Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Millionaire Cocktail

Millionaire Cocktail

This Prohibition-era classic tastes like a million bucks

Ah, the 1920s. Flappers. Sheiks. Jazz. Prohibition. Bootleggers. A roaring stock market.

Despite Prohibition – or maybe because of it – during the 1920s drinking gained a social acceptance it never had before. And the stock market was creating more millionaires (at least on paper) than history had ever known.

So The Millionaire Cocktail was born. Enjoy it before The Crash comes.



Millionaire Cocktail

Recipe: The Millionaire Cocktail

There are several versions of The Millionaire. Among the most popular is the one we’re featuring today (made with rum, sloe gin, apricot brandy, and lime juice). There’s also a bourbon-based cocktail of the same name – more about that in the Notes.

We think the bourbon-based drink is better suited to cool weather (which we are NOT experiencing in our part of the world right now). So we’re going with the rum version, which makes a better summer drink. Besides, if you bought sloe gin to make The Eclipse Cocktail, you’re probably looking for another drink to use it in.

The 1920s recipe for The Millionaire – as first recorded in Harry Craddock’s The Savoy Cocktail Book – called for essentially equal parts of rum, sloe gin, apricot brandy, and lime juice, with a dash of grenadine added. The resulting drink is unbalanced (and very sweet). Ted Haigh refined the recipe in his Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails. We’ve adapted his recipe slightly.

This recipe takes about 5 minutes to make, and serves one.

Ingredients
  • ¾ ounce dark rum (but see Notes)
  • ¾ ounce amber rum
  • ¾ ounce sloe gin
  • ¾ ounce apricot brandy
  • ¾ to 1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice (start with ¾ ounce)
  • garnish of lime wheel or wedge (optional)
Procedure
  1. Place all the ingredients (except garnish) in a cocktail shaker half-filled with ice. Shake until the shaker is frosty and the contents are well-chilled (20 seconds or so).
  2. Strain into a cocktail glass, preferably one that’s been chilled. Add garnish, if you wish, and serve.
Millionaire Cocktail

Notes
  • Haigh’s recipe calls for 1½ ounces of dark rum (and no amber rum). We think that’s a bit too heavy, so we use ¾ ounce each of dark and amber rum.
  • BTW, Haigh recommends using Myers’s dark rum in this drink – and that’s an excellent suggestion.
  • We think ¾ ounce of lime juice is right for this drink. But if you prefer a tarter drink, increase it to a full ounce.
  • Which sloe gin to use? Not one that costs $10 to $15 a bottle – the flavor is dire. We would recommend two brands of sloe gin: The Bitter Truth and Plymouth. We haven’t tried the Hayman’s brand, but it has a good reputation.  
  • The best apricot brandy we’ve found is Marie Brizard’s Apry. It’s not cheap, nor is it easy to find. Much less expensive (and easier to find in the US) is Hiram Walker apricot-flavored brandy. It’s not nearly as good as Apry, but it’ll work in this drink.
  • Our usual disclaimer: We’re noncommercial, and don’t get compensated for naming brands. We recommend what we like and buy with our own money.
  • As mentioned above, there’s also a bourbon version of The Millionaire Cocktail. To make it: Add 2 ounces of bourbon (or rye), ½ ounce Grand Marnier, 1 dash grenadine, and 1 egg white to a cocktail shaker. Shake hard for 45 seconds (until the egg white is frothy). Strain into a cocktail glass. Some recipes call for adding ¼ ounce absinthe and ¼ ounce lemon juice (you might want to increase the grenadine a bit if you use the lemon juice).
  • The 1920s were prosperous times not only in the US, but also in much of Europe. In the US, the era was called the Roaring Twenties or the Jazz Age. In Europe, it was often referred to as the Golden Age Twenties.
  • Although Prohibition banned booze in the US, everyone seemed to know a friendly bootlegger who could supply the thirsty, no questions asked. In fact, the 20s became a golden age of cocktails – numerous new drinks were invented during this time. Chalk up another win for the Law of Unintended Consequences.
     
