Here’s Jerry Thomas’ Japanese Cocktail recipe


Japanese Cocktail recipe

• 60ml H by Hine VSOP Cognac
• 15ml orgeat
• 2 dashes of Angostura bitters
• Lemon twist for garnish

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish wtih a lemon twist.

With all the hoohah surrounding Japanese whisky these days, you might reasonably expect a drink called the Japanese Cocktail to contain a splash or two of it. Well, this recipe — adapted from Jerry Thomas’ 1862 book, How to Mix Drinks — doesn’t include a drop. Nor does it include sake, shochu, umeshu or anything remotely ‘Japanese’ in origin.

The working theory developed by David Wondrich is that, when Thomas was working in Manhattan in 1860, the first ever delegation of Japanese came to town and stayed not far from his bar — the thinking being that the enterprising Thomas came up with something for these folks during their visit.


Whatever its origins and despite the nonsensical nomenclature, the Japanese Cocktail is a cracker of a drink, and one of a kind.

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