Pre-prohibition cocktails and modern twists on classics

Widow’s Kiss

Widow's Kiss 5


1.5oz Apple Brandy

.75oz Yellow Chartreuse

.75oz Benedictine

2 dashes Angostura Bitters


Add the apple brandy, yellow Chartreuse, Benedictine and Angostura bitters to a chilled mixing glass. Add ice and stir until well chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.


What a combination: Apple Brandy, Yellow Chartreuse and Benedictine. Another high proof cocktail (the lowest proof ingredient is 80 proof), the Widow’s Kiss may appeal to fans of the high octane Diamondback. The sweet brandy flavor pulls through while just a hint of apple remains, layered in with the herbal sweet and honey combination of Yellow Chartreuse and Benedictine. While layered complex and boozey (everything I love in a cocktail), this one is quite sweet. Many have altered the recipe by adding more apple brandy. A more flavorful brandy like Calvados is also favored in this one, helping balance out the sweet flavors.

Widow's Kiss


The Widow’s Kiss is credited by most to George Kappeler, first published in his Modern American Drinks (1895). Kappeler also suggests that the cocktail should be shaken, but you know better, do your self a favor and stir this one.

Widow's Kiss 3

Widow’s Kiss has also cropped up in other famous barbooks, such as the Savoy and the Old Waldorf Astoria Bar Book (1935), although the Old Waldorf book lists a different recipe:

  • Equal parts:
    • Parfait d’Amour
    • Yellow Chartreuse
    • Benedictine
  • Top with a beaten egg white
  • Garnish with a slice of strawberry

More interesting are Crockett’s comments that follow:

“Just why the author of this drink should ascribe so many tastes to the osculation of some gentleman’s relict, or who was the widow whose kiss was thus commemorated, it has been impossible to establish. One could only suggest that someone with an inquiring mind might catch a widow and experiment with direct labial contact.”

I would stick with the original ingredients as presented for a true taste of the Widow’s Kiss. If it is a little too sweet, try going with 2oz Apple Brandy or Calvados.

Widow's Kiss 4

2 Responses to “Widow’s Kiss”

  1. Serial Killer | The Straight Up

    […] much harder than you would expect. Recommended for all, but especially if you like diamondback and widow’s kiss. While slightly lighter in alcohol than these two boozy drinks, it also tastes so much more […]

  2. Fall Back | The Straight Up

    […] on, Fall Back is a riff on two of my favorite boozy cocktails, Diamondback and Widow’s Kiss. In fact it really tastes somewhere in between the two. The common denominator between these two […]


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