Millionaire Cocktail

So We Drink On

“I can imagine Daisy Buchanan sipping one of these,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “She whose voice was full of money.”

“This drink does put one in a Gatsby frame of mind,” I said. “Old sport.”

“Prohibition created so many business opportunities,” said Mrs K R. “Can’t make a fortune bootlegging these days.”

“Fortunately, the best things in life are free,” I said. “Or at least can be had at a reasonable price in the liquor aisle.”

“Of course, Picasso said it best: ‘I’d like to live as a poor man with lots of money,’” said Mrs K R.

Ka-ching.

You may also enjoy reading about:
The Eclipse Cocktail
Sloe Gin Fizz
Sundowner Cocktail
Harvest Moon Cocktail
Blue Moon Cocktail
Golden Dawn Cocktail
Rum Shrub Cocktail
Or check out the index for more

78 comments:

  1. I prefer the rum based one...this looks so beautiful and tempting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Angie, hard to go wrong with rum, isn't it? Such a nice spirit! Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  2. I'm thinking Canada supplied a lot of alcohol during prohibition as alcohol was legal here! This really does look like a classy cocktail, of course the glass reall does class it up. I tart drink in the heat of the summer is perfect!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Eva, Canada definitely was a big booze supplier to the US during prohibition. Thanks! :-) And thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  3. You're speaking my language with the rum version! Great minds think alike today! :) This looks so refreshing for the summer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Ashley, I had to laugh when I saw that you posted a rum drink today! Great minds indeed. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  4. John, you make the most awesome looking cocktails. This is beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Pat, cocktails can be a pain to photograph, but once you figure out how to control the reflections, they're fun because they're SO PRETTY! Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  5. I love the sound of this! Were it not for the market crash, I'd probably wish I could have lived in the 20s because of the fashion :). I'll just have to make myself a Millionaire Cocktail and pretend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kelsie, the 20s were really interesting! Fun reading about them. And enjoy the cocktails that were created then. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  6. As always, I'm impressed by your incredible variety of mixed drinks, and enjoy reading the amazing lists of ingredients. Two kinds of rum! I used up my one little bottle months ago.

    But I seem to stick to wine, and just fantasize about something more sophisticated. Even in the very retro atmosphere of the Chicago Palmer House Hilton, I didn't go for the right thing -- a martini -- but stuck with sparkling wine.

    best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Mae, we love cocktails (obviously) but are more wine drinkers ourselves. Cocktails have such a neat history and look so nice, though, it's fun to learn about them. Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  7. Oh my, I'm loving all the ingredients in this stunning drink! I've got guests this weekend. Time to impress :) Thank, John!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Robyn, your guest will feel like a million! :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  8. Wow that is so gorgeous, definitely need to sip on one and pretend to be rich! And you know "speakeasy" clubs are so IN right now. The 20s is one era I would like to go back in time to.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Evelyne, this has really good flavor, so I know you'd enjoy sipping on it. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  9. So if I drink this it will make me a millionaire, right????

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Laura, well, at least it will make you feel like a millionaire. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  10. Hubba Hubba! I shall make this for my husband this evening and perhaps it will bring us GOOD LUCK tomorrow - IE: lets buy a lottery ticket!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi GiGi, your husband will love this. Good luck with your lottery ticket. :D Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  11. I will take the millionaire part and leave the cocktail to you hehehehe. Looks very nice and I bet the flavors are gorgeous.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Amira, :-) It's a really pretty drink, isn't it? And yes, the flavors are quite nice! Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  12. Look at the color of this drink! Looks fab! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Lydia, tastes fab, too. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  13. Sloe gin, yum! Millionaire cocktail? Two please. : )

