Arsenic and Old Lace Cocktail

Bone Dry
Arsenic and Old Lace

Arsenic and Old Lace Cocktail recipe

2 oz. gin
¾ oz. Dry Vermouth
2 tsp. Creme de Violette
1 tsp. Absinthe

Stir ingredients together with ice. Strain into a chilled Nick & Nora glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Aaron’s notes: Thankfully we’ve come a long way from the equal parts version of this cocktail— which is garish blend of violet and anise that certainly grabs your attention. The Arsenic and Old Lace is perhaps best described as a riff on the Martini.

Gin recommendations

Choose a high quality gin. The gin drives this cocktail— it has to be something you like sipping on its own. The Arsenic and Old Lace is a surprisingly forgiving cocktail. It works well with contemporary gins like Conniption, with a cucumber forward perspective. And it works well with a bold juniper driven, classic London Dry like Sipsmith.

Arsenic and Old Lace History

From 1917 where Hugo Ensslin’s Recipes for Mixed Drinks included it as “The Attention.”

Hugo Ensslin Attention Cocktail or the Arsenic and Old Lace Cocktail

The play Arsenic and Old Lace was written in 1939— but it debuted on Broadway in 1941. Crosby Gaige, author of the cocktail book where the recipe first appeared under this name, lives and worked in New York City. He was a theatrical producer on Broadway, which means he was keenly aware of the successful Broadway production and intentional in creating the cocktail tie in.

From A Vous! Cocktail Guide and LadiesCompanion (1941). The first mention of this cocktail under the name Arsenic and Old Lace.

Leave a Comment