Ivy League cocktails: The Harvard Cooler, the Cornell Special, the Pennsylvanian, and other elite elixirs.

Every Ivy League School Has a Cocktail Named After It, but Not All of Them Are Elite

Every Ivy League School Has a Cocktail Named After It, but Not All of Them Are Elite

Wine, beer, and other potent potables.
Sept. 16 2013 5:38 AM

Every Ivy League School Has a Cocktail Named After It

But not all of them are elite. Here are the best and worst.

(Continued from Page 1)

Trader Vic’s Columbia
2 ounces white rum
¾ ounce raspberry syrup
¾ ounce lemon juice

Shake well with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 


There are two distinct Columbia cocktails. The more prominent is basically a Harvard made with dry vermouth rather than sweet. Boring; a school drink needs a distinct identity, and this school reveals a sassy one with the other Columbia Cocktail, which first made the scene in Trader Vic’s Bartender’s Guide (1947). A reminder of the direct charms of raspberry syrup, this is the prettiest drink on the list and the one most likely to delight a non-adventurous drinker, such as a Barnard undergrad who lives off of Pinkberry and Snapple.


Cornell Special
¾ ounce London dry gin
¾ ounce Bénédictine
¾ ounce lemon juice
¾ ounce Gerolsteiner Heavy Mineral Content Mineral Water

Shake the gin, Bénédictine, and lemon juice well with ice and strain the mix into a cocktail glass. Top with the mineral water.

OK, so imagine you’re a patient at a mountaintop spa. It’s early evening in Middle Europe in the late 19th century. This is what your white-suited caregivers serve, just before dinner on special occasions, when they allow you something livelier than beef tea.

The robust Gerolsteiner mineral water is a cousin to the vintage recipe’s Lithia water, a once-popular health drink shown to improve your mood and temper your tendencies toward criminality, naturally, as it contains lithium. Not to make light of self-harm—seriously, here are the relevant phone numbers for mental-health resources in Ithaca—but it seems possible that this cocktail was designed specifically to keep people from throwing themselves in gorges.


Yale Cocktail (Old School)
2 ounces Old Tom gin
3 dashes orange bitters
1 dash Peychaud’s bitters
Club soda

Stir the gin and bitters well with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Top with club soda to taste.

It’s softly fragrant. It’s slightly effervescent. It’s charmingly quartzlike in color and antique in preparation. But, mostly, it’s gin.


Dartmouth (Highbrow)
1¾ ounce St. George Terroir Gin
½ ounce Original Combier
1 barspoon maple syrup

Stir well with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass or serve over ice in an old-fashioned glass.

There is no substantial tradition of the Dartmouth cocktail. Thank God. The tone of things in Hanover, N.H., is so ambitiously degenerate that it’s clearly best for all involved to stick to beer. Just look to Animal House, or investigate the literature of Dartmouth pong. (One of the great moments in the history of long-form undergraduate journalism was committed by the school’s daily on Nov. 16, 2005: “This is the first in a three-part series looking at the evolution of beer pong as a social and cultural phenomenon….”)

There is a bar called Brick & Mortar in Cambridge, Mass., and last fall, filling out a menu of nine college cocktails—the eight Ivy League schools, plus a “Bunker Hill Community College” (a shot of Dr. McGillicuddy’s Schnapps)—its proprietors invented a Dartmouth. We’ve taken the liberty of suggesting serving that Dartmouth in a dainty glass, just for the sake of cognitive dissonance. Its amber decadence is pretty good, and it’s definitely redolent of New Hampshire in its woodsiness. What with the maple syrup and the earthiness of this particular gin, sipping one is a bit like drinking a fancy flannel shirt.


Brown University Cocktail
1½ ounces bourbon
1½ ounces dry vermouth
2 or 3 dashes orange bitters

Stir well with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Serve.

Wan. One of the duller Manhattan variations known to man, in fact. I would prefer to drink whatever they’re having over at RISD.


The Pennsylvanian
2¼ ounces Calvados

1½ ounces Madeira
1 egg white
Garnish: lemon twist

Shake well to emulsify the egg white. Add ice and shake well again. Strain into a highball glass. Garnish.

Not so much bad as weird, the Pennsylvanian can only be described as a Colonial-era frat shooter. And it is difficult to believe that anyone would finish one unless they felt a school spirit so intense as to constitute demonic possession. However, its thematic coherence is so strong as to constitute a good story. According to WikiTender, which I almost worry is pranking us, the drink pays tribute to the school’s founder, Benjamin Franklin: The egg alludes to a Poor Richard maxim, the Madeira presents an homage to the Founding Fathers’ thirst for Portuguese wine, and the Calvados at once nods to Pennsylvania’s apple brandy tradition and to the French, for whom Franklin had a “great affection,” if you know what I mean.


Dartmouth (Lowbrow)
1 ounce
1 ounce Midori
½ ounce
Rose's lime juice
½ ounce
lemon juice
2 ounces
tonic water
1 ounce
Garnish: Lemon wedge and lime wedge.

Put all that crap in a tall glass with ice and stir. Garnish. For a fancier garnish, spear together a green letter “D” (a lime half-wheel) and cut a yellow letter “C” (from the rind of a lemon wheel).



Yale (Boola Boola)
2 ounces London dry gin
1 ounce dry vermouth
1 teaspoon blue curaçao
1 dash orange bitters
Stir well with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Crème Yvette—necessary to the fashioning of the second drink on this list—was off the market for 40 years when its manufacturer stopped production, and in its absence, those who wanted to turn their tongues Yale blue when wetting their beaks turned to this fluorescent atrocity. There are lot of incorrect ways to make a martini. The most popular include shaking and using vodka; the most spectacularly incorrect involves turning it the color of windshield washer fluid.