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The Lion’s Tail

The Lion’s Tail is a must-try for bourbon lovers looking for a new cocktail. This classic American cocktail combines bourbon, allspice dram, lime juice, simple syrup, and bitters for a spicy yet refreshing drink. The Lion’s Tail has a fascinating history, with roots in both the British café culture and American tiki bars.

Glass of orange cocktail decorated with orange at bar counter background.

The cocktail’s unique combination of flavors made it a hit among bartenders, and it quickly became a staple in tiki bars across America. The Lion’s Tail is a twist on classic whiskey sour and daiquiri recipes, with the addition of allspice dram adding a warm, spicy note to the drink.

History

The Lion’s Tail cocktail is a classic cocktail that has been around since the early 20th century. Its origins are somewhat unclear, but it is believed to have been created by an American bartender during Prohibition. The drink was first published in the Café Royal Cocktail Book in 1937, which was a collection of recipes from the famous London bar.

Boozy Refreshing Allspice Bourbon Lions Tail Cocktail in a Coupe

During Prohibition, many Americans turned to cocktails as a way to escape the dry laws that prohibited the sale and consumption of alcohol. The Lion’s Tail was one of many cocktails that were created during this time, and it quickly became popular among both American and British drinkers.

The Café Royal Cocktail Book was a popular resource for bartenders during the 1930s, and it helped to spread the popularity of the Lion’s Tail cocktail. The book was published in London, but many of the recipes were created by American bartenders who had fled to Europe during Prohibition.

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How to Make It

Glass of orange cocktail decorated with orange at bar counter background.

The Lions Tail

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 3 minutes

Making a Lion's Tail cocktail is easy and requires only a few ingredients. Here's how to do it:

Ingredients

  • 2 oz bourbon (drinker’s choice)
  • 1/3 oz Allspice dram liqueur
  • 1/2 oz Fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 1/6 oz simple syrup
  • 1 dash Angostura aromatic bitters
  • Garnish with a lime twist

Instructions

  1. Gather your ingredients: bourbon, allspice dram, lime juice (freshly squeezed), simple syrup, and Angostura bitters.
  2. Measure 2 ounces of bourbon, 1/2 ounce of allspice dram, 1/2 ounce of lime juice, 1 teaspoon of simple syrup, and 2 dashes of Angostura bitters into a cocktail shaker.
  3. Fill the shaker with ice and shake for 10-12 seconds until well-chilled.
  4. Strain the mixture into a coupe or cocktail glass.
  5. Garnish your cocktail with an orange twist or other garnish of your choice.

Notes

If you prefer a sweeter cocktail, you can substitute the simple syrup with gomme syrup. You can also experiment with different types of bitters to find the perfect flavor for your taste.

When making a Lion's Tail cocktail, it's important to use fresh lime juice for the best taste. You can also use aromatic bitters instead of Angostura bitters to add a different flavor profile to your cocktail.

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Variations

There are many variations of the Lion’s Tail cocktail that you can try to suit your taste preferences. Here are a few popular ones:

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Tiki-style Lion’s Tail

If you’re a fan of tiki drinks, you can make a tiki-style Lion’s Tail by swapping bourbon for rum. You can also add a splash of pineapple juice and garnish with a pineapple wedge and a cherry for a tropical twist.

Blackberry Lion’s Tail

For a fruity twist, muddle a few blackberries in the bottom of your shaker before adding the other ingredients. This will give your Lion’s Tail a sweet and tangy flavor that pairs well with the allspice liqueur.

Minty Lion’s Tail

For a refreshing twist, add a few sprigs of fresh mint to your shaker before adding the other ingredients. This will give your Lion’s Tail a bright, herbaceous flavor that pairs well with the lemon juice and allspice liqueur.

Daiquiri-style Lion’s Tail

If you’re a fan of daiquiris, you can make a daiquiri-style Lion’s Tail by swapping bourbon for rum and lemon juice for lime juice. This will give your Lion’s Tail a lighter, more refreshing flavor that’s perfect for sipping on a hot summer day.

Whiskey Sour-style Lion’s Tail

For a classic twist, you can make a Whiskey Sour-style Lion’s Tail by swapping allspice liqueur for simple syrup and adding an egg white to your shaker. This will give your Lion’s Tail a frothy texture and a sweet, tangy flavor that’s sure to please.

Jamaican Lion’s Tail

For a spicy twist, add a few dashes of Jamaican jerk bitters to your shaker before adding the other ingredients. This will give your Lion’s Tail a fiery kick that pairs well with the allspice liqueur and lemon juice.

Please drink responsibly, be fully accountable with your alcohol consumption, and show others respect.

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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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