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16 Must-Try 1940s Cocktails

Step back in time to the glamorous 1940s, an era known for its stylish cocktails and lively social scene. 1940s cocktails exude a sense of sophistication and elegance, with a touch of old-world charm that still captivates today. These classic concoctions are perfect for anyone who appreciates a taste of history mixed with their spirits.

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Whether you’re a cocktail enthusiast or simply enjoy trying something new, the recipes from this era are sure to delight your taste buds and transport you to a bygone time of cocktail culture. So, if you’re looking to add a dash of vintage flair to your next gathering or simply want to savor the flavors of the past, 1940s cocktails might just be the perfect choice for you.

Ramos Gin Fizz

Frothy Ramos Gin Fizz

The Ramos Gin Fizz is a velvety and stimulating cocktail that tantalizes the taste buds with its unique combination of flavors. With the harmonious blend of gin, heavy cream, simple syrup, fresh lime juice, fresh lemon juice, fresh egg white, orange flower water, and a hint of effervescence from club soda, this drink delivers a delightful balance of citrusy brightness, creamy smoothness, and a touch of floral essence. Served chilled and ideally in a tall glass, it is best enjoyed slowly, allowing the frothy texture to unfold on the palate. The Ramos Gin Fizz is a beloved classic, cherished for its rich history, complex flavors, and ability to transport the drinker to a bygone era of cocktail elegance.


manhattan cocktail

The Manhattan cocktail, a timeless classic, combines the robust character of bourbon or rye with the luscious sweetness of sweet vermouth, enhanced by the aromatic depth of orange bitters and the complex flavors of Angostura bitters. Served over ice and garnished with a Luxardo cherry, each ingredient contributes to the harmonious symphony of flavors, creating a drink that is both bold and balanced. Indulge in the allure of Manhattan, let its layers of taste envelop your senses, and raise a glass to the artistry of mixology. Cheers to a captivating cocktail experience!


hurricane cocktail with ingredients in the background

Originating from New Orleans, the Hurricane cocktail is a tropical delight that captivates with its vibrant flavors. Crafted with aged Jamaican rum, tangy lemon juice, and the exotic allure of passion fruit juice, this concoction embodies the essence of the Caribbean. The rum’s richness harmonizes with the bright citrus notes, while the passion fruit adds a luscious sweetness. The Hurricane gained popularity in the 1940s and became an iconic drink associated with the famous Pat O’Brien’s bar in New Orleans. Indulge in the allure of the Hurricane and savor a taste of the city’s vibrant cocktail culture. Cheers to a true New Orleans experience!

Blue Moon Cocktail

The Blue Moon Cocktail

The Blue Moon Cocktail is a delightful drink crafted with Rutte Dry Gin, Creme de Violette liqueur, zesty lemon juice, sugar syrup, and a touch of pasteurized egg white. While its ingredients may sound complex, serving this cocktail is surprisingly simple, making it accessible to both novice and seasoned mixologists alike. The velvety texture and vibrant blue hue make it an eye-catching choice, perfect for special occasions or to impress guests. To fully enjoy this drink, it is recommended to savor it chilled in a coupe glass, allowing the flavors to harmonize while appreciating its visually striking appearance. Indulge in the elegant allure of the Blue Moon Cocktail and embark on a journey of exquisite taste. 

Pink Squirrel

Pink Squirrel Cocktail

Introducing the Pink Squirrel Cocktail, a delightful indulgence that harmoniously combines the flavors of white crème de cacao, crème de Noyaux, and velvety heavy cream. The white crème de cacao brings a subtle sweetness reminiscent of smooth milk chocolate, while the crème de Noyaux adds a nutty and slightly fruity essence. When blended with the lusciousness of heavy cream and garnished with grated nutmeg, this cocktail becomes a creamy, dreamy treat. The Pink Squirrel is a classic retro cocktail that gained popularity in the mid-20th century. Its pink hue and rich flavors make it an eye-catching and palate-pleasing choice for those seeking a touch of nostalgia with a modern twist. 

