Dead Bastard Cocktail Recipe

By Timo Torner / Last updated on May 7, 2023

The Dead Bastard Cocktail is a boozy variation of the Suffering Bastard originating in Egypt, mixing gin, brandy, bourbon, and rum.
Dead Bastard cocktail with limes and ginger on table

Dead Bastard, Dying Bastard, and Suffering Bastard - It doesn't take a genius to realize that these three recipes are related. The three drinks are not only connected but were even invented by the same bartender. They are to be understood as increments in reversed order as above.

Where the original recipe uses only gin and brandy as base spirits, the Dying Bastard Cocktail adds bourbon and white rum to the mix.

Quick facts Dead Bastard Cocktail

  • Method: shaken
  • Flavor profile: slightly boozy, spicy ginger
  • How to serve it: over ice cubes
  • Glassware: Highball glass, Collins glass, Rocks glass
  • Alcohol content: ~ 14% ABV, 20 grams per serving

If you like a refreshing, complex, gingery drink, you should give this one a try.

Dead Bastard cocktail with limes and ginger on table

Dead Bastard Recipe

A potent, spicy mix of four spirits.
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: African
Keyword: bourbon, Cognac, Gin, rum
Servings: 1
Cost: $3.80


  • 1 Jigger
  • 1 Shaker
  • 1 Strainer


  • 0.5 oz Cognac
  • 0.5 oz Gin - Dry or London Dry
  • 0.5 oz Rum - White
  • 0.5 oz Bourbon
  • 0.5 oz Fresh lime juice
  • 2 dashes of Aromatic bitters - (e.g. Angostura bitters)
  • 3 oz Ginger beer


  • Add all ingredients except ginger beer into a cocktail shaker with ice.
    0.5 oz Cognac, 0.5 oz Gin, 0.5 oz Rum, 0.5 oz Bourbon, 0.5 oz Fresh lime juice, 2 dashes of Aromatic bitters
  • Shake for 10 - 15 seconds and then strain into a Collins or Highball glass.
  • Top with chilled ginger beer and garnish with a wedge of lime.
    3 oz Ginger beer
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Components & recommendations

The recipe for the Dead Bastard Cocktail is relatively long, but the ingredients are not overly fancy and easy to get. So, here's what you'll need to make it, including our recommendations:

  • Gin - The gin used in this recipe should either be a Dry or London Dry Gin with a classic, juniper-forward flavor profile.
  • Brandy - The second liquor that's part of the drink is Brandy. In most cases, cognac, a subtype of Brandy, is used; -A VS or affordable VSOP Cognac is a great choice.
  • Bourbon - There's had been a discussion if bourbon or brandy was part of the original Suffering Bastard, which was mostly settled in favor of brandy. Conveniently, the Dead Bastard uses both spirits in their recipe. - A decent mid-shelf bourbon does the trick.
  • Light Rum - The fourth spirit that builds the base is rum; -white rum, to be precise, to get some crisp freshness. We like to use Havana Club because it's great value for money.
  • Fresh Lime Juice - Freshly squeezed lime juice brings much-needed acidity and balances the drink. Don't use bottled juice.
  • Ginger beer - Adds a kick of spice and refreshing carbonation to the cocktail. You can never go wrong with Bundaberg, but if you have another favorite brand, that's fine too. Only make sure to use ginger beer and not ginger ale. The latter will make the drink too sweet.
  • Bitters - Here, we recommend the classic aromatic Angostura bitters, although Scialom used something else. According to Scialom's daughter Colette, he bought homemade bitters from an apothecary across the street.

Tipps for Preparation of the Dead Bastard Cocktail

A Dead Bastard is usually served in a tall, slim cocktail glass like a Collins or Highball glass or you can get creative and opt for a rocks glass instead.

The most important part here is to add gin, brandy, bourbon, rum, lime, and aromatic bitters into your cocktail shaker but not the ginger beer. You have to shake with a lot of ice for about 10 to 15 seconds, which would cause your ginger beer to lose all its bubbles.

So only add that after you strained the content of your shaker into your glass filled with fresh, ideally clear, ice cubes. Since you don't cool down the ginger beer during the preparation of your Dead Bastard, make sure it is properly chilled - ice cold is best.

What to avoid

The base consists of four different spirits. To avoid headaches, make sure you don't use low-quality alcohol. We also advise against going with spirits with fancy flavor profiles. Keep it classic instead.

Further, avoid pouring the ginger beer at room temperature. It will turn your cocktail into a lukewarm mix, and the ice inside your glass will melt very quickly, leaving you with a watery cocktail.

Bottled lime juice is also a no-go. It lacks the fresh, zesty zing of freshly squeezed citrus juice you need in this drink to balance the spirits and the sweet, spicy ginger beer.


We mentioned the popular variations before. The Dead Bastard is a riff on the Dying Bastard, which, in turn, is a variation of the Suffering Bastard recipe. 

The Dying Bastard is a little less boozy and lacks the slightly sweet and crisp flavors from the rum. The Suffering Bastard recipe also omits the corn-based bourbon part. It is also the original that inspired the other two.

The story behind the Dead Bastard Drink

The history of the base recipe and its riffs was long unclear until Jeff "Beachbum" Berry, legendary Tiki bartending icon, set out to trace the origin of the cocktail. [1

Since then, it has become clear that the Dead Bastard was an invention by Egyptian bartender Joe Scialom who made an early version of his drink in the early 1940s. His intention was to create a hangover cure for British soldiers, which first brought forth the Suffering Bastard, and the Dying and the Dead Bastard Cocktail followed.

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