Created by famous bartender Donn Beach, the Zombie cocktail is one hell of a drink: Three different types of Rums, fruit juices, cocktail bitters, Falernum, and the list goes on. Beach also added one of his signature ingredients to the drink, Donn's Mix. 

The amount of ingredients is almost intimidating. The fact that Beach kept his recipe secret and occasionally changed it doesn't make things any easier.

And because often it happens that somebody doesn't have all the necessary ingredients at hand, this drink has countless riffs and variations. 

Amongst those are versions of bartending legends like Trader Vic, creator of the Mai Tai, and Jeff Beachbum Berry.

Read on when you want to learn more about Donn Beach's unique ingredients and how he invented the Zombie cocktail.

History of the Zombie cocktail

Donn Beach invented the Zombie cocktail in the 1930s at his legendary bar - Don the Beachcomber. Beach served many rum-based drinks and started the modern Tiki cocktail culture.

His Zombie cocktail even seems to have had a particular intention. Apparently, Beach created this complex concoction with the purpose of curing a hangover, just like the Corpse Reviver

The story goes that Donn Beach mixed it for a hungover customer helping him to get through an important business meeting. 

The Zombie

Presumably, Beach overdid it with the alcohol levels because his customer is said to have pointed out that the drink was so strong that he somehow felt like a Zombie. But at least it seems he managed to get through the meeting.

Beach, too, was aware of how potent his creation was. Therefore, he limited the number of Zombies served per customer to two per day in his bar. He explained that one more would make you "like the walking dead."

What's also worth mentioning is that he used his legendary secret formula - the so-called Donn's Mix - to enrich the flavors of the Zombie cocktail. So let's look a little closer at the ingredients.

All ingredients you need to make a Zombie cocktail

Donn Beach made a habit of keeping the recipes for his cocktails a secret. He sometimes even used cryptic references for some ingredients, so only he knew what exactly went into his shaker. 

Luckily, there are curious and persistent people like Jeff Beachbum Berry. He published a book called Sippin' Safari, containing many recipes for Tiki cocktails. 

Berry did quite some research for this, interviewing countless bartenders from Don the Beachcomber and many other famous Tiki places. 

Two Zombie Cocktails

As a result, his gem of a book also shows the development of the Zombie cocktail over time as it contains three different recipes created between 1934 and 1956.

The original recipe contained the following: three different kinds of Rum, lime juice, Angostura bitters, Falernum, Pernod, Grenadine, and -of course- Donn's Mix. Our recipe also calls for the addition of pineapple juice.

The Rums

The types of Rums used vary from recipe to recipe. It could be overproof Rums, spiced Rums, Jamaican and Puerto Rican Rum, white Cuban Rum, and so on.

One type that pops up in many recipes is 151 Rum. And perhaps you guessed it already, the 151 stands for the proof of the spirit. With 75,5 % ABV, those Rums are way above the usual 40 - 45%. 

Overproof is a term for Rums ranging from 100 - 151 proof. So as per definition, this one is a seriously overproof Rum, right at the top of the scale.

Juices in a Zombie 

Lime and pineapple juice are both evergreens in tropical cocktails. They perform some real magic when you squeeze them from fresh and ripe fruit.

Zombie Cocktails

Please don't use packed juice made from concentrate. They are a sure way to mess up what could otherwise have been a brilliant drink.


Pernod is often named when a recipe calls for Absinthe. However, technically, the two are not the same.

During the century Absinthe was banned due to the false belief that it would cause hallucinations, people needed something to replace it. 

Like Absinthe, Pernod has a green color, a strong anise flavor, and a high ABV. As opposed to Absinthe, it is made without wormwood, which was thought to literally be the root of all evil in the Green Fairy.

Today, Pernod and Absinthe are often used interchangeably in mixed drinks. So Pernod is what we use in our Zombie cocktail.

The syrups

The Zombie cocktail contains three different kinds of syrups: Falernum, Grenadine, and Donn's Mix.

The first, Falernum, can be non-alcoholic or alcoholic (Velvet Falernum). It's somewhat of a spicier version of orgeat and carries notes of ginger, cloves, lime, almond, and allspice berries.

For the Zombie, both version works, the alcohol-free syrup or Velvet Falernum.

The Zombie Cocktail

Grenadine is a sweet, bright red syrup made from cranberries and often frowned upon in the world of mixology for its artificial taste. So to get a more natural flavor, you can consider making a DIY grenadine at home.

And the third syrup is Donn's Mix. An ingredient that sounds pretty mysterious but actually can be made quite easily.

How to make Donn's Mix

As mentioned before, Donn's Mix is an ingredient Donn Beach commonly included in his cocktail creations. 

Eventually, someone uncovered that Donn's Mix is a delicious mix of cinnamon and grapefruit juice. And the best part is, you can easily make this at home. All you have to do is make a cinnamon-flavored simple syrup and then mix it with grapefruit juice.

So let's start with the cinnamon-simple syrup:

Use one cup of sugar, one cup of water, and three cinnamon sticks. Bring everything to a boil and stir until the sugar dissolves completely. Then remove from heat and let the syrup cool down.

Now, you need to mix your cinnamon syrup with fresh grapefruit juice. For this, use one part syrup and two parts grapefruit juice. 

Et voila, you just created Donn's mix. This invaluable ingredient should be used up within 2-3 weeks.

Zombie cocktail with mint sprig garnish


The Zombie is a crazy rum-based cocktail created by Donn Beach. Based on three different types of Rum, this cocktail will get your groove on.
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: falernum, grenadine, lime, pineapple, rum, Rum Cocktail
Servings: 1
Calories: 308kcal
Cost: $4.20



  • 1.5 oz Havana Club 3-year-old Rum
  • 1 oz Overproof pot still Rum
  • 0.75 oz 151 Rum
  • 0.5 oz Falernum
  • 1/8 bsp Pernod
  • 1 oz Pineapple juice
  • 0.5 oz Lime juice
  • 0.5 oz Donn's Mix
  • 1 bsp Grenadine
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters


  • The Zombie is a blended cocktail. That means, pour all ingredients except the Angostura bitters in your blender with 6 oz of crushed ice.
    1.5 oz Havana Club 3-year-old Rum, 1 oz Overproof pot still Rum, 0.75 oz 151 Rum, 0.5 oz Falernum, 1/8 bsp Pernod, 1 oz Pineapple juice, 0.5 oz Lime juice, 0.5 oz Donn's Mix, 1 bsp Grenadine
  • Blend shortly (4-6 seconds) at high speed.
  • Pour the drink into your favorite Tiki mug over ice and garnish with a fresh mint sprig.
  • Add two dashes of Angostura bitters and enjoy your Zombie.
    2 dashes Angostura bitters


Serving: 6.25oz | Calories: 308kcal | Carbohydrates: 27.86g | Protein: 0.2g | Fat: 0.05g | Sodium: 5.08mg | Potassium: 73.32mg | Sugar: 26.46g | Vitamin C: 11.5mg | Calcium: 8.96mg | Iron: 0.25mg
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When the weather gets cold, coats, gloves, and scarves are out on the streets again. And often, they are not nearly enough to make one feel warm and cozy again. Then it's about time to warm yourself up from the inside. And what better way is there than doing this with something hot and slightly boozy?

