Stiff Horse's neck or Horse's neck with a kick

Horse's Neck (with a kick)

By Timo Torner / Last updated on March 14, 2022 

First published on November 1, 2021 

The Horse's Neck traditionally was a non-alcoholic refreshment. -A beverage made of ice-cold Ginger Ale, bitters, and the emblematic lemon peel. But there's a version for the grown-ups, too.

The Horse's Neck with a kick is a drink that evolved from the classic non-alcoholic Horse's Neck drink. It's usually garnished with a thin, long, and spiraled lemon peel that' also responsible for the title of the cocktail. The end of the speel protrudes beyond the glass and resembles the look of a horse head. Therefore the unique name of the drink.

It's a typical representative of the Highballs, a specific type of cocktail commonly made with only two ingredients. Read on to find out more about this simple yet delightful drink.

History of the Horse's Neck cocktail

In the late 1800s, the Horse's Neck was merely a non-alcoholic refreshment. The beverage consisted of ginger ale, cocktail bitters, lots of ice, and a long lemon peel. It took until 1910 that the drink evolved into the so-called Horse's Neck with a kick, also called a Stiff Horse's Neck, spiked with Brandy.

The traditional non-alcoholic version was not immediately off the map. In the state of New York, the refreshing soft drink got served until the 1960s. After that, the original version became more and more forgotten. And eventually, the drink was popular only in its alcoholic form.

These days, the IBA lists the drink under the "Contemporary" category. Their recipe uses Cognac - a specific type of Brandy. However, the base spirit is subject to change. Often, you will find recipes that suggest making the Horse's Neck with Bourbon, sometimes also Rye Whiskey. A Canadian variation named the Rye & Ginger even requires Canadian Whiskey.

Ingredients to make this Highball

As said already, the base of the drink is either Cognac or Bourbon. Personally, I prefer the Cognac-based version, but Bourbon also makes for a delicious Highball. Either way, you should opt for a quality spirit as there's no way to hide in this highball.

Our filler, the Ginger ale, should be ice cold. That way, the drink will water down a lot slower, giving you more time to enjoy it. Ideally, you serve the Horse's Neck in a long and tall Highball glass using a collins ice stick. Collins ice sticks are long and skinny ice sticks specifically designed for use in Collins and Highball glasses.

To make the drink perfect, you should add two dashes of Angostura bitters. And naturally, the mandatory thin lemon peel must not be missing. When done right, the result is a sweet, spicy, and refreshing cocktail - best enjoyed on a derby day, of course.

Stiff Horse's neck or Horse's neck with a kick

Horse's Neck

A Highball made of Cognac/Bourbon and ginger ale. Famous for its long lemon peel garnish.
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: bourbon, Cognac
Servings: 1
Calories: 134kcal
Cost: $3.20



  • 1.5 oz Cognac (alternatively Bourbon)
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 3 oz Fever Tree Ginger Ale
  • Long and thin lemon peel


  • Add Cognac into a chilled Highball glass with a collins ice stick.
    1.5 oz Cognac
  • Top the drink with ginger ale and gently stir the drink.
    3 oz Fever Tree Ginger Ale
  • Add two dashes of Angostura bitters and the lemon peel to garnish the drink.
    2 dashes Angostura bitters, Long and thin lemon peel


Serving: 4.75oz | Calories: 134kcal | Carbohydrates: 28.68g | Sodium: 21mg | Potassium: 3mg | Sugar: 28.68g | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 0.9mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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