Twentieth Century Cocktail

Classic Twentieth Century Cocktail Recipe
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Prep: 3 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 3 mins
Serving: 1 serving

The Twentieth Century cocktail is a somewhat forgotten little gem in the list of classic drinks. It's a brilliant cocktail that brings together a few unlikely companions and has come back into fashion as more aficionados get a taste of its elegance.

While you may not think that gin, chocolate, and lemon work well together, this recipe offers a pleasant surprise. The mix of gin and crème de cacao is amazing and, as Gary Regan points out in "Joy of Mixology," the lemon "acts as a foil to the sweet liqueur." Adding the elegance of Lillet Blanc brings it all together to create a timeless sour drink.

The genius behind the Twentieth Century was British bartender C.A. Tuck, according to William J Tarling's 1937 "Cafe Royal Cocktail Book," a compilation of drinks from the bars of London. Though it has British origins, the inspiration for the cocktail is American. The 20th Century was a famous passenger train that ran between New York City and Chicago from 1902 to 1967. Known for its elegant travel accommodations and opulent dining experience, the cocktail is a fitting match for the luxurious rail travel that inspired it.


Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

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

  3. Shake well.

  4. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

  5. Serve and enjoy!


  • You can vary the accent ingredients to suit your taste. Many people enjoy 3/4 ounce of Lillet Blanc and 1/2 ounce of lemon juice. Others up the lemon in the recipe to 3/4 ounce, keeping the other two at 1/2 ounce for a cocktail that's rather tart.

How Strong Is a Twentieth Century Cocktail?

When it comes to the strength, this cocktail is a little lighter than the original gin martini and similar to other drinks of this style. It should shake up to 25 percent ABV (50 proof), which is pretty potent. Enjoy this one slowly and that shouldn't be an issue, though.

Recipe Variation

There is another variation of the Twentieth Century cocktail that has the same flavor profile but makes a few changes to the ingredients. In this recipe, you can use Cocchi Americano rather than Lillet Blanc. The chocolate flavor comes from Amaro Meletti, an herbal digestif that is flavored with anise and saffron and still has a finished flavor reminiscent of chocolate. The chocolate mole bitters accent this aspect quite nicely.

  • To make it, shake 1 1/2 ounces of gin, 3/4 ounce of either Cocchi Americano or Lillet Blanc, 1/2 ounce of Amaro Meletti, and 1/4 ounce of lemon juice with a dash of Bittermen's Xocolatl Mole Bitters and ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.