Especially in the Northern hemisphere, where temperatures quickly drop way below 0°F, there's a considerable demand for such beverages. And a much-beloved one over there is Glögg.

What exactly is Glögg?

First of all, it's probably a bit of a puzzle how to pronounce the "ö" sound correctly. It's pretty hard to find anything comparable, but the closest would probably be like the "e" in gherkin.

But now, what is Glögg? It's wine or Brandy spiced with many typical winter spices such as cinnamon, cloves, ginger, cardamom, star anise, dried fruit, and then some - depending on the individual taste. You can also get it with Rum or Vodka or as an alcohol-free version. Then the spirit base gets replaced by fruit or berry juice which, too, is warmed up and refined with the typical Glögg spices. 

Many say it is just the Swedish word for mulled wine. And that certainly isn't wrong. Also, the name Glögg is short for glödgat vin: the Swedish word glögdat translates to glowing, so it literally means glowing wine. -Which is the literal translation for the name for mulled wine in many European countries. In Germany, for instance, it's Glühwein (Glüh = glowing; Wein = wine).

But each country has its own traditions with its national dishes and drinks. And therefore, of course, there are some differences between Glögg and hot wines from other regions.

Difference between traditional Glögg and other mulled wine

One main difference between Glögg and other mulled wines is, traditionally almonds and raisins are placed at the bottom of a glass before the actual beverage gets poured.

Cups of Glögg with spices

And then, another significant difference is, Nordic people are serious about their booze. Because, where most countries with a tradition of mulled wine stick to a wine-base and add some spices, the Scandinavian Glögg usually contains higher-proof spirits like Cognac or Vodka. 

Of course, it is not uncommon to add schnaps or liqueurs like Amaretto to mulled wine in other regions, as well. But in those cases, it is more of an add-on you have to order extra. It is never the base for the whole thing.

And ultimately, there is a difference regarding the spices used for Glögg: Ingredients like cloves, cinnamon sticks, or star anise can be found in almost all mulled wines across Europe. But cardamom and fennel seeds are common only in Glögg but not in mulled wine from other regions. At least not when you look at traditional recipes. It has to be green cardamom - also known as true cardamom - not black or white.

When and how to serve?

Because, unlike other mulled wines, Glögg contains whole dried fruit and nuts, you serve it with a spoon. The little alcohol-infused bites are not just there for the fun of it. They are meant to be eaten.

Traditionally, Glögg gets served around Christmas in thick glass mugs with a handle. But as a matter of fact, you get it in all kinds of vessels during all winter months. The handle is a must, though, as it obviously is quite hot at the time of serving, and you don't want to burn your fingers.

History of Glögg

Neither Sweden nor any other Scandinavian Country is particularly famous for their wines. And this is no surprise, as neither landscape nor climate is suitable for cultivating grapevines so far up in the North. So how can spiced, hot wine be such an important tradition? And one that goes back to the 16th century to the time of King Gustav Vasa and beyond? 

According to Swedish historians -including Jan-Öjvind Swahn, a cultural history and professor emeritus of folkloristics- the absence of vineyards is, in fact, the reason for the importance of Glögg. Hundreds of years ago, transporting wine from South Europe all the way to Sweden resulted in a significant loss in quality. And to hide the quite substandard taste of their wine, it seemed only logical to add spices and herbs.

But this practice was no invention of the Swedes. Different sources date back the first occurrences of spiced wine as early as the 300s to ancient Greek. Later, in medieval Europe, it became common practice to heat spiced wine during the colder months.

The switch from hot wine to hot, spiced Schnapps - or Brandy- probably occurred during the 16th century. It was a popular variation among couriers and messengers who traveled through the snow on skis or horseback.

The first time that Glögg appeared in written form was allegedly around 1610, and it was then referred to as "Glödgat vin." I don't know exactly when the short form "Glögg" came up, but possibly it happened during the late 19th century. Because in the 1890s, Glögg evolved from a conventional hot drink to one of the most popular, typical Swedish Christmas traditions.

In the early 20th century, prohibition became a thing in the Nordic countries. That even was some ten years earlier than it got enforced in the United States. And it lasted longer, too. But when it finally was lifted, Glögg found its way across the borders and became popular in Finland, Norway, and also in Denmark.

Different types of Glögg in Sweden today

Wine Glögg: Traditional Glögg with a red wine base. Usually at around 10% ABV.

Starkvinsglögg: Glögg made from a wine with a higher ABV. The alcohol level usually is around 15%.

Glögg with added alcohol: Glögg with a wine base and a high-proof spirit like Vodka, Rum, Cognac, etc. The total ABV is around 20%.

Flavored Glögg: During the past years, more and more variations popped, from apple to chocolate, there's a flavor for everybody.

Brännvin Glögg: Glögg with a brandy-only base and an ABV that must not be named.

For several years now, all the wine types are also available with white wine instead of red.

Glögg in other Scandinavian countries

As we now established, spicing and heating up wine or spirits is more or less a logical consequence of having to deal with a low-quality product and cold weather. Therefore, it is hard to figure out who invented Glögg - mulled wine in general, for that matter.

But the word Glögg and the use of cardamom, fennel, and high-proof spirits like Aquavit or Brandy as a base most likely originates in Sweden. From there, it traveled to Finland, Norway, Denmark, and eventually to the Baltic countries. 

All of (extended) Scandinavia stuck to the Swedish traditions of preparing Glögg and also adopted the name: It's Gløgg in Norway and Denmark. Or Glögi in Finland and Estland. Icelanders go with the original spelling of Glögg. And for everybody else, it's perfectly alright to refer to it as Glogg and save yourself the trouble of searching for the correct linguistic symbols.

How to make it at home

Making Glögg is actually pretty easy and a lot of fun. Plus, your whole apartment will smell like Christmas for at least a day after you are done with preparations. I love the smell of Glögg and all the other mulled wine variations, so this is a bit of an extra for me. If you're not such a big fan, keep the kitchen door closed and the extractor fan on full blast.

Obviously, there is more than one way to make Glögg at home as there are already different options for the base. I prefer my Glögg with a mix of high-proof spirit and wine base, and that is also the version I decided to put here.