Moscow Mule

moscow mule

Introducing the Moscow Mule cocktail, a delightful elixir that combines premium vodka, effervescent ginger beer, and a splash of zesty lime juice. The vodka brings a smooth and clean taste, while the ginger beer adds a spicy kick, creating a harmonious balance. The freshly squeezed lime juice adds a vibrant citrus tang, elevating the flavors to a new level of freshness. Perfectly suited for warm summer days or lively social gatherings, the Moscow Mule is best enjoyed in a copper mug filled with ice, garnished with a slice of lime or sprig of mint. Sip, savor, and let the invigorating flavors of the Moscow Mule transport you to a place of cool and refreshing delight. 

Kir Royale

kir royale cocktail

The Kir Royale cocktail is a delightful fusion of crème de cassis, champagne, and fresh raspberries. The crème de cassis brings a rich and sweet blackcurrant flavor, perfectly complemented by the fizz of champagne and the vibrant burst of fresh raspberries. This elegant drink is commonly served in a flute glass, exuding sophistication and charm. With each sip, you’ll experience a delightful combination of fruity sweetness from the crème de cassis, the crispness of champagne, and the subtle tang of fresh raspberries, creating a harmonious sensation.

French 75

french 75 cocktail on a bar

The French 75 cocktail is a delightful blend of champagne, gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup, distinguishing itself with a sparkling twist. Unlike many other cocktails, this drink combines the fizz of champagne with the botanical notes of gin and the tangy brightness of lemon juice, creating a harmonious symphony of flavors. Served chilled, the French 75 tantalizes the palate with its invigorating effervescence and balanced combination of citrus and botanical elements. Indulge in the elegance of the French 75 cocktail, a perfect choice for celebratory toasts or when you desire a sophisticated and invigorating drink.

Mary Pickford

Fresh cocktail glass on glass table in night club restaurant. Alcohol cocktail drink, close-up. Retro alcoholic beverage

The Mary Pickford cocktail combines the tropical allure of white rum with the vibrant sweetness of pineapple juice, harmoniously enhanced by the subtle richness of grenadine and the unique flavor of maraschino liqueur. This drink offers a delightful balance of fruity notes with a hint of floral undertones, creating a stimulating and indulgent experience. Best enjoyed slowly, the Mary Pickford cocktail is a wonderful choice for those seeking a taste of the tropics and a touch of elegance. Its vibrant flavors and visually appealing garnish of a maraschino cherry make it a captivating choice for cocktail enthusiasts.

Ward Eight

ward eight decorated with citrus lemon in martini cocktails glass

The Ward Eight cocktail boasts a harmonious blend of robust rye whiskey, tangy lemon juice, citrusy orange juice, and a touch of sweetness from grenadine. The rye whiskey forms the sturdy foundation, while the lemon and orange juices provide a bright and refreshing citrus profile. The addition of grenadine lends a subtle sweetness, balancing the flavors perfectly. Garnished with speared cherries, this cocktail invites you to savor its enticing combination of flavors. Step into the world of Ward Eight, raise your glass, and embark on a journey of delightful taste and timeless elegance. 


Sidecar cocktail

The Sidecar Cocktail is a timeless classic, originating in the early 20th century. This exquisite drink combines the rich depth of cognac with the vibrant citrus notes of triple sec or Cointreau and the tangy brightness of lemon juice. The result is a harmonious fusion of flavors, with the cognac providing a smooth and luxurious base while the citrus elements add a stimulating zest. Garnished with a lemon or orange twist, the Sidecar has gained popularity over the years for its elegant and sophisticated profile, making it a beloved choice among cocktail enthusiasts. Sip, savor, and indulge in the allure of the Sidecar, allowing its timeless charm to transport you to a bygone era of cocktail craftsmanship. 

