The Cable Car Cocktail: A Modern Classic With Spiced Rum

Cable Car Cocktail
Robert Benson/Aurora/Getty Images
  • Total: 3 mins
  • Prep: 3 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Serving: 1 serving

The Cable Car is an excellent rum sour. The cocktail was created by Tony Abou-Ganim, the Modern Mixologist, and is considered by many to be a modern classic. It is certainly a drink that bartenders should know.

The drink's name was inspired by the cable car tracks near the Starlight Room in San Fransisco where Abou-Ganim first created the cocktail.

This is a very simple cocktail recipe and requires just three ingredients. It is also one of the fanciest drinks you will find to feature Captain Morgan, which will make fans of the famous spiced rum very happy.

The Cable Car is a sour drink and you will notice that this recipe uses equal parts spiced rum and lemon sour. The two offset each other and the sour mix includes simple syrup. Between that and the curacao, there is a nice sweetness to bring the drink into perfect balance.

It is quite interesting how all of these elements contrast and complement at the same time.

This is a rum cocktail that can work for any occasion. It can warm you up on a chilly evening after work or cool you down after a hot day in the sun. It is a perfect drink and I recommend following his recipe exactly to get a real taste of his intentions.


Steps to Make It

  1. Rim a chilled cocktail glass with sugar.

  2. Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.

  3. Shake well.

  4. Strain into the prepared glass.

  5. Garnish with an orange peel spiral.

Recipe Courtesy: Tony Abou-Ganim

The Sugar Rim

It is important to use superfine sugar when rimming a glass. That granulated sugar you use every day in the kitchen does not stick as well because the crystals are larger.


All you need is a food processor to transform granulated sugar into superfine sugar!

Abou-Ganim makes a brief reference to cinnamon-sugar on his website. It is a nice addition that is very enjoyable. To add this special touch, simply mix ground cinnamon with your sugar before applying it to the rim.

How to Make Fresh Lemon Sour

Abou-Ganim's recipe calls for a fresh lemon sour. It is very easy to make and focuses on lemon rather than the lemon-lime combination used in the standard sour mix.

While the average sour mix will work, this lemon sour is strongly preferred for a Cable Car.

Combine the ingredients into a container with a tight seal and shake well.

Sour Mix Tips:

  • Make as small or large of a batch as you like.
    For example: To make 1 cup of lemon sour, mix 1/2 cup simple syrup with 1 cup lemon juice. This will make about 5 Cable Cars.

  • The average lemon yields about 1 3/4 ounces of juice. You will need about five lemons for 1 cup of lemon sour. We recommend using a hand or electric juicer to make easy work of it.

How Strong Is the Cable Car?

Using the exact measurements and brands that the Cable Car was designed for, we can estimate this cocktail to be about 18 percent ABV (36 proof).