All you need besides the ingredients below is a jar, two large pots, a cooking spoon, and a strainer.

traditional Glögg served in cups


A traditional swedisch mulled wine variation.
Prep Time: 1 day
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: swedish
Keyword: wine
Servings: 4
Calories: 223kcal
Cost: $11 ($2.75 per serving)


  • 1 jar
  • 2 large pots
  • Cooking spoon
  • Strainer


  • 1 bottle Dry red wine (semi-dry will also be okay, but don't go for sweet)
  • 3 oz Aquavit or other high proof spirit (Aquavit or Schnapps for those who want to keep it traditional. But Vodka or Dark Rum (my favorite) are good options, too.)
  • 4 sticks Cinnamon
  • 10 pods Green cardamom
  • 15 Cloves
  • 5 slices Orange
  • Orange peel
  • 2 oz Fine sugar


  • Pour the Aquavit into a jar and add two cinnamon sticks, five cardamom pods, five cloves, and the orange peel. Let it sit for a day, or better for five days. If your Glögg party is on short notice, a few hours will do, too.
    3 oz Aquavit or other high proof spirit
  • Then, pour the Aquavit together with the wine and remaining spices in your pot. Add all remaining spices, the orange slices, and the sugar. Now warm up to approx. 180°F (80°C) and stir your mixture until the sugar fully dissolves. Keep it on low heat for about 10-15 minutes. Be careful not to boil the content as that would cause the alcohol to evaporate.
    3 oz Aquavit or other high proof spirit, 4 sticks Cinnamon, 10 pods Green cardamom, 15 Cloves, 5 slices Orange, 2 oz Fine sugar, Orange peel
  • Now, use your stainer and the second pot to remove all spices and fruit remains.
  • Serve in a glass cup with raisins and blanched slivered almonds.
  • By the way, the spices above also make a beautiful Glögg Syrup, a variation of our Christmas-Glühwein-syrup.


Serving: 8oz | Calories: 223kcal | Carbohydrates: 65g | Protein: 1.25g | Sodium: 25.5mg | Potassium: 795mg | Sugar: 65g | Calcium: 50.5mg | Iron: 3.15mg
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Bottom line

Wintertime is mulled-wine-time - there is no way around it. And Glögg is a fantastic variation of this Christmas classic. So get out a saucepan, spirit and wine, and the Christmas spices from the back of your rack and make some nice Glogg at home. In case you prefer your drinks cold you don't need to miss out on those beautiful winter spices. Give it a try and make our Christmas Rum Sour. Cheers

For making a classic Margarita, you'll need Tequila, orange liqueur (e.g., Cointreau), lime juice, and optionally a splash of syrup to sweeten the drink. The Tommy's Margarita follows a slightly different approach. 

By omitting the orange liqueur, the cocktail relies on three ingredients only: Tequila, lime, and syrup.

Of course, one could now argue that if you leave out the orange liqueur, it is no longer a true margarita. And indeed, a lot of people did question the status of the drink. 

Tommy's Margarita

Yet, as soon as the IBA recognized the Tommy's Margarita and classified it as a New Era Drink, most discussions calmed down. 

Read on and find out who invented this simplified version of the classic Mexican drink, and learn how to make this Tequila cocktail at home. 

Ingredients for making Tommy's variation

So Tommy's Margarita is made with agave syrup instead of regular simple syrup

To be precise, the original recipe only uses agave syrup made of the Blue Weber Agave. That's the same type of agave used for making Tequila. This seemingly minor twist enhances the taste of the agave even more.

Speaking of Blue Weber agave, Tequila is the key ingredient for every Margarita, also in a Tommy's Margarita.

So which type of Tequila works best in the drink? Usually, a silver Tequila, also called Plata, is used. Although, I prefer a slightly aged Tequila Reposado for making a Tommy's Margarita. 

Tommys Margarita Cocktail

Whichever type you choose, make sure it's 100% agave. Everything else gets referred to as a mixto, and that basically means you got a Tequila of inferior quality.

Lime juice is an essential component and cannot be left off. And despite there being many drinks where I prefer aged lime juice, a Margarita works best with the acidic taste of freshly squeezed lime juice. 

No bottled or pre-packed juice and also not the aged version. If you want to learn more about using lime juice in cocktails, have a look at our guide for lime juice.

History of Tommy's Margarita

Although the name suggests that the drink got invented by a "Tommy", it was, in fact, not. 

The inventor of the cocktail is Julio Bermejo. And Bermejo created the simplified version of a Margarita in the 1990s while working at his parent's restaurant named Tommy's. 

The restaurant is located in San Francisco and is famous for its enormous selection of agave spirits. So if you happen to be in the area and are into Tequila or Mezcal, this place is an absolute must.

An ordinary Margarita is sweetened with a combination of orange liqueur and simple syrup. But when Julio Bermejo discovered agave nectar, he was intrigued. 

Tommys Margarita with garnish

Agave nectar or syrup was not very common in those days. Still, Bermejo experimented a bit and came up with a Margarita recipe that solely works with the sweetness of agave nectar. No syrup, no orange liqueur.

At that time, Agave syrup was way more expensive than combining syrup and orange liqueur, but Bermejo loved the result. 

A Tommy's Margarita has a much more pronounced agave taste than the citrus-forward classic version. It is a beautiful twist, not only for Tequila and Mezcal aficionados.

Ultimately Tommy's version is a lighter and fresher version of the traditional Margarita recipe. Reason enough for barkeepers to put the cocktail on their menu.

Tommy's Margarita cocktail

Tommy's Margarita

A simplified version of the classic Margarita recipe using only three ingredients.
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: agave, Tequila
Servings: 1
Calories: 198kcal
Cost: $2.50


  • 2 oz Reposado Tequila
  • 1 oz Freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 0.5 oz Agave nectar


  • Salt rim a chilled glass and set it aside.
  • Add all ingredients into your cocktail shaker with plenty of ice.
    2 oz Reposado Tequila, 1 oz Freshly squeezed lime juice, 0.5 oz Agave nectar
  • Shake until the drink is well chilled and strain over ice into your cocktail glass.


Serving: 3.75oz | Calories: 198kcal | Carbohydrates: 16.2g | Protein: 0.15g | Fat: 0.05g | Sodium: 0.65mg | Potassium: 39mg | Sugar: 15.7g | Vitamin C: 13.5mg | Calcium: 4.8mg | Iron: 0.05mg
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When looking at today's recipe for a French 75, a lot has changed since the original drink got invented. During World War I, Harry MacElhone created the cocktail, and it was so boozy that people compared it to the fast-firing field gun the French used in battle, a 75mm caliber.

But by looking at the current recipe, it's hard to believe that the cocktail once had such a kick. The reason is, back in the early days of the drink, the list of ingredients was very different. But I'm getting a little ahead of myself. So read on to find out more about the French 75's history.

