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Throwing a party or hosting Sunday brunch? Then you need the abbey cocktail in your life.
I’m all for hosting a mid-morning party and serving up mimosas, bellinis, or bloody mary’s, but sometimes I need a change! That’s where The Abbey Cocktail comes in. This gin martini-like cocktail features aromatic and bitter layers and a vibrant pop of orange. How refreshing!
The original abbey cocktail recipe comes from Harry Craddock's The Savoy Cocktail Book. Almost true to the original, my take on the abbey features Lillet Blanc instead of Kina Lillet for added citrus, floral notes, and balance.
An abbey fits in at any party, whether it’s an elaborate Sunday brunch, birthday party, or casual get-together. One sip and things are sure to liven up!
A 4-ingredient cocktail
Say goodbye to mimosas and hello to the deliciously balanced abbey cocktail! This party-perfect drink is made with just 4 easy-to-find ingredients:
While the burst of fresh orange juice and aromatic Lillet Blanc are truly special in the abbey cocktail, gin is the real star of the show.
Your goal should be to find a mild-flavored gin that pairs well with the wide variety of herbal notes and bright flavors going on in this cocktail. I’ll usually pick up a bottle of The Botanist for gin and tonics or a gin fizz, but you can experiment with different brands and flavors to find your preferred pairing.
The light, floral, and citrusy notes in this French aperitif wine make it perfect for mixing cocktails or sipping before meals. The crisp, fresh flavors of Lillet Blanc help the abbey cocktail taste slightly refreshing.
If you can’t find Lillet Blanc, you can replace it with another aperitif wine, Cocchi Americano, or dry vermouth.
Freshly squeezed is always best! All you need is 2 ounces of fresh orange juice which you can easily get out of 1 large orange using a citrus reamer.
If you’re a big fan of the abbey cocktail or an old fashioned, you probably already have a bottle of Angostura bitters on your bar cart. If not, you should be able to find them or other bitters at major grocery stores or liquor stores.
Angostura bitters are aromatic and very herbaceous. They’re a key ingredient in many cocktails, like an old fashioned and pisco sour, for flavor and aroma. Any home-mixologist should have a bottle on their bar cart at all times!
Tips and tricks
For the best results, follow these tips and tricks before you start shaking up your gin and orange juice cocktail:
Shake it vigorously
Shaking the ingredients vigorously in a cocktail shaker is necessary to dilute the ice and balance out the flavors.
The fresher the juice, the better
I highly recommend squeezing your own orange juice for the best flavors and balance. Just pick up 1 or 2 naval oranges and use a citrus reamer to squeeze out the juice! Make sure to strain in once or twice to remove any seeds and pulp.
Treat it like a martini
Think of your abbey as a martini made with fruit juice. Once it’s shaken, pour it into a martini glass and garnish with a small orange twist. Just like a shaken martini, the abbey is layered, vibrant, and complex (in the best way).
Frequently asked questions
A floral, botanical gin will fight with the orange juice in this cocktail. Therefore, you should use a gin that’s milder in flavor. I recommend picking up a bottle of Hendricks or Bombay Sapphire.
Instead of simply doubling or tripling the recipe and throwing it all into a pitcher, check out my guide on batching craft cocktails first. It has all the tips you need to make a big batch of the abbey without losing the complex layers of flavor.
Yes! Cocchi Americano (pronounced KOH-kee uh-meh-ree-KAH-noh) is an Italian aperitif white wine that’s been fortified with brandy. It’s slightly sweeter than Lillet and has a bitter bite at the end, but is still a great substitute in the abbey.
The floral and botanical notes of gin are necessary for a truly delicious and authentic abbey cocktail. You can try replacing it with vodka but the cocktail will taste very different and lose those layers of flavor.
As I said, the abbey is basically a martini disguised with fruit juice. When made with an 80-proof gin, the cocktail can be quite strong (more so than a glass of wine).
The Abbey Cocktail
- 4 ounces gin
- 2 ounce aperitif wine
- 2 ounce orange juice
- 4 dashes aromatic bitters
- Combine all ingredients into your cocktail shaker of choice.
- Fill with ice, vigorously shake, and pour into two chilled cocktail glasses.
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