Trying to come up with this week’s classic cocktail, I wanted to make something that included ingredients I had in my bar and refrigerator. I just wasn’t up for buying yet another liquor that I’d use for just one drink and never use again. I swear, I could open my own bar at this point with the amount of different liquors and cordials I’ve purchased. Anyway, in my search I found something called a Horse’s Neck. While the name doesn’t sound that appealing, the drink is actually quite nice. It’s light and refreshing and has just the right amount of kick. And with only 3 ingredients, it couldn’t be easier. You don’t even need a cocktail shaker.
The cocktail originally wasn’t a cocktail at all. When it was first created in the late 1800’s it was a simple elixir made up of just ginger ale and a twist of lemon that extends to the bottom of the glass. If there’s no alcohol, you’re probably wondering why in the world I have it as one of my classic cocktails. Well, while there wasn’t any alcohol originally, bourbon was smartly added to the drink by an Atlantic City bartender around 1910. Supposedly the bartender created the cocktail just as he was about to be fired. But the drink became so popular the bar’s owner kept him on.
The cocktail gets its name from the lemon peel which hangs over the rim of the high ball glass and reaches all the way to the bottom. See, because it hangs so low in the glass, the lemon rind resembles the neck of a horse hanging into the drink. And it’s that lemon rind that’s the hardest part of making this cocktail. Unlike sazeracs, cosmopolitans and a variety of other cocktails that come with a lemon twist, this twist is comprised of the whole rind of one lemon, cut off the fruit in a spiral fashion. While it does take some effort (it took me three lemons before I managed to peel the whole thing in one strip), the spectacle is impressive and the drink itself is well worth the work, especially on a hot evening.
Horse’s Neck Cocktail
- 2 ounces bourbon
- ginger ale
- 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Peel an entire lemon in one spiral strand and hang the peel over the rim of a high ball glass.
Pour in the bourbon. Fill the rest of the glass with ginger ale and add the bitters. Enjoy.