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The Perfect Fall Drink: the Lion's Tail

The Lion’s Tail is the perfect fall cocktail. Trust me on this.

And what better drink to sip this Sunday when the Patriots play the Lions?

It tastes like a sip of autumn and evokes falling leaves and fire pits and flannel. You will never want another pumpkin spice beer. Ever.

Side note: Drinking pumpkin spice beer is like drinking a vat of potpourri. Change my mind.

The first time I had this perfect concoction was in Gloucester at the now-closed Alchemy Bar. It was a REVELATION, people! The perfect blend of bourbon, allspice and lime. The only problem is it’s not served in a pint glass.

(Don’t try it. That much tail will kill you. Or at least make you regret waking up tomorrow morning.)

So where did the Lion’s Tail originate?

It debuted in the 1930s and is a variation of a whiskey sour.

According to, the drink first appears in 1937’s Café Royal Cocktail Book, published in London.

“Unfortunately, it’s not clear whether the author of the book created the drink or ripped it off from some anonymous barkeep,” reported. “The recipe also appears in the 2009 edition of Ted Haigh’s Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails, which helped resurface the drink stateside.

“We might assume the author of the Lion’s Tail was a Prohibition refugee,” Ted Haigh wrote. “The name is a Britishism that refers to “twisting the lion’s tail”—meaning provoking the British.”

The good news is it’s easy to batch, so you can serve a lot of people at once.

(I did this at my birthday party. The only caveat is to warn people this little drink packs a BIG punch. People got WRECKED because it’s that delish and goes down easy.)

Lion’s Tail Recipe:

  • 2oz. bourbon
  • ¾oz. allspice dram
  • ½oz. fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp. simple syrup (or more to taste)
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Combine bourbon, lime, allspice dram, bitters, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake well and strain into chilled cocktail glass.