History of the French 75 cocktail

As mentioned before, Harry MacElhone created the early version of the French 75 during World War I. Most likely around 1915. He composed the cocktail in his bar in Paris called Harry's New York Bar. And surely, he must have been in quite a state when he felt like creating a concoction that was so strong that it made people think of the French fast-firing field gun.

In his original formula, MacElhone used Calvados, Gin, Grenadine, and Absinthe. This recipe was first published in 1922 when he released his renowned book, Harry's ABC of Mixing Cocktails. Later that year, the cocktail recipe also was published in another book by Robert Vermiere. In his version, Vermiere gives credit to Harry MacElhone for inventing the drink but adds lime juice to better balance the flavors. 

A few years later, in 1927, a Mr. Judge Jr. made some more significant changes in the recipe and published it in his book Here's How. And it was he who came up with the list of ingredients that have prevailed until today - Gin, Champagne, sugar, and lemon juice. The fact that the French 75 also got published in The Savoy Cocktail Book, one of the most famous cocktail books in history, helped popularize the drink, too.

Appearances in a couple of movies also familiarized people with this cocktail and made it known to the broad masses. References in Casablanca and A Man Betrayed quite possibly had the highest impact.

Ingredients of the 75 cocktail

The modern recipe is less complex than the original one, but still, you want to make the cocktail the best it can be. Therefore, freshly squeezed lemon juice is an absolute must. Otherwise, your whole drink will fall flat.

When it comes to the sweet component, some prefer a rich simple syrup - a ratio of 2:1, sugar to water. But probably, you will not taste the difference to ordinary simple syrup as the recipe asks only for a tiny bit of sugar.

Then there is the Champagne, quite a delicate ingredient. For the French 75, it is best to go with a Brut Champagne. Moet will work fine, but my personal recommendation is Louis Roederer Brut Champagne. In this price range, I don't think you can find anything with a similar value for money, Moet included.

Finally, let's talk about Gin. The cocktail is a true classic, and so I would recommend using a standard Dry Gin. But of course, if you want to experiment a bit with the flavors, you can also try a London Dry. Or you opt for another type of Gin altogether and test how it affects the final result.

French 75 cocktail in Champagne flutes with garnish

French 75

A sparkling cocktail made of Gin, Champagne, lemon juice, and simple syrup.
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: French
Keyword: Champagne, Gin
Servings: 1
Calories: 201kcal
Cost: $5.60


  • 1.5 oz Dry Gin
  • 2.5 oz Louis Roederer Brut Premier
  • 0.5 oz Freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 bsp Simple syrup
  • 1 Lemon peel twist (for garnish)


  • Add Gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup to your cocktail shaker and shake using plenty of ice.
    1.5 oz Dry Gin, 0.5 oz Freshly squeezed lemon juice, 2 bsp Simple syrup
  • Once the drink is well-chilled, strain into a Champagne flute and top with Champagne.
  • Garnish with lemon peel.
    1 Lemon peel twist


Serving: 5oz | Calories: 201kcal | Carbohydrates: 50.94g | Protein: 0.2g | Fat: 0.133g | Sodium: 7.46mg | Potassium: 338.96mg | Sugar: 48.36g | Vitamin C: 19.5mg | Calcium: 55.41mg | Iron: 1.83mg
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Inspired by a true cocktail classic, the Paper Plane Cocktail is a relatively modern cocktail recipe. It is a whiskey-friendly twist on the Last Word - and the name is just as avant-garde. 

The beautiful red and pink-hued Paper Plane has a unique and well-balanced taste: bittersweet with intense notes of Bourbon and a pinch of zestiness.

The drink's unusual name goes back to a summer hit from M.I.A. with the same title. Paper Plan Cocktail inventor Sam Ross once stated that this song "was blasting on repeat the whole summer we worked on the drink."

Ingredients to make the best Paper Plane

According to the inventor, Sam Ross, you should opt for Bourbon with an ABV slightly above average when making a Paper Plane Cocktail. Anything in the range of 43% - 46% vol. (or 86 - 92 proof) will work fine. 

The reason for using such a strong base is simple: more taste and body for the resulting drink.

These days, the two standard Amaros used in the drink are mostly Amaro Nonino Quintessentia and Aperol. But in the original version, served in The Violet Hour, Ross used Campari

However, to pull back on the bitterness, he went with Aperol when he brought the drink to New York. 

Paper Plane Cocktail

Probably, it had been this minor change in the recipe that kicked off the success of the cocktail. 

Aperol and Amaro Nonino bring a perfectly balanced sweetening element to the drink that carries just the right level of bitterness. Instead of Amaro Nonino, you could use one of these Amaro Nonino substitutes.

For the sour part, best use freshly squeezed lemon juice to get that tangy notes in your drink. Better refrain from using store-bought juice because the result will be far from how good it could be.

To round off the drink, you can add a small plane made of paper to the cocktail glass. This iconic little garnish occurs in cocktail bars everywhere and adds a playful touch to this delicious drink.

History of the Paper Plane cocktail

Thinking about the Paper Plane, you might get the idea that this drink has a long history. You also will have a hard time finding a bartender who doesn't know this drink, and you get the cocktail in almost all cocktail bars in the US. 

So, surely it has to have been around for at least decades, right? Well, one decade, yes, but that's it. 

Sam Ross, a bar owner and bartender from New York City, invented this pretty and delightful drink in 2007. Not quite so long ago, I'd say.

Sam Ross is usually mixing drinks in New York City. However, he created the Paper Plane cocktail recipe specifically for a bar in Chicago. 

Paper Plane Cocktail

He was part of the crew that mixed drinks at the opening of The Violet Hour bar in the Windy City. And the cocktail somehow became the star among all drinks served. 

Garnished with a tiny plane made of paper, the whole concept of the Paper Plane is just perfectly thought-through.

The success during the opening led Ross to take his creation back with him to New York City. And after serving it for a while at the Milk & Honey bar, the Paper Plane quickly became a crowd favorite there, too.

A splendid riff on the Last Word

As mentioned above, the Paper Plane Cocktail is a riff on the classic cocktail recipe for the Last Word. Yet, at first sight, both drinks don't look too similar. 

The components for making the Last Word are Gin, lime, Maraschino Liqueur, and Green Chartreuse. As opposed to the Paper Plane recipe, where you find Bourbon, fresh lemon juice, Italian Amaro, and Aperol on the ingredient list.

Last word cocktail made with Green Chartreuse

Instead, it is the general template of the drinks that is similar: 

Both usually contain equal parts of each ingredient: a mix of spirit, citrus juice, and two additional liqueurs or Amaros to sweeten the drink. 

It's a perfect example of how a riff on a cocktail can successfully evolve into something completely different.

