Horse’s Neck

Horse's Neck
Table of Contents

The Horse’s Neck cocktail emerged during a time when non-alcoholic beverages were gaining popularity. In the early 1900s, the basic recipe featured a simple yet refreshing combination of ginger ale, ice, and a twist of lemon peel. This non-alcoholic version was a favorite in social settings, providing a sophisticated and flavorful option for those who preferred a lighter beverage.

As the 1910s rolled around, the Horse’s Neck underwent a significant transformation with the introduction of spirits like bourbon or brandy. This evolution gave birth to variations that added a potent “kick” to the original drink, leading to the creation of the “horse’s neck with a kick”. The inclusion of alcohol provided a new dimension to the drink, appealing to a broader audience and cementing its status as a versatile and adaptable cocktail.

While the Horse’s Neck cocktail gained popularity in various regions, it notably lingered in upstate New York well into the late 1950s and early 60s. During this time, both the alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions coexisted, offering a choice for patrons with varying preferences. However, as cocktail culture continued to evolve, the non-alcoholic version gradually faded into obscurity, giving way to the spirit-infused renditions that dominated the cocktail scene.

The classic recipe for this cocktail has a perfect balance of sweet, spicy, and citrusy flavors.

The soul of the cocktail, bourbon adds depth, warmth, and complexity. The choice of bourbon can influence the overall character of the drink, allowing for a personalized touch.

The effervescence of ginger ale brings a zesty kick, complementing the richness of the bourbon. Its sweet and spicy notes create a blend that defines the cocktail’s signature flavor profile.

A few dashes of Angostura bitters introduce a layer of complexity, balancing the sweetness and enhancing the aromatic qualities of the cocktail. The bitters contribute to the overall depth of flavor, making each sip a nuanced experience.

The finishing touch to a Horse’s Neck cocktail is a long lemon peel spiral, traditionally garnished to add a burst of citrus aroma and visually elevate the drink. The lemon peel not only enhances the presentation but also imparts a refreshing zest to the overall drinking experience.

Horse’s Neck Recipe

  1. 60 ml bourbon

  2. 2 dashes Angostura bitters

  3. ginger ale, to top

  4. Ice

  5. Garnish: lemon peel spiral

Horse's Neck cocktail

How to Make a Horse’s Neck

  1. Add the bourbon into a Collins glass, over ice.

  2. Top with ginger ale.

  3. Add the Angostura bitters, and stir to combine.

  4. Garnish with a lemon peel spiral.