Japanese Cocktail



  • 2 oz. Cognac
  • ½ oz. Orgeat*
  • 4 dashes Boker’s (or 2 dashes Angostura) Bitters

  • Add all ingredients, with ice, to a mixing glass. Stir to chill and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a thick lemon twist.

  • *See our Orgeat recipe/video or use commercially available Orgeat.

This classic dates all the way back to Jerry Thomas’ 1862 bartender’s guide: How to Mix Drinks, which was the first assemblage of cocktail recipes published in the US. The drinks in this book were arranged in categories and the Japanese Cocktail was one of ten “cocktails” listed. Interestingly, the Japanese Cocktail has nothing “Japanese” in it. No rice wine. No Japanese whisky. It was most likely was named after the well-publicized Japanese mission to the United States in 1860. The Japanese delegation visited New York, where Jerry Thomas had his bar, and it was probably some interaction here, lost to history, for which this cocktail was named. This cocktail is nice, subtle, and delicate, yet boasts rich complexity from the cognac and a deep sweetness from the orgeat. We love this cocktail in the morning and some posit it as a cure for a hangover. The original (1862) first-edition of Jerry Thomas’ book calls for “Bogart’s Bitters”. This was a misunderstanding which led to a misprint that was corrected (to “Boker’s Bitters”) in later editions. Enjoy this classic and be sure to check out our Modern Japanese Cocktail which does utilize Japanese whisky! Cheers!


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