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Cable Car

The Cable Car is a must-try cocktail for rum lovers. This modern classic was created by Tony Abou-Ganim, a well-known bartender and mixologist, at the Starlight Room in San Francisco in 1996. The cocktail was named after the city’s iconic cable car system and quickly became a popular choice among patrons.

Cable Car Cocktail garnished with a cinnamon-sugared rim

The Cable Car is a delicious rum sour that combines spiced rum, orange curaçao, lemon juice, and simple syrup. The cinnamon and sugar rim adds a touch of sweetness and a hint of spice to the drink, making it a perfect choice for those who enjoy a balanced and flavorful cocktail.


The Cable Car cocktail is a signature cocktail created by Tony Abou-Ganim in 1996 at the Starlight Room in the Sir Francis Drake Hotel in San Francisco. The cocktail was named after the iconic Nob Hill cable cars that pass by the bar, and it quickly became a popular drink on the menu.

Tony Abou-Ganim, also known as The Modern Mixologist, was inspired to create the Cable Car cocktail as a modern twist on the classic Sidecar cocktail. The Sidecar cocktail was a popular drink during the early 20th century, but it had fallen out of favor by the 1990s. Abou-Ganim sought to revive the classic cocktail by adding a few modern twists to the recipe.

The Cable Car cocktail quickly became a hit, and it was soon added to menus at bars and restaurants across the country. Today, it remains a popular drink among cocktail enthusiasts and is often featured on menus at high-end bars and restaurants.

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How to Make It

Cable Car Cocktail garnished with a cinnamon-sugared rim

Cable Car

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Making a Cable Car cocktail is relatively easy, and you don't need many ingredients to make it.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to make a perfect Cable Car cocktail:


  • 1 1/2 oz spiced rum (Kraken, Cruzan, Bacardi, or Captain Morgan Spiced Rum)
  • 3/4 oz orange curaçao (Marie Brizard Orange Curaçao, Cointreau, or Grand Marnier)
  • 1 1/2 oz fresh lemon sour (or 1 oz fresh lemon juice and 1/2 oz simple syrup)
  • Cinnamon sugar for rimming the glass
  • Orange peel spiral or orange twist for garnish


  1. Rim a chilled cocktail glass with cinnamon sugar by rubbing the rim of the glass with a lemon wedge and then dipping it into a mixture of cinnamon and sugar.
  2. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, pour the spiced rum, orange curaçao, and fresh lemon sour.
  3. Shake well until the shaker is frosty and cold.
  4. Double-strain the mixture into the chilled glass.
  5. Garnish with an orange peel spiral or orange twist.

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There are many variations of the Cable Car cocktail, and each one brings its own unique twist to the classic recipe. Here are a few variations that you can try:

Captain Morgan Cable Car

This variation uses Captain Morgan spiced rum instead of regular spiced rum. It adds a touch of sweetness to the cocktail, making it perfect for those who prefer a sweeter drink.

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Marie Brizard Cable Car

For those who love the taste of orange liqueur, the Marie Brizard Cable Car is a great option. This variation uses Marie Brizard orange curaçao instead of regular curaçao. It has a richer, more complex flavor that adds depth to the cocktail.

Nob Hill Cable Car

This variation is named after the famous Nob Hill neighborhood in San Francisco, where the original Cable Car cocktail was created. It uses a blend of spiced rum and brandy, along with lemon juice and curaçao, to create a complex, flavorful cocktail.

Cable Car
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Paul Kushner

Written by Paul Kushner

Founder and CEO of MyBartender. Graduated from Penn State University. He always had a deep interest in the restaurant and bar industry. His restaurant experience began in 1997 at the age of 14 as a bus boy. By the time he turned 17 he was serving tables, and by 19 he was bartending/bar managing 6-7 nights a week.

In 2012, after a decade and a half of learning all facets of the industry, Paul opened his first restaurant/bar. In 2015, a second location followed, the latter being featured on The Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

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