The Spencer Cocktail

This drink is very similar to the Paradise, with the same 2:1 ratio of gin to apricot brandy. The difference is this one has a lot less orange juice, and a dash of bitters instead of lemon juice. There has arisen some question of exactly what would have been used as “apricot brandy” back in the 1920s and 30s. I’ve been using Marie Brizard’s Apry liqueur, which is quite tasty but definitely on the sweet side. Charles Baker, throughout his 1939 opus The Gentlemen’s Companion, almost invariably specifies a dry apricot brandy, an eau-de-vie more like kirsch or maraschino on the cherry end of the spectrum. There are a few apricot eau-de-vies available, although they are not easy to find. I will probably order a bottle of this offering from Rothman and Winter soon, and it will be interesting to see the difference it makes in these cocktails, but for now, I’m stuck with the Apry, which I don’t mind, as my modern palate is well-attuned to sweetness.

The Recipe:

2/3 dry gin (1 1/2 oz.)

1/3 apricot brandy (3/4 oz.)

1 dash orange juice

1 dash Angostura bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Add a cherry, and squeeze a twist of orange over the drink.


It’s a pretty drink to look at, and not so bad to drink, either, although not as good as the Paradise. You get a good spicy gin burn coupled with the flowery, almost perfume-y aspects of the Apry, with an overall taste profile of apricot. There’s not a great deal of complexity going on, which is perhaps the drink’s downfall, if it really has one. Three livers.


2 thoughts on “The Spencer Cocktail

  1. Pingback: The Pendennis Cocktail | propercocktails

  2. Pingback: The Empire Cocktail | propercocktails

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