Mike Enright shows us how to make the Crusta


Genever Crusta

45ml Genever
15ml Curacao
30ml lemon juice
5ml sugar syrup
4 dashes Boker’s Bitters

Moisten the rim of a coupe with lemon, and rim with sugar. Line coupe with the peel of a lemon. Add all ingredients to a shaker, shake and strain.

Story by Sam Bygrave
Photography by Christopher Pearce
Presented by Mike Enright, The Barber Shop, Sydney

The Crusta is thought to be one of the first — if not the first — cocktails to incorporate juice into the mix, according to Salvatore Calabrese.


The cocktail we’re referring to here is that traditional definition of a cocktail: spirit plus sugar, water, and bitters. So first you had the Cocktail, which you’d know now as the Old Fashioned. You had the Fancy style of cocktail, and then you got to the Crusta.

What is a Crusta? The Crusta is often credited to Joeseph Santini, a compounder of drinks in New Orleans who ran the bar at New Orleans’ City Exchange, according to David Wondrich. I’ll let Jerry Thomas explain the drink:

“[A] Crusta is made the same as a fancy cocktail, with a little lemon juice and a small lump of ice added.”

OK great. So what’s in a Fancy Cocktail again? Well, it’s a tricked up Cocktail is what. We’ve highlighted Thomas’ recipe for the Gin Cocktail before: it’s gin, bitters, sugar, and curacao, with a piece of lemon peel. The Fancy Gin Cocktail has the drinks strained into a fancy wine glass, and the “edge of the glass moistened with lemon.”


Very fancy. So you can see the familial linkages between the Cocktail and the Crusta — as did William Terrington when writing his Cooling Cups & Dainty Drinks in 1869. He wrote:

“Cocktails are compounds very much used by “early birds” to fortify the inner man, and by those who like their consolations hot and strong. “Cocktail” is not so ancient an institution as Juleps, &c, but, with its next of kin, “Crusta” promises to maintain its ground.”

Pictured here is a Genever Crusta, they way they make it at Sydney gin bar, The Barber Shop. Using genever in the Crusta is a great way to enjoy the drink, too: genever’s richer flavour profile stands up well to the lemon and sugar; it’s a bright tasting way to drink the stuff.

It’ll fortify your inner man, too, just as Terrington suggested.

Notes on ingredients:
Genever is often made from a distillate comprised of corn, rye, malted barley and distilled to a much lower ABV%, resulting in more congeners. In this way it is more akin to moonshine or new make whiskey than gin.

The genever used here, Bols Genever, is a jonge genever style, suited to mixing.

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