Paper Plane cocktail

Paper Plane

A riff on classic cocktail, the Paper Plane cocktail is a bittersweet, equal-parts cocktail based on Bourbon.
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: bourbon
Servings: 1
Calories: 156kcal
Cost: $2.90


  • 0.75 oz Bourbon
  • 0.75 oz Amaro Nonnino Quintessentia
  • 0.75 oz Aperol
  • 0.75 oz Lemon juice
  • 1 1 lemon twist


  • Add all ingredients into your cocktail shaker with plenty of ice.
    0.75 oz Bourbon, 0.75 oz Amaro Nonnino Quintessentia, 0.75 oz Lemon juice, 0.75 oz Aperol
  • Shake vigorously for a short time. Just until the drink is well-chilled but not watered down too much.
  • Strain the cocktail using your cocktail strainer and serve in a coupe glass. Optionally garnish it with a small plane made of paper.
    Additionally, you can also garnish it with a lemon twist (optional).


Serving: 3.25oz | Calories: 156kcal | Carbohydrates: 66g | Protein: 0.45g | Fat: 0.15g | Sodium: 0.75mg | Potassium: 77.25mg | Sugar: 34.13g | Vitamin C: 29.25mg | Calcium: 4.5mg | Iron: 0.23mg
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Ernest Hemingway is a household name. And that does not only concern his talent in writing novels. His name also comes up regularly when talking about liquor and cocktails. 

Hemingway rarely turned down a drink. So it's not surprising that while living in Havana, Ernest Hemingway had quite a few Daiquiris. 

And one day, when he visited one of his favorite bars, a special version of the drink was born - the Hemingway Daiquiri.

Hemingway Special Cocktail

Besides Rum, lime, and sugar syrup, the unusual recipe features grapefruit juice and Maraschino liqueur. That, at first, may seem strange. But knowing Hemingway and his passion for bone dry drinks, the formula certainly does make sense.

Find out more about this intriguing story and why you should adjust the original recipe to enjoy Hemingway's creation best.

History of the Hemingway Special Daiquiri

During his time in Havana, Ernest Hemingway made quite some friends in the capital of Cuba. He also had a couple of favorite bars where he would enjoy himself.

One of them is Bodeguita del Medio, a well-known bar in central Havana, still open these days. And the other isn't any less famous - El Floridita.

The drinks roots lie at El Floridita

The bar, sometimes also called La Floridita, plays a vital part in cocktail history. If you ever have the chance to visit this gem, do not hesitate. 

floridita bar havana cuba

Of course, as you can imagine, the bar has become a pretty touristy place in the past decades. However, nonetheless, it is still full of history. And it was there that the Hemingway Daiquiri got created for the very first time.

How was the Hemingway Daiquiri invented?

The story goes that Hemingway was wandering around in search of a toilet. 

When he entered El Floridita to relieve himself, he couldn't turn down the opportunity to have a drink. He tried their popular frozen Daiquiri and replied:

"That's good, but I prefer it with no sugar and double the Rum."

Ernest Hemingway

And so, the original version of the Hemingway Daiquiri was born. 

The head barkeeper Constantino Ribalaigua Vert mixed it for him. It was literally a Daiquiri without sugar but double the amount of Rum. Or let me translate that into "a lot of Rum with a splash of lime juice". 

Hemingway certainly loved his drinks boozy. But you might wonder, why didn't he want sugar in them? 

The answer is quite simple: Hemingway, like his father, suffered from Haemochromatosis. A disease that ultimately can lead to diabetes.

A modern version of the Hemingway Daiquiri

Sometime later, a new head barkeeper of the El Floridita, Antonia Meilan, changed the recipe by introducing Maraschino liqueur and grapefruit juice to the drink. 

That created a way better-balanced drink compared to what Hemingway ordered in the first place. Today, most drinkers also prefer to include a bit of simple syrup to get a balance right.

Hemingway Special - Made with syrup or not?

I don't really recommend trying the original version of the drink, using only Rum and lime juice. That's only for legends like Hemingway 😉

Even the evolved recipe, which uses Maraschino liqueur and grapefruit juice, is not for everybody unless you prefer dry drinks.

But palates are different, and if you want to give this traditional recipe a try, here it is - received directly from El Floridita:


3 oz White Cuban Rum
1 oz Grapefruit juice
0.5 oz Lime juice
1 bsp Maraschino liqueur

For making the traditional version, all ingredients are mixed with crushed ice.

If you are like me and many others, this version will still be a bit too dry. Therefore, by adding just half an ounce of simple syrup, you can balance the drink and receive a way better flavor profile. 

So if you ask me, go with the more modern interpretation of a Papa Doble.

Why the Hemingway Special Daiquiri is also called Papa Doble

I already introduced quite a few different names for the drink: Hemingway Special, Hemingway Daiquiri, Papa Doble, and sometimes it also gets called "El Floridita #4". 

While most of the above are self-explanatory, Papa Doble is a bit of a mystery. But there's a good story about how this name was born.

Papa Doble Cocktail

I mentioned earlier that Hemingway was a welcome guest that made quite some friends in Havana. 

At one point, Cubans lovingly started calling him Papa, and his cocktail initially got the name "Daiquiri like Papa". A Daiquiri made just the way Ernest liked it. 

Over the years, the name changed to Papa Doble, referring to the double amount of Rum in the drink. -An adjustment that makes much sense, to be honest.

Another few years later, after Antonia Meilan adjusted the recipe and added Maraschino & grapefruit, the drink was renamed again. It was now known as Hemingway Special or Hemingway Daiquiri. 

I don't know about you, but I prefer Papa Doble. This name just carries the whole story so nicely. And is a more elegant reference compared to Hemingway Daiquiri.

Hemingway Daiquiri alias Papa Doble

Hemingway Daiquiri

A special version of the classic Daiquiri recipe inspired by the legendary writer Ernest Hemingway.
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: cuban
Keyword: grapefruit, maraschino liqueur, rum
Servings: 1
Calories: 305kcal
Cost: $4


  • 3 oz Havana Club Rum 3 years
  • 1 oz Pink grapefruit juice
  • 1 oz Lime juice
  • 0.75 oz Maraschino liqueur
  • 0.5 oz Simple syrup


  • Add all ingredients to your cocktail shaker with plenty of ice.
    3 oz Havana Club Rum 3 years, 1 oz Pink grapefruit juice, 1 oz Lime juice, 0.75 oz Maraschino liqueur, 0.5 oz Simple syrup
  • Shake until the drink is well-chilled and strain into a chilled Martini glass.
  • Garnish the cocktail with a Maraschino cherry and a lime wheel.


Serving: 6.5oz | Calories: 305kcal | Carbohydrates: 23.05g | Protein: 0.3g | Fat: 0.25g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 4mg | Potassium: 120mg | Sugar: 22.25g | Vitamin C: 23.7mg | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 0.18mg
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The Cosmopolitan or "Cosmo" became world-famous in the 90s. Back then, the Cosmopolitan would most likely have been the only cocktail I would have been able to name. 

