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 one, and this recipe 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 the base spirit. We went with Far North Spirits Solveig Gin because it’s a fresh and flavorful gin with notes of citrus, pine, grapefruit, thyme, and coriander.

Apricot Brandy: This is a Cognac-based liqueur that adds apricot flavor. We used Phillip’s Apricot Brandy because it’s flavorful and affordable.

Lime Juice: This adds sour citrus flavors for balance. We prefer to use fresh citrus juice because it’s less bitter than the bottled stuff and tastes better.

Lemon Twist: This is the garnish. It adds sweet and sour citrus aroma and flavor.

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, it’s an inoffensive pick if you’re in the mood for a gin drink.

Recipe

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

AuthorThe Art of Vintage CocktailsPrep Time5 minsRating

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 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 ice to a shaker.

2

Shake for 10-20 seconds.

3

Strain into a cocktail glass.

4

Garnish with lemon twist.

Douglas Fairbanks

Tools & Glassware We Recommend

More Gin Cocktails

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

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

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

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

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

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