Wednesday, July 1, 2020

The Leatherneck Cocktail

The Leatherneck Cocktail

This homage to the US Marine Corps sports blue curaçao

Fourth of July is coming up. So let’s pursue some happiness, shall we?

And what better choice than the Leatherneck Cocktail? It honors the US Marines – who played a starring role in America’s war of independence.

Back in the day, the Marine uniform included a high leather collar. So “leatherneck” soon become a nickname for Marines.

That collar was uncomfortable – very stiff and rough. But its namesake cocktail? Comfortably smooth. And just stiff enough.


The Leatherneck Cocktail

Recipe: The Leatherneck Cocktail

The Leatherneck combines blended Canadian whiskey with blue curaçao and lime juice. There aren’t many other good cocktails that use blue curacao, BTW. One of the best known (and best tasting) is the Blue Hawaii.

We discovered The Leatherneck while reading Ted Haigh’s Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails. We use his recipe here.

This recipe takes about 5 minutes to prepare and serves 1.

Ingredients
  • 2 ounces blended Canadian whiskey (see Notes)
  • ¾ ounce blue curaçao 
  • ½ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • garnish of lime wheel (very optional)
Procedure
  1. Place all ingredients (except optional garnish) in a cocktail shaker half filled with ice. Shake vigorously until the contents are well chilled (20 seconds or so).
  2. Strain into a cocktail glass (preferably one that has been chilled). Add garnish if you wish (we usually don’t) and serve.
The Leatherneck Cocktail

Notes
  • This drink is traditionally served “up” in a cocktail glass. But we often serve it over ice in a rocks (Old Fashioned) glass.
  • A lime wheel is the traditional garnish for this drink. We don’t think it adds much, so we generally don’t use it.
  • Speaking of lime, you might want to experiment with the amount of lime juice – a bit more or less may be to your liking.
  • Canadian whiskey is usually rye-based. The most popular brands blend rye whiskey with neutral grain spirits. The addition of grain spirits goes back to Prohibition days, when US demand for Canadian whiskey escalated beyond the capacity of Canadian distillers. They added neutral spirits to keep the alcohol level of their product up while extending their stock of rye whiskey.
  • Because of the grain spirits, most blended Canadian whiskeys have a mild flavor. It’s a taste that many people like – and the flavor really shines in this drink. 
  • Popular brands of blended Canadian whiskey include Crown Royal, Canadian Club, and Seagram’s 7 Crown. 
  • You can use rye instead of blended whiskey in this drink. In fact, we often opt for that because we like American ryes. 
  • Most curaçaos are either clear or amber (think Grand Marnier, which is a premium curaçao). Blue curaçao was invented by Bols, a Dutch distiller. It gets its distinctive hue from dye. The color is unlike anything in nature, which probably explains why it’s not used in many drinks.
  • In the US, the Fourth of July holiday commemorates the day in 1776 when the United States Continental Congress formally adopted the Declaration of Independence. But hostilities had broken out in 1775, and the nascent country already had fighting forces in place. The Continental Marines had been established on November 10, 1775.
  • The Marines were created as a naval infantry force. In the early days, they typically served as onboard security, in addition to providing small-arms offense during ship-to-ship battles. The high leather collar of their uniform was designed to protect from sword blows.
  • So how did The Leatherneck Cocktail come to be? It was created in 1951 by former Marine officer Frank Farrell, who served in the Pacific theater during World War II, where he was awarded the Silver Star for valor. Farrell was a journalist before the war, and later became a columnist for the New York World-Telegram.
The Leatherneck Cocktail

True Blue

“Mmm,” said Mrs Kitchen Riffs. “Think I’m ready to storm the beaches.”

“Yup,” I said. “Good to have a stiff drink. Especially since we won’t be heading to the shores of Tripoli anytime soon.”

“Indeed,” said Mrs K R. “Travel plans are on hold. Which can make a blogger feel blue.”

“At least this pandemic has clarified our priorities,” I said. “Cocktails now figure more prominently.”

“So mix us another round, jarhead,” said Mrs K R. “We need to keep our honor clean. And uphold our reputation.”

Semper sloshed.

You may also enjoy reading about:
Blue Hawaii Cocktail
Fourth Regiment Cocktail
Fanciulli Cocktail
Betsy Ross Cocktail
French 75 Cocktail
Journalist Cocktail
Navy Grog Cocktail
Salty Dog Cocktail
Washington Cocktail
Cocktail Basics
Or check out the index for more

64 comments:

  1. Love that gorgeous colour from blue curaçao! The cocktail looks really beautiful and tempting.

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    1. Hi Angie, the color on this is fun, isn't it? And the flavor of the drink? Nice. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  2. It's always good to keep your priorities straight! :) I personally love a good blue drink. Happy Fourth!

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    1. Hi Debra, priorities are important, aren't they? :-) Thanks for the comment.

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    1. Hi R, good, too. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  4. She is a beauty John. We find it fascinating the little history lesson behind the origination of the cocktails you prepare. What an odd name, right for a drink, but delicious. Enjoy your weekend ahead. Maybe get started a little early with another Leatherneck cocktail. Take care

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    1. Hi Bobbi, this looks so nice when you hold it up to the light! Thanks for the comment.

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  5. That is one beautiful cocktail! It looks like summer in a glass. Son3 and DIL3 are headed this way. He works part time as a bartender (at least he did until this Covid mess) so he is planning on making his signature cocktail for us. I will share it after he make it for us (if I like it)

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    1. Hi Anne, I love to taste Son3's signature cocktail! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  6. The color is definitely distinctive!

    be well... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

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    1. Hi Mae, it is at that. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  7. Another gorgeous cocktail! Oorah!

