Charlie Chaplin

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Cocktail History

The Charlie Chaplin is a vintage cocktail that was created in the early 1900s at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City, New York. The recipe, which is named after the comedic actor from the early film era, is made with an equal-parts mixture of three common pre-Prohibition ingredients: sloe gin, apricot brandy, and lime.

Cocktail Ingredients

To make this cocktail, you’ll need the following ingredients:

Sloe Gin: This is a liqueur made with sloes, sugar, and alcohol. We used Plymouth Sloe Ginbecause it’s the original sloe gin with a rich flavor. For a mocktail version of this drink, try Monin Premium Wild Berry Syrup in place of the sloe gin.

Apricot Liqueur: This is a liqueur made with apricots, spices, sugar, and brandy. We used Phillips Apricot Brandy because it’s flavorful and affordable. For a mocktail version of this drink, try Escape Mocktails Non-Alcoholic Cognac Alternative and Monin Premium Stone Fruit Syrup in place of the apricot liqueur.

Lime Juice: This is the liquid juice of a lime. We used freshly squeezed lime juice.

Bartending Tools

To make this cocktail, you’ll need the following bar tools:

Jigger: This is used to measure and pour ingredients. We used the Japanese jigger from the A Bar Above 14-Piece Silver Bar Set.

Boston Shaker: This is used to shake ingredients. We used the Boston shaker from the A Bar Above 14-Piece Silver Bar Set.

Hawthorne Strainer: This is used to strain out ice and solid ingredients after the cocktail is shaken. We used the A Bar Above Hawthorne Strainer.

Paring Knife: This is used to cut ingredients. We used the OXO Good Grips 3.5 Inch Paring Knife.

Juicer: This is used to juice citrus. We used the ALEEHAI Manual Fruit Juicer.

Tasting Notes

The Charlie Chaplin has subtly tart aromas of the sloe fruit and a candy-sweet taste made up of fruitiness and balanced by bit of tart lime. 

Our Opinion of This Cocktail Recipe: Since it’s lacking in any actual syrup or sugar, we expected the Charlie Chaplin to be on the dry side. As it turns out though, the liqueurs do plenty of the heavy lifting against the lime, which led to us both finding it to be a bit too cloying for our modern preferences. But we do still recommend giving it a try to experience a taste of one of America’s golden eras.

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Which of our palates is yours most like?
Find out if your palate is most similar to Alex’s or Kendall’s by answering five questions.

Take Our Quiz →

Alex’s Take: ⭐⭐⭐
“I honestly thought this drink would be pretty bad based on its recipe, but I was pleasantly surprised at how palatable it ended up being. That said, it’s a candy-sweet concoction worthy of its bright red color, so if you’re typically more keen on deep, contemplative flavors, this may not be for you. However, if you’re wanting to explore some of the true classics that our early 19th century barkeep ancestors came up with, this is a great place to start.”

Kendall’s Take: ⭐⭐⭐
“My only experiences with sloe gin thus far were in two other vintage cocktails and one tiki. I remember the latter being a lot more palatable than the other two, but that one was created for modern drinkers, to be fair. Given that this one leans on a similar template used by the vintage recipes, I wasn’t sure I’d like it all that much. Coupled with my past experience and Alex’s guess that it’d be too dry, I went in thinking it wouldn’t be a favorite, but it turns out the recipe is surprisingly sweet. In fact, it almost has a candy apple quality to it that would make it pretty popular with American drinkers. I don’t know that I’d have it again, but it was better than I thought it’d be.”

Recipe

This cocktail recipe was adapted from Steve The Bartender’s Cocktail Guide by Steve Roennfeldt.

Sale
Steve the Bartender's Cocktail Guide: Tools - Techniques - Recipes
Steve the Bartender’s Cocktail Guide: Tools – Techniques – Recipes
Hardcover Book; Roennfeldt, Steven (Author); English (Publication Language); 304 Pages – 11/15/2022 (Publication Date) – DK (Publisher)
$16.49 Amazon Prime

AuthorSteve The Bartender's Cocktail Guide

Yields1 ServingPrep Time5 mins

Ingredients
 1 oz Sloe Gin
 1 oz Apricot Liqueur
 1 oz Lime Juice

Method
1

Add sloe gin, apricot liqueur, lime juice, and cubed ice to a shaker.

2

Shake for 10-20 seconds.

3

Strain into a Nick & Nora glass.

Ingredients

Ingredients
 1 oz Sloe Gin
 1 oz Apricot Liqueur
 1 oz Lime Juice

Directions

Method
1

Add sloe gin, apricot liqueur, lime juice, and cubed ice to a shaker.

2

Shake for 10-20 seconds.

3

Strain into a Nick & Nora glass.

Charlie Chaplin

Make It a Mocktail: Use Monin Premium Wild Berry Syrup in place of the sloe gin and Escape Mocktails Non-Alcoholic Cognac Alternative and Monin Premium Stone Fruit Syrup in place of the apricot liqueur to try a booze-free version of this drink.

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More Sloe Gin Cocktails

If you like this sloe gin-based cocktail recipe, here are a few others we’ve tried that you may enjoy:

Wishful Thinking Cocktail Recipe

Wishful Thinking: A sloe gin and rhum agricole cocktail made with ginger syrup, lime juice, absinthe, Angostura aromatic bitters, and a mint sprig

Millionaire Cocktail Recipe

Millionaire No. 1: A rum and sloe gin cocktail made with apricot brandy, lime juice, and grenadine

San Francisco Cocktail Recipe

San Francisco: A sloe gin cocktail made with dry vermouth, sweet vermouth, aromatic bitters, orange bitters, and a cherry

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