Food & Culture
Mix It Up. Try old-school cocktails this holiday season
These 10 drinks may not be on the menu at your local bar, but all pack a punch as well as some colorful history
By Rob Smith December 23, 2022
Editor’s note: A version of this story previously appeared in “Seattle” magazine.
Impress your guests this holiday season with these 10 concoctions 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 a 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 flute, 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 American 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 a large cocktail glass.
Milk Punch: Emanating from 17th-century Britain, this drink still holds up and even appears on some bar menus.
Combine in a shaker cracked ice, 2 jiggers of your choice liquor and 1 cup milk. Shake, strain and serve with grated 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.
XYZ: 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 a glass.
King Alphonse: Recipes now call for Kahlua coffee liqueur.
Fill liqueur glass 3/4 full with dark Crème de Cacao. Float 1/3 crème on top.
White Lion: The White Lion dates to at least the 1800s and perhaps earlier. According to the website The Zozzled Cocktail, rum in the 1800s was consumed mainly by the poor.
1 jigger rum, juice of 1/2 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 of grapes from Peru.
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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