It was the go-to drink of cult series "Sex and the City". It was the favorite drink of Carrie Bradshaw, the main character, and soon became one of the most popular drinks outside the TV show. 

You could not get around it - regardless of having been a fan of the series or not. No bartending shift was complete without preparing dozens of Cosmos for thirsty customers. 

Cosmopolitan SATC

During its peak in popularity, you could find countless riffs on the classic Cosmopolitan recipe. These days, the hype is gone, but the drink is far from forgotten.

Being a Martini-type drink, the Cosmo usually comes in a Martini glass. But who invented the cocktail, and what kind of ingredients do you need to make it at home?

History of the Cosmopolitan cocktail

The Cosmo got first created sometime in the mid to late 80s. By whom is not 100% certain. However, most sources credit one of three different bartenders as possible inventors of this 90s classic:

Who invented the Cosmopolitan?

Number one of said three bartenders is Dale DeGroff. During his tenure at NYC bar "Rainbow room," he's said to have created the very first Cosmopolitan. 

Others credit NYC bartender Toby Cecchini with the invention of the cocktail. And if not as the inventor, Cecchini for sure was one of the accelerators of the cocktail's success.

Cosmopolitan Cocktail

And finally, according to legendary barkeeper Gary Regan, the initial creator was someone else entirely. 

Gary Regan was a true master of mixology and had his own in the San Francisco Chronicle. He also got featured in countless magazines and books. He claims that the original recipe for the Cosmopolitan comes from Miami. 

According to him, bartender Cheryl Cook made the first version of the cocktail in 1985 in Miami South Beach, served in a Martini glass.

DeGroff's statement

This story got further support in the early 2000s when Dale DeGroff explained that he did definitely not invent the Cosmopolitan. But he admitted that he sees himself as one of the key actors:

What I did do was popularize a definitive recipe that became widely accepted as the standard.

Dale DeGroff, "The Craft of the Cocktail" (2002)

And whichever story is true, the cocktail had everything a drink needed in this era. 

Vodka cocktails were everywhere, and, also, the use of cranberry juice in cocktails has never been as popular as it was back in the 90s. -Luckily for those who have outgrown the cranberry flavors, the Cosmo only asks for a splash of the bright red fruit juice.

Ingredients to make a great Cosmo

As mentioned before, Toby Cecchini played a crucial role in making the cocktail popular. 

His recipe used lemon-flavored Vodka instead of a regular neutral one. The other ingredients for his take on the Cosmo are cranberry juice, freshly squeezed lime juice, and Cointreau.

Cosmo with limes and Cointreau

If you want to use the same ingredients as Cecchini did, here they are:

He opted for Absolut's Citron Vodka and cranberry juice from Ocean Spray - the company that had a hand in the game for the Sea Breeze Cocktail.

But other quality lemon-flavored Vodkas work perfectly, too. I, for instance, like to use Ketel One Citroen Vodka.

As for the Triple Sec, I also prefer Cointreau. It's my go-to option for Triple Sec in cocktails, and you will find it in many recipes like the Between the Sheets Cocktail, the Margarita, the Long Island, and many more.

If you want more inspiration, take a look at our list of our favorite Cointreau Cocktails. 

Cosmopolitan Cocktail


A Martini-style cocktail based on lemon-flavored Vodka that became world-famous due to Carry Bradshaw and her friends from "Sex and the City".
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cointreau, cranberries, lime juice, vodka
Servings: 1
Calories: 185kcal
Cost: $2.60


  • 1 oz Ketel One Citroen Vodka
  • 1 oz Cointreau
  • 1.5 oz Cranberry juice
  • 0.5 oz Lime juice


  • Add all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice.
    1 oz Ketel One Citroen Vodka, 1 oz Cointreau, 1.5 oz Cranberry juice, 0.5 oz Lime juice
  • Shake until the drink is well-chilled and strain into a chilled Martini glass.
  • Optionally garnish with a lime wheel or peel.


Serving: 4.25oz | Calories: 185kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 0.2g | Fat: 0.02g | Sodium: 1.5mg | Potassium: 58mg | Sugar: 14.85g | Vitamin C: 9.95mg | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 0.25mg
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Mexican cocktails are sensational summer drinks. Of course, the classic Margarita is the most famous cocktail export. But that doesn't mean some others aren't equally as good. 

And one of these drinks that can absolutely keep up with the Margarita is the Paloma cocktail. At least if you can handle a bit of fruity bitterness.

This refreshing and palatable cooler has some serious grapefruit notes. -A flavor that beautifully complements clear, crisp Tequila and lime juice. The resulting drink is another delightful way to enjoy Tequila without having to go for the ordinary shot.

Read on to find out when the Paloma got invented and how to make this brilliant Tequila cocktail at home.

Ingredients for making a Paloma cocktail

The Paloma is made of Tequila, grapefruit soda, fresh grapefruit, agave syrup, and lime juice. And with a bit of attention to detail in regards to the ingredients, you get a truly sensational drink.

Best Tequila for the Paloma

If you're familiar with the Agave spirit, you know that there different types of Tequila. The range goes from unaged silver Tequilas to Reposados to Añejo and Extra Anejo Tequila. 

Traditionally a Paloma is made with silver Tequila, also called Blanco Tequila. And to me, that continues to be the best choice for a proper Paloma. 

The reason for me to stick to unaged Tequila is that it has to stand up against so many tart and sour ingredients. In contrast, aged Tequilas, like Anejo and Extra Anejo, have a softer and more refined flavor profile. 

So, in a Paloma cocktail, the more complex flavors of an aged spirit will get lost. -And that would also be a waste of money. However, the bright and crips silver Tequila is a perfect match for grapefruit and lime. 

Another nice option would be a Reposado, a shortly-aged Tequila still quite boozy in taste. Or, if you like a smoky twist on the Paloma, try it with Mezcal

Paloma cocktail

Grapefruit for the Paloma cocktail

Grapefruit is the second crucial element in a Paloma as it asks for two ingredients with that flavor. One is the grapefruit juice, and the other is sparkling grapefruit soda. 

Make sure to use freshly squeezed grapefruit juice to get beautiful and complex grapefruit notes into the cocktail. Bottled juices from the supermarket will never live up to the taste of fresh, natural citrus fruits. But that's exactly what you want, here.

The pink grapefruit soda helps to balance out all ingredients. My favorite one to use in a Paloma is the Fever Tree sparkling grapefruit soda. The ratio of bitterness and sweetness is just perfect, and it delivers on the grapefruit flavor.

