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Cover: Shaken and stirred

Recipes with ginger ale

28Jul 12

Horse´s Neck, the drink which came from a film

Horse´s NeckOne evening a few weeks ago, I sat on the couch at home and watched an independent film. The lead character was a Polish climber, Jerzy Kuckuzka, who told his story while seated in a pub in London. The whole idea was pretty bizarre, but what really struck me was the drink this guy was ordering: the Horse´s Neck. To be quite honest, I had never even heard of it but decided to investigate further. And this is the mix I want to share with you today.

A Horse´s Neck is an American cocktail that dates back to the 1890s. It started as a non-alcoholic mixture of ginger ale, ice and lemon peel. By the turn of the century, bartenders in Kentucky had a variation to the original, which included brandy –sometimes even bourbon- and which was ordered as a “Horse´s Neck with a kick, please”.

The main ingredient to a Horse´s Neck is brandy. It generally contains 35%-60% alcohol by volume and is typically taken as an after dinner drink. It is one of the strongest drinks around and great for when one feels cold and tired after a long winter´s day, hence the idea of a Polish climber drinking one after another.

Ginger ale is the other major component. Try sipping this cocktail with sugar-free gingerbread, which brings out the ginger flavour even more!

Horse´s Neck became popular in the Royal Navy in the 1960s, displacing Pink Gin as the officer´s signature drink. A reference to this is made in the film Yangtse Incident, in which a naval officer is shown drinking a Horse´s Neck. Strangely enough, it is also ordered in the 1935 classic Top Hat.

A few days after watching the film, I invited some friends over and made Horse´s Necks for everyone. To be quite honest, we had a great evening and have all since become big fans of the cocktail.

Horse´s Neck, the drink which came from a film
Recipe type: Cocktail
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
A Horse´s Neck is an American cocktail that dates back to the 1890s
  • 4cl brandy
  • 11cl ginger ale
  • Dash of Angostura bitter (optional)
  1. Pour brandy and ginger ale directly into an old-fashioned glass with ice cubes.
  2. Garnish with lemon zest.
  3. If required, add dashes of Angostura bitter.


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17Jul 12

Chilcano, a Peruvian classic with a story

Chilcano, cocktailDuring the last decade, I have visited Peru various times. Lima, the capital, is a fascinating place. There are colourful street markets everywhere you go, and people are always friendly and ready for a drink and/or a chat.

On one of my latest trips, I met a chap by the name of Jaime Pesaque, who happens to own a restaurant in town. After dinner at his place one evening, he offered to mix me a drink he reckoned I had never tried before. The name of the drink was, as I recall, chilcano. At the time it seemed an odd name because it is also the name of a famous dish in Peru. Today, I want to tell you about this drink.

The chilcano is a traditional Peruvian beverage. Its main ingredient is Pisco, which is the country´s national drink. Pisco is a colourless or yellowish-to-amber coloured grape brandy produced in wine-making regions of Peru and Chile. It was developed by Spanish settlers in the 16th century as an alternative to orujo, a pomace brandy that was being imported from Spain.

The story of the drink dates back to the 1930´s, when Italian immigrants introduced a drink called “Buon Giorno” into the country. The cocktail was made by mixing grappa with ginger ale and a slice of lemon. Once the drink became popular, the locals started adding Pisco into the mix instead of the grappa. Word spread rapidly, and Peruvians finally had an alternative to the traditional pisco sour.

The chilcano is a strangely invigorating drink, and is in this way similar to the hot fish soup with the same name. It has an agile and refreshing taste, a bit like a margarita lemonade. It is a very simple drink to mix, and a great option for a summer evening.


  • 6cl Pisco
  • 12cl ginger ale
  • Half a lime

How it’s made:
1. Fill an 8 ounce tumbler with ice cubes.
2. Pour the pisco over the ice.
3. Squeeze the lime juice into the glass.

Time: 3 minutes
Makes: 1 serving

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