campari to the mix.
  • Add Bourbon: Finally, add 1½ oz Bourbon into the mixing glass as well.
  • Add Ice and Stir: Fill the mixing glass with ice. Using a bar spoon or a long stirrer, stir well (for about 15-20 seconds). Give it a taste and stir a bit more if you feel like more dilution is necessary.
  • Strain: Take your coupe glass and discard the ice. Using the cocktail strainer, strain the mixture into the chilled glass.
  • Garnish: Garnish with maraschino cherry and serve immediately.

Notes

Substitutes:

  • Bourbon: If you don't have bourbon on hand, rye whiskey can be a good substitute, although it will give the cocktail a spicier edge.
  • Sweet Vermouth: Dry vermouth can be used instead of sweet vermouth for a different flavor profile.
  • Campari: If you're not a fan of Campari's bitter taste, Aperol is a lighter alternative that still brings an orange essence to the drink.
  • Chocolate Bitters: Regular aromatic bitters can be used if chocolate bitters aren't available, but they will provide a different depth of flavor.

Making a Pitcher of Left Hand Cocktail:

  • To make a pitcher that serves 8, multiply all the ingredients by 8. That would be 12 oz of bourbon, 6 oz of sweet vermouth, 6 oz of Campari, and 16 dashes of chocolate bitters.
  • Combine the bourbon, sweet vermouth, Campari, and chocolate bitters in a large pitcher with ice. Stir well.
  • Pour the mixture into individual chilled coupe or martini glasses, garnish with a cherry, and serve immediately.

Making it Non-Alcoholic:

  • Bourbon Substitute: Use a non-alcoholic bourbon substitute; several brands that mimic bourbon flavor quite well are available.
  • Campari Substitute: Opt for a non-alcoholic aperitif or make a simple syrup infused with orange peel, gentian root and rhubarb.
  • Vermouth: opt for a non-alcoholic wine.
  • Proceed As Usual: Use these non-alcoholic substitutes instead of the regular ingredients, follow the original steps, and enjoy a non-alcoholic version.

Making it Vegan:

This cocktail is already vegan-friendly as it doesn't contain any animal products. However, be sure to check your ingredients' labels to ensure they're vegan. Some brands of vermouth and bitters may use animal products in their production process.

What is a Left Hand Cocktail?

A Left Hand Cocktail is a bourbon-based classic cocktail made of 1.5 oz bourbon, .75 oz sweet vermouth, .75 oz Campari, and three dashes of chocolate bitters. This drink is relatively easy to make as it only requires the ingredients to be stirred with ice and then strained into a chilled glass before being garnished with a cherry for serving. The Left Hand Cocktail is an exciting variant of the well-known Negroni cocktail; instead of gin used in traditional Negronis, this recipe calls for bourbon and adds chocolate bitters for extra depth and complexity.

A side shot a Left Hand cocktail in a coupe glass on a white coaster on a black table in front of a black background

What is a Left Hand Cocktail made of – The ingredients

Gather these items if you’re planning to make a Left-Hand Cocktail:

  • Bourbon: This is the base spirit of the Left-Hand cocktail. It provides a rich, full-bodied flavor with notes of vanilla and caramel.
  • Sweet Vermouth: Adds sweetness and complexity to balance the strong bourbon flavor.
  • Campari: An Italian bitter liqueur that gives the cocktail its distinctive bitter edge and vibrant red color.
  • Chocolate Bitters: Enhances the flavor profile by adding a subtle hint of chocolate, complementing the bourbon’s natural sweetness.
  • Cherry for garnish: Serves as an aesthetic element, adding a pop of color and a hint of fruity sweetness when bitten.

Bourbon, sweet Vermouth, Campari and Chocolate bitters laid out on a white bar table

How do you make a Left-Hand Cocktail?

Create a Left-Hand Cocktail at home using our easy-to-follow guide:

1
<p>Make sure to chill a coupe glass. This will ensure that your cocktail is served at the perfect temperature, enhancing the flavors of the ingredients.</p>

Make sure to chill a coupe glass. This will ensure that your cocktail is served at the perfect temperature, enhancing the flavors of the ingredients.

2
<p>Add 2 dashes of chocolate bitters to a mixing glass. The chocolate bitters will add a subtle hint of richness and sweetness that complements the other ingredients.</p>

Add 2 dashes of chocolate bitters to a mixing glass. The chocolate bitters will add a subtle hint of richness and sweetness that complements the other ingredients.

3
<p>Incorporate 0.75 ounces of Campari into the mix. Campari is a bitter liqueur that will add complexity and depth to your cocktail.</p>

Incorporate 0.75 ounces of Campari into the mix. Campari is a bitter liqueur that will add complexity and depth to your cocktail.

4
<p>Add 0.75 ounces of sweet vermouth to the mixing glass. This will add a touch of sweetness to balance out the strong flavor of the bourbon.</p>

Add 0.75 ounces of sweet vermouth to the mixing glass. This will add a touch of sweetness to balance out the strong flavor of the bourbon.

5
<p>Pour 1.5 ounces of bourbon into the mixing glass. The bourbon will provide a strong, robust base for your cocktail.</p>

Pour 1.5 ounces of bourbon into the mixing glass. The bourbon will provide a strong, robust base for your cocktail.