Lime juice

In the world of mixology, fresh products are crucial. So, I have to keep repeating myself: If you want the perfect Paloma cocktail, use freshly squeezed juice from beautiful ripe limes. 

I recommend using fresh lime juice for the Paloma instead of aged lime juice. That means you should squeeze your lime only shortly before mixing your drink.

If you are confused about the terms aged and fresh - both are made from fresh limes. The difference is the time of juicing your fruits. 

In case you want to know more about aged lime juice, here's a guide to lime juice in cocktails.

Agave Syrup

Further, adding a bit of Agave syrup will balance the drink. The touch of sweetness is necessary to counter the bitter elements and the subtle alcoholic bite from the Tequila. Also, it emphasizes the Agave notes from the Tequila in the Paloma. 

Salt for the rim

The typical combination of Tequila and salt also works a treat with the Paloma cocktail. But, of course, it is optional. I do recommend it, though. I love a good salt rim with my favorite Mexican cocktails.

Sea salt or Fleur de Sel will make a sublime salt rim. The taste is not harsh as you know it from regular table salt. It's more refined and not overpowering.


History of the Paloma cocktail

Little do we know about the history of one of the most famous cocktails in Mexico, the Paloma. But at least the majority of sources agree on the time of the first creation of this cocktail. 

They all suggest that, most likely, the birth of the drink is in the 1950s. Some sources are more specific and claim the owner of the bar "La Capilla" Don Javier Delgado Corona invented the drink. 

La Capilla literally translates to "the chapel" and is a popular bar located in Tequila, Mexico.

Also, there have been many different ways to make this drink: From a two-ingredient approach using only Tequila and grapefruit soda ("Simple Paloma") to more complex recipes using a variety of fresh ingredients and sometimes even a pinch of salt.

Other Grapefruit Cocktails

If you have some spare grapefruit and want to try some other drinks made with the pink, bittersweet fruit, you could try a Spicy Grapefruit Margarita. It's kind of a cross between Margarita and Paloma. However, with some extra chili and a bit of coconut.

A fantastic grapefruit drink based on Rum instead of Tequila is the Hemingway Daiquiri. It is a homage to the famous writer and a brilliant twist on the original.

Finally, if you like your drinks a little less boozy, try the Sea Breeze. It's a refreshing mix of Vodka, grapefruit, and cranberry.

Paloma cocktail glasses


A cocktail made of fresh grapefruit mixed with lime juice, Blanco Tequila, and Agave syrup.
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Tequila
Servings: 1
Calories: 164kcal
Cost: $2


  • 1.75 oz Patrón Silver Tequila
  • 1 oz Grapefruit juice
  • 1.5 oz Grapefruit soda
  • 0.5 oz Lime juice
  • 0.25 oz Agave syrup


  • Add Tequila, grapefruit juice, lime juice, and agave syrup into your cocktail shaker with plenty of ice.
    1.75 oz Patrón Silver Tequila, 1 oz Grapefruit juice, 0.5 oz Lime juice, 0.25 oz Agave syrup
  • Shake until the drink is well chilled and strain into an ice-filled Highball glass.
  • Top up the drink with grapefruit soda water and gently stir the cocktail.
    1.5 oz Grapefruit soda


Serving: 5oz | Calories: 164kcal | Carbohydrates: 48.5g | Protein: 0.83g | Fat: 0.875g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 3.03mg | Potassium: 200.5mg | Sugar: 41.75g | Vitamin C: 52.95mg | Calcium: 23.25mg | Iron: 0.18mg
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The Last Word became a cult drink in the Seattle area in the mid to late 2000s. The reason for this was bartender Murray Stenson, who added the cocktail to the bar menu of Zig Zag café in Seattle Downtown. 

The drink became an instant success. And within no time, the cocktail got served everywhere around Seattle and Portland. From there, it then made its way across the globe and into mixology books.

But Stenson did not invent the drink. In fact, the Last Word is a lot older but somehow became forgotten. Read on to learn more about the drinks' history and how to make it the right way.

Ingredients of the Last Word

The Last Word cocktail is a classic drink with four ingredients classified as one of the Unforgettables by the IBA.

The IBA calls for equal parts of all four ingredients. However, I prefer the more traditional version and put a little more emphasis on the Gin part. 

In doing so, the choice of Gin also becomes more important than in an equal parts approach. Therefore, I will address the question of the best Gin for the Last Word in a second.

Last Word

The other three components are lime juice, Maraschino liqueur, and Green Chartreuse:

Maraschino liqueur is a high-proof, clear-colored liqueur flavored with Marasca cherries. It has a distinctly dry and slightly bitter taste of cherries and almonds. 

Green Chartreuse is an overproof French herbal liqueur based on wine. It has a naturally achieved green color and is made with 130 herbs, plants, flowers, and spices.

And only one quick note regarding the lime juice: Make it freshly squeezed to get the perfect Last Word cocktail.

The best Gin for making the Last Word

The taste of the Last Word highly depends on the choice of Gin. In the drinks early days, a homemade Bathtub Gin usually went in. -And at the Detroit Athletic Club, they still use a homemade re-creation of the original Bathtub Gin.

But don't worry, you don't have to mix up your own Gin to make this drink work. 

Of the many types of Gin, I recommend opting for a classic Dry or London Dry Gin. Beefeater, for example. 

Last Word

Still, it does not hurt to experiment a bit. Palates are different, and by trying different Gins in the Last Word, you will realize just how delightful the cocktail actually is. 

It always feels well-balanced and always nicely reflects the base ingredient.

History of the Last Word cocktail

In 2004, when Murray Stenson looked for a new cocktail for the menu of Zig Zag café, he checked Ted Saucier's cocktail book Bottoms Up

Instantly intrigued by that one recipe, Stenson decided to put the cocktail on the menu of the bar.

Origin of the Last Word cocktail

Saucier's book was published more than 50 years before this day, back in 1951. And although that is the first time the drink got mentioned in a cocktail book, the recipe is even older. 

A lot older, to be precise. The Last Word is a prohibition-era cocktail. Most likely, one Mr. Frank Fogarty invented it at the Detroit Athletic Club around 1920.

Last Word

And Fogarty really did a brilliant job because he developed the cocktail during prohibition when spirits were hard to get hold of. 

The original recipe called for the so-called Bathtub Gin. A homemade type of Gin, commonly produced by infusing Vodka with various herbs and botanicals. And when made in larger batches, the Vodka-herb-mix was often installed in a bathtub - hence the name.

Equal measures or more Gin?

The beauty of this drink is that, apart from the Gin, all parts are equally measured. That makes preparing this drink super easy. 

In some modern recipes, you can find an all-equal measure approach. However, in my opinion, those versions are slightly underpowered in terms of the Gin.

