Douglas Fairbanks

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Cocktail History

The Douglas Fairbanks is a classic cocktail that is believed to have been created by a bartender in the early 1900s for the movie star while he was on a trip to Havana, Cuba. The story says “The King of Hollywood,” as he was known at the time after starring in The Mask of Zorro and Robin Hood, found out his wife Mary Pickford had a drink named after her and wanted one for himself. He then challenged the bartender to come up with a recipe, and this one made with gin, apricot brandy, and citrus was the result.

Cocktail Ingredients

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

Gin: This is a spirit made with juniper berries, botanicals, and alcohol. We used Far North Spirits Solveig Gin because it’s fresh and flavorful with notes of citrus, pine, grapefruit, thyme, and coriander. For a mocktail version of this drink, try MONDAY Zero Alcohol Gin in place of the gin.

Apricot Brandy: 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 brandy.

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

Lemon Twist: This is the peel of a lemon that has been twisted into a corkscrew shape.

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.

Peeler: This is used to remove the garnish peel from the citrus. We used the OXO Good Grips 2-Piece Peeler Set.

Cocktail Pick: This is used to hold the garnish. We used the Happy Hour Supplies Black Sword Cocktail Pick.

Tasting Notes

The Douglas Fairbanks features the aromas of citrus and botanicals and the initial taste of gin’s juniper-forward flavor followed by the deeper brandy spice and hint of stone fruit flavor on the swallow.

Our Opinion of This Cocktail Recipe: Although drier than expected, we both really liked this cocktail. It’s easy to make and reminded us a bit of the Hotel Nacional, just with gin and apricot instead of rum and pineapple. Overall, the Douglas Fairbanks is an inoffensive pick if you’re in the mood for a gin drink.

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Recipe

This cocktail recipe was adapted from The Art of Vintage Cocktails by Stephanie Rosenbaum.

The Art of Vintage Cocktails
The Art of Vintage Cocktails
Hardcover Book; Rosenbaum, Stephanie (Author); English (Publication Language); 108 Pages – 01/07/2014 (Publication Date) – Egg & Dart (Publisher)
$21.75

AuthorThe Art of Vintage Cocktails

Yields1 ServingPrep Time5 mins

Ingredients
 1 ½ oz Gin
 1 oz Apricot Brandy
 ½ oz Lime Juice
 1 Lemon Twist

Method
1

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

2

Shake for 10-20 seconds.

3

Strain into a cocktail glass.

4

Garnish with lemon twist.

Ingredients

Ingredients
 1 ½ oz Gin
 1 oz Apricot Brandy
 ½ oz Lime Juice
 1 Lemon Twist

Directions

Method
1

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

2

Shake for 10-20 seconds.

3

Strain into a cocktail glass.

4

Garnish with lemon twist.

Douglas Fairbanks

Make It a Mocktail: Use MONDAY Zero Alcohol Gin in place of the gin and Escape Mocktails Non-Alcoholic Cognac Alternative and Monin Premium Stone Fruit Syrup in place of the apricot brandy to try a booze-free version of this drink.

Shop Glassware & Tools

Find collections of cocktail glassware and bartending tools we recommend for your home bar in our Amazon shop.

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Godinger Champagne Glasses, Champagne Glass Set, Coupes Barware Glasses - Set of 4, 6oz., Dublin Crystal Collection
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OXO Good Grips 2-Piece Peeler Set - Swivel and Julienne
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Pack of 100 Heavyweight 4 1/2' BLACK Sword Food/Cocktail Pick
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Great for sandwiches, appetizers, fruit skewers, samples and more!; Made from heavyweight plastic; Disposable for convenience
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More Gin Cocktails

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

White Negroni Cocktail Recipe

White Negroni: A gin cocktail made with Lillet Blanc, Suze, and a lemon peel

Apple Pie Gimlet Cocktail Recipe

Apple Pie Gimlet: A gin cocktail made with apple cinnamon syrup, lemon juice, a cinnamon stick, and an apple slice

Archangel Cocktail Recipe

Archangel: A gin cocktail made with Aperol, cucumber slices, and a lemon twist

Spiced Pumpkin Punch Cocktail Recipe

Spiced Pumpkin Punch: A gin cocktail made with apple cider, pumpkin purée, honey syrup, lemon juice, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon sticks

This post contains affiliate links, meaning we make a small commission each time you purchase a product using our links. Product images sourced from Amazon Product Advertising API. Amazon affiliate links last updated on 2024-02-26.

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