Gin Rickey

gin rickey cocktail with lime

The Gin Rickey cocktail is a straightforward and easy-to-serve drink, making it accessible to all. With its minimal ingredients of gin, lime juice, and seltzer, it offers a crisp and invigorating flavor profile. To enjoy this drink, simply add ice to a glass, pour in the gin and lime juice, top it off with seltzer, give it a gentle stir, and garnish with a lime wheel. Whether you’re a gin aficionado or someone looking for a delightful beverage, the Gin Rickey is a versatile choice suitable for any occasion.

Between the Sheets

Boozy Refreshing Cognac Between the Sheets Cocktail with Rum and Lemon

Introducing the Between the Sheets cocktail, a tantalizing blend of cognac, light rum, triple sec, and lemon juice. The cognac brings a rich and smooth depth, while the light rum adds a subtle sweetness. The triple sec contributes a vibrant citrus note, harmonizing perfectly with the tangy brightness of lemon juice. Served in a chilled glass, garnished with an orange or lemon peel twist, the Between the Sheets cocktail is an elegant choice for those seeking a sophisticated and satisfying drink. Its alluring combination of spirits and citrus has captivated cocktail enthusiasts for decades, earning it a well-deserved place among timeless drinks. 


Frozen Boozy Mint Grasshopper Cocktail with Creme de Cacao

Indulge in the Grasshopper cocktail, a delightful concoction that combines the coolness of crème de menthe, the luscious sweetness of white crème de cacao, and the creamy richness of heavy cream. Each sip is a harmonious blend of minty freshness and decadent chocolate undertones, creating a truly indulgent experience for the palate. This classic cocktail gained popularity in the mid-20th century and became synonymous with after-dinner indulgence. Raise your glass, garnished with chocolate sauce and sprinkles, and let the Grasshopper whisk you away to a world of creamy delight.

Pimm’s Cup

pimms cup

The Pimm’s Cup cocktail combines the flavors of Pimm’s, lemon juice, and ginger beer, enhanced by the citrus notes of orange and lemon wheels. The choice of fruit adds a delightful burst of sweetness, while a sprig of mint garnish provides a hint of herbal freshness. This invigorating drink is commonly served in a highball glass filled with ice, allowing the flavors to meld and the bubbles of the ginger beer to effervesce. When you take a sip, you’ll experience a harmonious blend of zesty citrus, botanical undertones, and a subtle kick of ginger, creating a stimulating and uplifting sensation.


South Side Cocktail

The Southside cocktail combines your favorite gin with the delightful sweetness of simple syrup, the tangy brightness of lemon juice, and the invigorating aroma of fresh mint leaves. Its unique blend of flavors sets it apart from other drinks, offering a refreshing and balanced taste experience. Served cold, the Southside cocktail provides a crisp and cooling sensation. Perfect for any occasion, this drink offers a tantalizing combination of flavors that will transport you to a world of vibrant refreshment. Cheers to the art of mixology!

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A classic Manhattan cocktail served in a chilled martini glass, reflecting its sophistication and elegance. The Manhattan should have a deep, reddish-brown hue, a signature trait from the mix of whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters. A maraschino cherry should gracefully garnish the drink, adding a touch of color and sweetness. The setting should be refined and luxurious, with the glass placed on a polished, dark wood bar top. The background should be softly blurred, ensuring the focus is on the cocktail. Warm, ambient lighting should bathe the drink in a soft glow, highlighting the rich colors and the transparent, smooth texture of the Manhattan.

16 1940s Cocktail Recipes

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
4.7 from 3 votes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: 1940s cocktails
Servings: 1
Author: Paul Kushner
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16 Must-Try 1940s Cocktails
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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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A classic Gimlet cocktail in a vintage coupe glass, the drink is a crystal-clear mix of gin and lime juice, garnished with a twist of lime. The cocktail is set against a dark, elegant bar backdrop with subdued lighting, highlighting the simplicity and elegance of the drink. Soft light reflects through the drink, casting a delicate glow on the surface. The background is a tasteful blur of bar accessories, creating an atmosphere of sophistication and timelessness.

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