Lion’s Tail

Z found out about this drink watching a Q&A by one of his fav YouTubers who said this was their fav cocktail.

This drink was first published in the book Café Royal Cocktail Book in 1937. Thought to have been invented by an American bartender overseas during Prohibition, the name is likely a nod to the phrase “twisting the lion’s tail.” Originally made with gomme syrup — modern versions use simple syrup. This drink also calls for Allspice Dram which can be made at home. We borrowed a recipe from


  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce allspice dram
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
  • 1 teaspoon simple syrup (or less, to taste)

Shake well and strain into a chilled glass.

Allspice Dram

  • 1/8 cup whole allspice berries (we used powdered in a tea bag)
  • 1 cinnamon stick (we used a couple because ours were short)
  • 1 cup rum (either dark or light works; we used an amber spiced rum)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2/3 cups brown sugar


  1. Crush the allspice berries in a spice grinder, or with a mortar and pestle. You want them roughly cracked and crushed.
  2. Put the allspice in a sealable glass jar; a mason jar is perfect.
  3. Pour the rum in the jar, put the lid on, and give it a shake.
  4. Let the rum sit for a day, then break up the the cinnamon stick and add it to the jar.
  5. After 2 days, strain out the rum with a fine mesh strainer. Then put it through a coffee filter to filter out the smaller particles.
  6. Meanwhile, bring the water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan. Boil for 5 minutes. Let cool, then mix into the infused rum. Pour into your final bottle and let rest for 2 days before using.

The verdict: Spicy and sweet, this classic was an instant hit with three out of four of us. The smell of allspice and the tingle on your tongue was a unique combination that seemed to demand a smile and another sip. This cocktail packs a punch at first, but wasn’t one of those old-time drinks that left you feeling  intoxicated for the rest of the night.

As for the fourth, well he stubbornly believed that something so full of allspice and cinnamon sticks was supposed to be warm. But it didn’t stop him from finishing his cocktail.


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