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    1. Hi Laura, cocktails are fun, aren't they? :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  8. This is a beautiful and great sounding cocktail, John. We have noticed some significant differences int eh blues one gets with different curaçaos - I can't remember the brand, but we once made cosmos with a blue curaçao (as we were out of clear - the horror!) and it turned the cosmo a wonderful purple-magenta. Beautiful! Our neighbor (who summers in Idaho) left us some hooch leftover from her entertaining this past spring - and Canadian Club was among the spoils. (She only drinks single mat scotch, so she was happy to give this away). Now I need to see if we have any blue curaçao in our hooch cabinet... This would be fun for the weekend. A very happy (and safe) 4th to you and Mrs. KR!

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    1. Hi David, we don't have a ton of experience with blue curaçao, although we obviously have a bottle of it in our liquor cabinet. Should probably play with it more to see what colors we can generate. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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    2. Couldn’t wait till the 4th — we had them last evening as it was the eve of the holiday weekend. Finished off an OLD bottle of blue curaçao... we have probably had it for 17 years, as we bought it when we lived in Maine! I love the “staying power” of alcohol!

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    3. Hi David, 17 years is about right for the amount of time it takes to finish a bottle of blue curaçao. :D Well, OK, maybe only 5 or 6 years! (There just aren't a lot of cocktails that use this.) Thanks for letting me know you tried this. :-)

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  9. Another great use for blue curacao is a Blue Margarita. Same ratio's but sub the Canadian Whiskey for Tequila!! You can thank me later

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    1. Hi Shaun, interesting idea. Our usual margarita recipe is 2:1:1. And we use triple sec, not curaçao. But it worth a try with curaçao! Thanks for he comment.

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  10. What a gorgeous color of the drink!

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    1. Hi Balvinder, isn't this pretty? One of the things we like about cocktails are the colors. Thanks for the comment.

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  11. Interesting...I had heard of the cocktail, but I didn't know the story behind it. Looks like a very refreshing drink for the 4th or anytime.

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    1. Hi MJ, refreshing, but definitely on the hefty side. Thanks for the comment.

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  12. Just love that color! Sounds like you might need some marines about now! Hope all is well where you are. This drink would sure cure a lot of ills!

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    1. Hi Abbe, send in the Marines! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  13. Well that is such a beautiful drink, I would drink it simply because it looks so pretty.

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    1. Hi Dahn and Pat, isn't this nice looking? Pretty tasty, too. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  14. Wow,the color is incredibly pretty!

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    1. Hi Natalia, it IS rather attractive, isn't it? :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  15. Such a gorgeous colour! And such a gorgeous drink. I think we should all be drinking blue beverages:)

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    1. Hi Sherry, blue bevs are fun, aren't they? :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  16. Very summery! I love the color blue curacao gives to this cocktail!

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    1. Hi Katerina, it really looks like a summer drink! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  17. I probably have all three of the whiskeys that you mention in my liquor cabinet right now! And the blue curacao, too. So, this simple little cocktail is jumping right to the top of the list.

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    1. Hi Jeff, make it with the Crown Royal. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  18. Yeah, I love that blue color, too- I also now have a hankering for a Blue Hawaii cocktail. Seems just like yesterday that we were celebrating the 200th anniversary of 1776. Do you remember all the little TV spots where well-known personalities would give little bursts of information about 1776 (called 'Bicentennial Minutes'). Fun to think my kids might be around to celebrate the Tricentennial in 2076!

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    1. Hi Fran, I DO remember those spots! Although I had forgotten about them until you reminded me. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  19. Such a beautiful color. This cocktail is just beautiful John.

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    1. Hi Priya, doesn't it look nice? :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  20. What a fun and pretty drink. Quite festive, and perfect for the 4th of July this weekend. :-) ~Valentina

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    1. Hi Valentina, it's a great drink for the 4th! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  21. Lovely color and a fun drink for the holiday weekend!

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    1. Hi Amy, we'll definitely be having another of these this weekend. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  22. Replies
    1. Hi Denise, LOL! It is definitely a beauty. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  23. Gorgeous, John!!! The color is phenomenal....and I imagine it's pretty tasty, too!

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    1. Hi Liz, pretty, huh? :-) And yes, it's quite tasty! Thanks for the comment.

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  24. There is definitely a cocktail dedicated to everyone and everything! This proves it. GREG

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    1. Hi Greg, I know, right? :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  25. John, you make the most outstandingly beautiful cocktails and I just bet they taste delicious, too!

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    1. Hi Pat, they're pretty good. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  26. This is quite the impressive color. It sounds like it packs quite the flavor punch too!

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    1. Hi Laura, yup, you might say this drink punches above its weight. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  27. The color is very beautiful. I guess the taste of this cocktail left a long, pleasing impression.

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    1. Hi Himawan, very pleasing indeed. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  28. Get a load of that dramatic color! I think I'd feel very chic sipping this -- even if I did so in simply shorts and a T-shirt. ;)

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    1. Hi Carolyn, and at this time of the year, shorts and a T-shirt are by far the most comfortable thing to wear! Thanks for the comment.

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  29. This drink is a show stopper!!! So friggin' PRETTY John!

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    1. Hi GiGi, good looking drink, huh? :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  30. Love the colour! Youre definitely the cocktail master. I cant imagine what your parties look like

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    1. Hi Raymund, our parties are fun. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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