The Three Miller

It was time to go back in time and once again explore some of the roots of the classic cocktail. It seems a drink called the Three Mile Limit appeared in Harry McElhone’s 1927 book Barflies and Cocktails with the same ingredients of this classic. The cheeky name (it was invented in Harry’s New York Bar at 5, Rue Daonou, Paris) referred to distance a ship had to be from shore to evade the custom patrols of the law during the American Prohibition. It was soon shortened to the Three Miler.

Over in London in 1930, one imagines Harry Craddock, mixologist at the Savoy Hotel, is looking over the galleys for his Savoy Cocktail Book. And page 160, while looking over the entry for the Three Miler,  Mr. Craddock’s attention skips a beat and suddenly one of the world’s most respected  drink manuals comes out with a tiny little typo: enter the Three Miller. And new moniker sticks.


  • 2 ounces cognac
  • 1 ounce white rum
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon grenadine

Instructions: Shake the ingredients well with cracked ice, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

The verdict: This is true early cocktail. Cognac-based like so many of the early drinks and packing a punch. We were all well and truly buzzed when we finished the last drops of this one. It didn’t receive universal rave reviews although everyone finished it. Those of us who like their drinks boozy were totally in favour and those who prefer a little less were a little more doubtful about the concoction. But I would try it again—maybe with smaller proportions though. Then again, maybe not…

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