Vintage Cocktails


The 1930s were the era of gangsters, art deco, skyscrapers, AND cocktails

As I researched for The Art Deco Mystery Series, I came across a lot of great vintage cocktail recipes. I wanted to share some of my favorites. If you want to step back in time a bit, serve the cocktails in a coffee cup like they did in the speakeasys of New York City. Enjoy!


Here is an updated version of the Whiskey Sour. It’s my FAVORITE summer drink this year. Maybe every year. You won’t be disappointed. 

Whiskey Sour mix:

  • 9 oz favorite margarita mix

  • 7 oz simple syrup

  • 3 oz lemon juice

  • 3 oz lime juice

Mix it up, put it in a favorite bottle. Shake two parts sour mix with two parts of your fave bourbon or whiskey (I like Knob Creek or Buffalo Trace), with ice. Serve in tumblers over ice and ENJOY! **Drink responsibly, this one packs a punch AND it’s delicious.

Harry MacElhone also claims credit for this classic cocktail, but only some of the time. In the earliest editions of his 1922 book  Harry's ABC of Mixing Cocktails , the recipe includes cognac, triple sec, and lemon juice, and he cited Pat MacGarry, a bartender at London's Buck's Club, as the Sidecar's originator. But in later editions of the book, MacElhone changed his tune and claimed the recipe as his own. However, this revision could be blamed on a revised recipe. The English version called for two parts cognac to one part triple sec (or other orange liqueur) and lemon juice, while the French version (MacElhone's) favors equal parts of this trio of ingredients.

The SideCar

Directly named for the motorcycle attachment, The Ritz Hotel in Paris claims origin of the drink. The first recipes for the Sidecar appear in 1922.

  • 2 oz Cognac

  • 3/4 oz Lemon juice

  • 3/4 oz Triple sec

Pour all ingredients into cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

Gold Rush.jpg

Gold Rush Cocktail

  • 2 parts bourbon

  • 2 parts Canton (ginger liquor)

  • 1 part brown sugar simple syrup

  • 2 squeezes of lemon

Shake with ice, pour over ice in high ball glass.


The Hilty Dilty is featured in The Gold Pawn.

  • 1 1/2 oz apricot brandy

  • 1/2 oz lime juice

  • 1/8 oz grenadine syrup

Shake ingredients together with crushed ice in a cocktail shaker. Strain into a cocktail glass, and serve


Hanukkah and Christmas Champagne Cocktails:
Champagne was big during Prohibition. So here are two holiday champagne (or Prosecco)cocktails:

Cranberry Lime cocktail:
Pour cranberry concentrate or just cranberry juice in the bottom of a flute, a squeeze of fresh lime, curlicue of lime rind on the glass.

Blueberry Champagne cocktail:
Place one sugar cube in the bottom of flute, top with champagne, float 2 blueberries on the top (the sugar cube fizzes!).


The Bad Romance

(Not Lady Gaga version) was actually created just for the Wit’s End club in NYC. It uses only Prohibition bootlegged liquor, and it does pack a punch! But it’s a lot of fun and a great drink for your repertoire. Here you go!

 To make a small pitcher of the mix, combine 1 cup tequila, ½ Cup lime juice, ½ Cup cranberry simple syrup. Stir together. To make the cocktail, pour into a martini glass about half-full, top with champagne. I made my own cranberry simple syrup with 1 Cup Cranberry juice and ¾ C sugar, dissolved together over low heat. 


The Floradora cocktail

(Named after a Broadway musical hit from the early 1900's)

  • 1 1/2 ounces gin (or vodka if you prefer)

  • 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice

  • 1/2 ounce framboise liqueur

  • Ginger ale

  • Lime wedge for garnish

Pour the gin, framboise, and lime juice into a highball glass filled with ice. Top with ginger ale and garnish with a lime wedge.