By pronouncing the Gin part, the drink becomes this beautiful and perfectly balanced cocktail. Audrey Saunders, the famous bartender who invented the Old Cuban Cocktail, describes it as follows:

"I love the sharp, pungent drinks, and this has a good bite. It's a great palate cleanser. And it's perfectly balanced: A little sour, a little sweet, a little pungent."

Variations of the classic recipe

Creating riffs on classic recipes is common practice amongst bartenders. You can, for instance, try the Paper Plane cocktail, an established riff following the template of the Last Word but asking for very different ingredients.

Paper Plane Cocktail

And replacing the Last Word's base spirit with something else is another great way to do create a riff. 

Just like with the Negroni, you can create delicious twists by simply replacing Gin with something very different. I suggest trying a Mezcal-based version or one based on Rum or Rhum Agricole.

With Mezcal, you get a smoky, earthy version of the cocktail. When experimenting with Rhum Agricole, you will create a way more grassy type of drink instead.

Last word cocktail garnished with Maraschino cherry

Last Word

A delicious and perfectly balanced cocktail based on Gin.
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Gin
Servings: 1
Calories: 225kcal
Cost: $5


  • 1.5 oz Dry Gin
  • 0.75 oz Green Chartreuse
  • 0.75 oz Maraschino liqueur
  • 0.75 oz Lime juice


  • Add all ingredients into your cocktail shaker with plenty of ice and shake until well-chilled.
    1.5 oz Dry Gin, 0.75 oz Green Chartreuse, 0.75 oz Maraschino liqueur, 0.75 oz Lime juice
  • Strain the cocktail into a chilled coupe glass (without ice).
  • You can garnish the drink with a Maraschino cherry (optional).


Serving: 4oz | Calories: 225kcal | Carbohydrates: 11.75g | Protein: 0.1g | Fat: 0.02g | Sodium: 1.5mg | Potassium: 29.75mg | Sugar: 9.03g | Vitamin C: 8.5mg | Calcium: 3.5mg | Iron: 0.03mg
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The Dark 'n' Stormy is a Rum-based cocktail closely related to another famous classic - The Moscow Mule. The classic Moscow Mule is typically served in a copper mug and consists of Vodka, ginger beer, and freshly squeezed lime juice. 

If you are a fan of the Moscow Mule, the Dark 'n' Stormy is a great option to try a cocktail with similar ingredients but a very different taste. That is because the dark, unaged Rum brings such an intense and distinct aroma to the cocktail.

History of the Dark 'n' Stormy Cocktail

Even though the drink's history is not documented all the way to its beginnings, most likely, it got invented by sailors - quite similar to other famous cocktails like the Gin and Tonic or the Navy Grog

Despite the lack of proper documentation, Bermuda is accepted as the official home of the cocktail. And that certainly makes sense. 

Bermuda is not only famous for Rum but also for producing ginger beer. So it does stand to reason that someone from the island in the North Atlantic Ocean first created the drink.

The Dark and Stormy Cocktail

But the main reason why Bermuda is the official home is due to the Rum company Gosling's. And that history does not go back quite so long.

Gosling's in Bermuda has been producing Rum since the very early 1800s. So, it's a company with a long tradition. However, only in 1991 did Gosling's Rum successfully register a trademark for the Dark n Stormy. 

Since then, a cocktail that goes over the counter under the name Dark 'n' Stormy must officially be made with Gosling's Black Seal Rum. And Gosling's is serious about that. They enforced their rights, suing multiple other brands for promoting the drink with another Rum as the base.

So, for the past 30 odd years, there's literally only one possible solution to legally make a Dark 'n' Stormy. 

The ingredients for making a Dark 'n' Stormy

The Dark 'n' Stormy is a beautiful mix of Rum, lime, and ginger beer. Mostly, for the acidic part, it gets served with lime juice.

In Bermuda, however, which is the home of the drink, you will usually get it without juice. There, it's normal to serve just a mix of ginger beer and Rum together with a lime wedge. That way, you can squeeze lime juice into your drink as you like it.

To lift the original recipe, I like to add a splash of simple syrup and a couple of dashes of Angostura bitters for extra complexity.

Which Rum for the Dark 'n' Stormy Cocktail

Again, a "correct" Dark 'n' Stormy has to contain Gosling's Black Seal Rum. Mixing your drinks at home, you don't need to worry about that much, though.

Nonetheless, to be fair, Black Seal Rum is an excellent fit for the drink. It carries notes of vanilla, caramel, and plenty of spice. Plus, it mixes perfectly with quality ginger beer.

Ginger Beer

There are quite some brands out there producing superb ginger beer. My favorites for the Dark 'n' Stormy are Bundaberg Ginger BeerFever Tree Ginger Beer, and also the one from Thomas Henry. 

Dark n Stormy Cocktail

Regardless of which one you prefer, make sure you use beer and not ginger ale. Ginger Ale is only flavored with ginger, whereas actual ginger beer is brewed and fermented with ginger. Therefore, the beer version is a lot more ginger-forward.

Also, don't get confused by the term beer. Ginger beer is - at least usually - non-alcoholic. It is named beer due to the production process and the fact that, when it was invented, it used to contain alcohol. 

Lime juice

Now back to the Dark 'n' Stormy: A splash of freshly squeezed lime juice helps to marry the flavors of the main components of the drink. Don't cut the corner with pre-bottled lime juice, as you need the taste of natural limes to make the drink perfect.

The extras: bitters and syrup

For the classic recipe, the first three ingredients are everything you need to create the cocktail. 

But by adding a bit of rich simple syrup and a few drops of Angostura bitters, you can make the drink even more complex and tasty.

Dark 'n' Stormy cocktail

Dark 'n' Stormy

A truly delicious rum-based cocktail made with Gosling's Black Seal Rum, ginger beer, and lime juice.
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Caribbean
Keyword: ginger beer, rum
Servings: 1
Calories: 194kcal
Cost: $2.80



  • 1.75 oz Gosling's Black Seal Rum
  • 0.75 oz Lime juice
  • 0.25 oz Rich simple syrup
  • 3-4 oz Bundaberg Ginger Beer
  • 2-3 dashes Angostura bitters


  • Fill up a long and tall glass with ice and add Rum, lime juice, and rich simple syrup.
    1.75 oz Gosling's Black Seal Rum, 0.75 oz Lime juice, 0.25 oz Rich simple syrup
  • Gently stir the mix and top up the drink with Ginger Beer.
    3-4 oz Bundaberg Ginger Beer
  • Finally, add 2-3 dashes of Angostura bitters to the cocktail and garnish with a wedge of lime (optional)
    2-3 dashes Angostura bitters


Serving: 6.5oz | Calories: 194kcal | Carbohydrates: 22.35g | Protein: 0.4g | Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 14.75mg | Potassium: 104.25mg | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin C: 17.3mg | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 0.21mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
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