Find your Perfect Throwback Cocktail

These 10 drinks may not be top of mind, but all pack a punch as well as some colorful history

By Rob Smith


December 8, 2020

This article originally appeared in the November/December 2020 issue of Seattle Magazine.

Many are saying once the pandemic fades, we’ll experience a Roaring ’20s decade similar to 100 years ago. So, with some downtime to prepare, why not start perfecting your cocktail game now? These 10 concoctions come from a vintage bar guide from Glenn Shaw Creations — supposedly from the 1950s — found in an antique shop in Olympia a few years back. Keep in mind that these drinks may have evolved some since this bar guide’s introduction.

Alexander’s Sister
This cocktail dates back a century and, as its name implies, is related to the classic Brandy Alexander. This one, though, uses gin — and more of it — instead of brandy.

1/2 dry gin, 1/4 crème de menthe, 1/4 cream. Shake well and strain into glass.

Alfonso Cocktail
This one, too, dates back nearly a century and is named after Alfonso XIII, who, as King of Spain, fled the country in 1931 after supporting a failed dictator. Not exactly a proud legacy, but hey, it netted him an alcoholic beverage.

1 lump sugar in a champagne glass, dash with bitters, add ice cube, 1/2 jigger Dubonnet, fill with champagne and add lemon twist.

Betsy Ross

We all learned about her — the person, not the cocktail — in grade school. As the now debunked story goes, George Washington asked Betsy Ross to create the first Ameri-can flag. But just because the story isn’t true doesn’t mean the drink isn’t, uh, strong.

1 jigger brandy, 1 jigger Port, 2 dashes Angostura bitters, 1 dash Curaçao. Stir well with ice and strain into large cocktail glass.

Milk Punch

Emanating from 17th century Britain, this drink still holds up and even appears on some bar menus.

Combine in shaker cracked ice, 2 jiggers of your choice liquor and 1 cup milk. Shake, strain and serve with nutmeg.

Millionaire No. 2

Created during Prohibition, this drink is perhaps best consumed on Be a Millionaire Day, May 18.

1/3 Jamaica rum, apricot brandy and sloe gin, 1 dash grenadine, juice of 1 lime. Shake with ice and strain into a glass.


Also known as a rum sidecar, it doesn’t get much simpler, or tastier, than this.

1/2 dark rum, 1/4 Cointreau, 1/4 lemon juice. Shake with crushed ice and strain into glass.

King Alphonse

Recipes now call for Kahlua coffee liqueur.

Fill liqueur glass 3/4 full with dark crème de cacao. Gently float 1/3 heavy cream over a spoon on top.

White Lion

The White Lion dates to at least the 1800s and perhaps earlier. According to website The Zozzled Cocktail, rum in the 1800s was consumed mainly by the poor.

1 jigger rum, juice of half a lemon, 1 teaspoon powdered sugar, 3 dashes each Angostura bitters and raspberry syrup. Shake with ice and strain.

Pisco Punch

Invented in San Francisco in the late 19th century. According to Wikipedia, Pisco is a 16th-century brandy made from grapes of Peru and Chile.

Place 1 piece ice and 1 teaspoon each pineapple and lemon juice into a wine glass. Add 2 jiggers of brandy and a small pineapple cube, and fill with cold water.

Dubonnet Fizz

Dubonnet, a sweet, red French wine, is a bubbly treat.

2 jiggers Dubonnet, 1 teaspoon cherry brandy, 1/2 glass of orange juice and 1/4 lemon juice. Shake with ice and strain. Fill with soda.

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