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Liz, two coming right up! You'll be a multi-millionaire. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  14. I do like the sound of this. I also like Picasso's quote. Now if only it would come true! But maybe I'll feel like a millionaire just drinking this. Well....it's worth a try!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Abbe, you'll definitely feel like a millionaire drinking this! And the feeling won't stop until the drinking does. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  15. Such a fun and interesting history! Thanks for sharing this beautiful cocktail.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Chris, so many cocktails, so much to learn! Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  16. The history of these classic cocktails always makes me want to try your recipe! If it's been around since the 20's it must be good!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Deb, cocktail history is fun,isn't it? Almost as much fun as the cocktails themselves. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  17. What a gorgeous cocktail. And love the history that comes with it. I haven't tasted sloe gin since and unfortunate episode in high school. I think it's time to give it another shot (as long as it's mixed in a flavorful cocktail :)).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Liz, I think a lot of us had a sloe gin episode in high school. :-) Get the good stuff, and mix it in a cocktail, and it'll be a whole different experience! Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  18. Rum with apricot brandy? That sounds very interesting. A gorgeous little cocktail!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi MJ, this has a really interesting flavor -- not what we'd usually drink, but really good. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  19. I bought a bottle of sloe gin about 8 years ago (I tend to drink way too sloe, ha ha). I'll reach way back in the bar and get it! GREG

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Greg, nothing sloe-witted about you. :D Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  20. Love this with the addition of apricot brandy - it sounds lovely. Have a terrific weekend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Tricia, it's a fun drink! Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  21. I am going to need to remember this recipe for when my sloe gin is ready!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Caroline, I know maybe 4 or 5 drinks that require sloe gin, and this is a good one. Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  22. Your cocktails and the stories you write about them are the best. Prost!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Gerlilnde, Prost! And thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  23. John, another beauty! And I'd definitely go with the rum on this one. Must pick up some sloe gin, following your recommendations, of course.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jean, isn't this pretty? And rum/sloe gin is a nice combo! Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  24. Beautiful and quite rich... for sure!!! :) Cheers!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Denise, rich indeed! Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  25. This drink sounds yummy- yes, we are also now experiencing the giddy days of the stockmarket and I hope we will experience a 'soft crash' instead of a hard one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Fran, it is yummy. You'll like. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  26. Looks delicious.. love the apricot flavored brandy in here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Nisha, apricot brandy has an interesting flavor, and is lovely in this drink. Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  27. Wow, does this ever sound delicious. I'd love to try both versions.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jeff, both versions are pretty good! But because this one has lime in it, we prefer it during warmer weather. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  28. I was thinking of Mr. Jay Gatsby from the first line of your post! Perhaps Nick got drunk on a few of these.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Debra, isn't that such a great book? Reread it again last year, and was blown away by how good it is. Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  29. Me thinks I should drink this -- then buy a Lotto ticket! Do you agree? ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Carolyn, I think for the best luck you should drink one of these both before and after you buy your ticket. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  30. Rum with apricot brandy sound quite uniquely interesting. I would surely love to try this millionaire cocktail. YUM.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Anu, this has a lovely flavor -- well worth trying. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  31. What a beauty! It sounds tasty too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Pam, very tasty. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  32. I like everything about this cocktail, esp the name and sloe gin! I will drink to this and winning the lottery! Thanks for the recipe.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Pam, let's all drink it and win the lottery! :D Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  33. This is so beautiful and I loved that flapper era. Fun history facts. This is one drink I'm sure would get me drunk with 2 sips!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Vicki, loads of fun history in the 20s! Loads of fun drinks too, including this one. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  34. I've somehow found your very interesting blog! I look forward to reading your previous posts and those to come. This cocktail sounds delicious!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Marcellina, welcome! And thanks for your comment.

      Delete
  35. I am always in awe of the amazing colors of your cocktails. This one looks stunning!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Taruna, isn't this nice? And very tasty, which is the important thing. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  36. Hands up over here for the rum version, it sounds divine :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Emma, we like both versions, but the rum is definitely our favorite. Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  37. Replies
    1. Hi Sue, they are! :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  38. I think this one might be a bit sweet for my taste, but it sure does look pretty...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Frank, this definitely is a bit on the sweet side. You could add more lime juice, which would help with that. Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  39. I really love the vintage cocktails you share about, John. This one sounds strong! LOL But, the color is amazing and it sure is pretty in it's stemmed glass :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Marcelle, it is a bit strong, so just sip it slowly. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete