Ah, spring! Balmy days, chilly nights. And the welcome appearance of flowers.
Like tulips. So the Tulip Cocktail would make a terrific springtime tipple, no?
It’s a wonderful mixture of French calvados (or American applejack), sweet vermouth, apricot liqueur, and lemon juice.
The Tulip Cocktail is a bit on the sweet side, but far from cloying – which makes it a delightful predinner drink. Floral, you might say.
Recipe: The Tulip Cocktail
The origins of the Tulip Cocktail are unclear – as is the case with many drinks. A recipe for it appeared in The Savoy Cocktail Book, published in 1930. But we can’t trace its history back any further than that. (The Savoy in question, BTW, was – and is – one of London’s best-known luxury hotels.)
Whatever the back story on this drink, we think you’ll be charmed by its interesting, somewhat complex flavor.
This recipe takes about 5 minutes to prepare and serves 1.
- 1 ounce calvados (or applejack; see Notes)
- 1 ounce sweet (Italian) vermouth
- ½ ounce apricot liqueur (see Notes)
- ½ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
- lemon twist for garnish (very optional)
- Place all ingredients (except garnish) in a cocktail shaker half filled with ice. Shake vigorously until the contents are well chilled (20 seconds or so).
- Strain into a cocktail glass, preferably one that has been chilled. Garnish with a lemon twist, if you wish, and serve.
- We’ve seen recipes that add a dash or two of orange or peach bitters to this drink. We haven’t tried that, but you might like to.
- Calvados is French apple brandy, produced in Normandy. It’s most often consumed by itself as an after-dinner drink, but it’s also terrific as an ingredient in cocktails.
- Applejack is American apple brandy. Its flavor is very similar to calvados, though sometimes a bit less smooth. We think it’s a good substitute for calvados in cocktails. Laird’s is the brand you’re likely to see in the U.S., and we recommend it.
- Apricot liqueur is, as you might deduce, made with apricots. Marie Brizard’s Apry and Rothman & Winter’s Orchard Apricot are the brands we prefer. Hiram Walker also offers a version, which is cheaper (a good thing) but way too sweet (a bad thing).
- BTW, many cocktail recipes call for apricot brandy when they really mean apricot liqueur. True apricot brandy isn’t all that common or easy to find. It’s distilled directly from apricots, while most apricot liqueurs have a neutral spirit as their base (and are flavored with apricots). Adding to the confusion, sometimes even bottles that are labeled “apricot brandy” are actually apricot liqueur. If in doubt, ask the friendly folks at your local liquor store for guidance.
- Our usual disclaimer: We’re noncommercial and are not compensated for mentioning brands. We recommend only what we like and buy with our own money.
“Love the aroma of this drink,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “Outstanding bouquet.”
“This cocktail is no shrinking violet,” I said. “You might say its flavor rose to the occasion.”
“Putting the petal to the metal with those floral terms, eh?” said Mrs K R.
“Hey, I’m a flower child,” I said. “And this drink is turning me into a tiger lily!”
“I need to nip these jokes in the bud before you become a thorn in my side,” said Mrs K R.
My tulips are sealed.
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Very springlike! Though tulips themselves aren't aromatic, particularly.
best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com
Hi Mae, tulips aren't but the other flowers in the garden are. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Such a beautiful and tempting drink! Perfect for the season, John.
Hi Angie, it's really an excellent drink. :-) Thanks for the comment.
This sounds like the perfect cocktail for spring.
Well, this looks and sounds delicious! Very springlike, as your photo suggests. I do like the idea of a dash of bitters to balance the overall sweet profile. Thanks for yet another great cocktail to consider, John.
Hi Dahn, it is! Or any other season, for that matter. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Terry, bitters are almost always a nice addition. :-) Thanks for the comment.
This cocktail sounds as great as it looks, very pretty.
You did what few can do too. You used something that I do not have in my bar John!
I don't have to buy much but right now I want this liqueur and some melon liqueur so I see a trip to the liquor store in my future, thanks for the inspiration!
This is truly delightful I will have to get some apricot liquer. The dash of bitters is a great idea but I do love a good quality Calvados and this cocktail sounds sublime.
Hi Barb, amazed I could use something you don't have! I keep trying to reduce the variety of stuff I have, but it's hard. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Merryn, Calvados is wonderful, isn't it? As is good apricot liqueur. :-) Thanks for the comment.
A floral tulip cocktail sounds perfect for the season! I remember my parents making a cocktail with Applejack and now I'm wondering what they were drinking!
Hi Liz, the Jack Rose is probably the best known applejack cocktail, but there are a few others. Including, of course, this one! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Another tasty cocktail, all I need is the apricot liquor . Prost !
Hi Gerlinde, decent apricot liqueur is rather good all by itself. Worth having. :-) Thanks for the comment.
It looks and sounds lovely.
Another beautiful and elegant cocktail! Great flavours, and I definitely want to try that apricot liquor, too.
Hi Pam, it is! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Ben, apricot liqueur is worthy stuff. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Have all the ingredients. Now I just need to find that perfect glass.
Hi Bernadette, that's a "Nick and Nora" glass -- such an attractive shape, isn't it? Thanks for the comment.
What a beautiful cocktail with lots of great flavors. Never heard of apple brandy and I must get some apricot liqueur!
Hi Laura, you need both of those! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Spring for you Autumn for us, but definitely can still make this delicious cocktail
Hi Raymund, the flavor is still good in autumn. :-) Thanks for the comment.
well i've been to the savoy theatre in london which is right next door to the hotel! we were up in the stalls waaaay up in the air. anyway - love your photos, love your cocktail!!
What a pretty libation, love the colour. The concoction sounds intriguing too. Cheers to spring!
Hi Sherry, next time you're there you should visit the hotel's bar -- its history is legendary. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Eva, definitely a drink to cheer on the season. Or any season, for that matter. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I am really intrigued by this drink, John. Will have to figure out what he uses we can find for the apricot liqueur! (I’m thinking glazing a roasted chicken would be good.
Hi David, we've used apricot liqueur in a few cocktails, and will be using it in a few more this summer. Like the idea of using it in a glazed chicken! Would work well with pork, too I'd think. (Maybe an apricot sweet and sour pork?). Anyway, thanks for the comment.
I love the idea of a cocktail for spring and what represents spring better than the tulip!! Your drink sounds delicious.
We are ready to celebrate the spring season. Your beautiful tulip cocktail will certainly be explored this week. Thanks for the tips on apricot liquor vs brandy. Will have to make sure we grab the correct one.
Hi Judee, yup, we always think tulips are the quintessential spring flower. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Bobbi, you'll love this! Really terrific flavor. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I love all the stuff you know about alcohol, and I love that you share it all with us!
Hi Jeff, :-) Thanks for that very kind comment!
Assolutanmente da provare, molto invitante, grazie!!!
Hi Speedy, really good, too. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Tulips are among my favorite flowers, so I know I will enjoy this sip. Plus, you had me at apricot liqueur. ;)
Hi Carolyn, apricot liqueur is good stuff. :-) Thanks for the comment.
This cocktail sounds perfect for spring. I love the color of this one.
Hi Dawn, the color is nice, isn't it? Flavor is, too! :-) Thanks for the comment.
I always feel smarter after reading your posts LOL and also always want a cocktail after reading them, as well. Love the color on this one!
Hi Ashley, LOL, sorry about that cocktail craving thing. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Yum. Love all the flavored liquor in this little drink.
Hi Debra, this has quite nice flavor. :-) Thanks for the comment.
This is really perfect for this season. Thanks.
Hi B&S, it's a delightful drink! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Apricots are always a favorite so this drink sounds wonderfully springy and fruity.
Hi Laura, the flavor is outstanding! :-) Thanks for the comment.
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