Jean Harlow Cocktail

Jean Harlow Cocktail - Classic Rum Cocktail Recipe

The Spruce / S&C Design Studios

Prep: 3 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 3 mins
Serving: 1 serving
Yield: 1 cocktail
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
226 Calories
0g Fat
9g Carbs
0g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 226
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 6mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 9g 3%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 8mg 39%
Calcium 13mg 1%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 65mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Jean Harlow (1911–1937) was the first platinum blonde that brought sex to the Hollywood scene in the 1930s and she has her own cocktail. The drink that is named after her is a sweet rum martini, and it was supposedly a favorite of the actress. The recipe is very simple, just an equal mix of your favorite light rum and sweet vermouth garnished with a sexy lemon spiral.

Though not as popular as the martini or Manhattan, the Jean Harlow cocktail is a fascinating experience that shows how many classic cocktails kept the ingredients simple without sacrificing taste. It is also another testament to the versatility of vermouth, proving that it really is a bar essential.


Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

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

  3. Shake well.

  4. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

  5. Garnish with a lemon peel. Serve and enjoy.


  • As with any martini-style cocktail, adjust the rum to vermouth ratio to fit your personal taste. Equal parts are recommended, but you may enjoy less vermouth; some drinkers even pour as little as 1/2 ounce.
  • Be sure to choose a quality rum for this drink. It's a very transparent mix and will show off any imperfections in the rum. If you enjoy sipping the rum straight, it's a good choice.
  • If it's been a while since you opened that bottle of sweet vermouth, consider replacing it. It has a shelf-life of just two to three months once open and should be stored in the refrigerator.
  • When cutting the lemon twist, you might find it easiest to use a canelle knife. The average pairing knife works with some practice.
  • Roll the twist gently into a spiral and give it squeeze over the drink to express the fruit's oils. This will give the cocktail a bright, subtle accent.

Recipe Variations

  • The original Jean Harlow cocktail recommends light rum, though you can use a nice aged rum instead. You'll find that the hint of oak is a pleasant addition to the drink.
  • Add a nice accent to this cocktail with a few dashes of bitters. Aromatic bitters (e.g., Angostura) would be excellent. You can play around with other flavors, such as barrel-aged bitters, orange bitters, or peach bitters.
  • Rum is made from sugar or molasses, so it has a naturally sweeter profile. That's why it's paired with sweet vermouth in this cocktail. If, however, you want to use dry vermouth, you'll likely want to add a sweetener. For example, the El Presidente recipe brings a little curaçao and grenadine into the rum-dry vermouth mix.

How Strong Is a Jean Harlow Cocktail?

As with most alcohol-only cocktails, the Jean Harlow is a potent drink. When made with an 80-proof rum, it will shake up to about 24 percent ABV (48 proof). Enjoying two in succession would be a lot like drinking a straight shot of rum, so it's best to take it easy with this one.