6
<p>Fill your mixing glass with ice cubes.</p>

Fill your mixing glass with ice cubes.

7
<p>Stir the mixture in the mixing glass using a bar spoon for about 20 seconds. This will mix the ingredients and ensure that the cocktail is well-chilled.</p>

Stir the mixture in the mixing glass using a bar spoon for about 20 seconds. This will mix the ingredients and ensure that the cocktail is well-chilled.

8
<p>Strain the cocktail into your chilled coupe glass.</p>

Strain the cocktail into your chilled coupe glass.

9
<p>Garnish with a Maraschino cherry. </p>

Garnish with a Maraschino cherry.

Variations

Seeking alternative suggestions? Here are some standout picks we adore:

  • Espresso Martini: This offers a sophisticated mix of vodka, coffee liqueur, and freshly brewed espresso. The bold flavors of coffee combine with the smoothness of vodka, creating a rich, invigorating experience. I love the deep coffee taste and the energizing kick it provides, making it perfect for a night out.
  • Smoking Hand: This brings a smoky twist to a classic combination of whiskey, bitters, and a hint of citrus. The addition of a smoky element enhances the depth of the whiskey, giving it a warm, complex profile. The smoky flavor adds an intriguing layer, transforming the traditional elements into something unique and memorable.
  • Right Hand: This blends rum, Campari, sweet vermouth, and chocolate bitters. The rum’s sweetness pairs beautifully with the bitterness of Campari, while the chocolate bitters add a subtle richness. The harmony between the sweet and bitter notes makes this one of my favorites, as it strikes a perfect balance and finishes with a delightful hint of chocolate.
  • The Swizzle: This refreshing mix includes rum, lime juice, and a touch of sugar, topped with crushed ice. The tartness of the lime complements the sweetness of the rum, making it a light and invigorating choice. The crushed ice adds a fun, textural element, perfect for enjoying on a hot day.

History and Origin of the Left-Hand Cocktail

The story of the Left Hand Cocktail starts in New York City in 2008. Sam Ross, a famous Milk & Honey bar bartender, created this unique drink.

Sam loved to play with flavors and try new things. He mixed bourbon, sweet vermouth, Campari, and chocolate bitters one day. The result was a tasty cocktail that was strong but smooth.

He called it the “Left Hand” because it reminded him of another cocktail called the “Right Hand.” The only difference was that he used bourbon instead of rum. He also wanted to shout out to all the left-handed bartenders who have to use tools made for right-handers.

People all over the world now love the Left Hand Cocktail. You can find it on many cocktail menus. It’s a favorite because it’s sweet and bitter simultaneously, with a touch of chocolate flavor.

A Left Hand cocktail in a coupe glass on a beige surface surrounded by Bourbon, sweet Vermouth, Campari and Chocolate bitters

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FAQ

How many calories does a Left Hand Cocktail contain?
A standard serving of the Left Hand Cocktail contains approximately 200 calories. However, this can vary slightly depending on the specific brands of alcohol used.
How strong is the Left Hand Cocktail?
The strength of a cocktail is typically measured in Alcohol By Volume (ABV) and proof. The ABV of the Left Hand Cocktail is around 25%, which translates to 50 proof. This makes it a moderately strong cocktail.
What type of alcohol is used in a Left Hand Cocktail?
The Left Hand Cocktail uses three types of alcohol: bourbon, sweet vermouth, chocolate bitters and Campari. These ingredients contribute to its unique flavor profile.
In what type of glass should a Left Hand Cocktail be served?
Traditionally, a Left Hand Cocktail is served in a coupe glass. This type of glass enhances the aroma and flavor of the cocktail, providing an optimal drinking experience.
What does a Left Hand Cocktail taste like?
A Left Hand Cocktail offers a complex blend of flavors. The bourbon provides warmth and sweetness, while the sweet vermouth adds depth and richness. The Campari and the bitters bring bitterness to balance the sweetness, resulting in a well-rounded cocktail with layers of flavor.
What is the ratio of ingredients in a Left Hand Cocktail?
The ratio for a Left Hand Cocktail is 1 ½ oz Bourbon, ¾ oz Sweet Vermouth, ¾ oz Campari, and 3 dashes of Chocolate Bitters.
How is a Left Hand Cocktail served with ice?
A Left Hand Cocktail is typically stirred with ice until well-chilled, then strained into your glass. It's not usually served over ice or on the rocks; instead, it's served 'up,' meaning without ice in the glass.
Can I make a Left Hand Cocktail at home?
Absolutely! The Left Hand Cocktail is relatively simple to make at home, as long as you have the necessary ingredients and tools. Just remember to follow the correct ratio of ingredients and serve it in the right type of glass.
Is there a specific brand of bourbon that works best in a Left Hand Cocktail?
While there's no definitive answer, many cocktail enthusiasts recommend using a high-quality bourbon with a robust flavor profile. This will ensure that the bourbon can hold its own against the strong flavors of the sweet vermouth and Campari.
What is the history behind the Left Hand Cocktail?
The Left Hand Cocktail was invented by Sam Ross, a famous mixologist operating in New York and it is the most famous of a cocktail series created at Milk & Honey bar in the 2000s.

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