Lions Tale is the Delirious Imbibers Drink Of the Week
The Lions Tail was Will’s choice, and its another unique one. Last time around Will brought us the Artichoke Hold, and rare Cynar based tiki, this week its Bourbon, Lime and Allspice, not a common combo.
Personally I had never had of this drink or paid any attention to it so I had to do a little research. Turns out a little research is all there is, not much is known about this cocktail’s origin, just that it appeared in the 1937 “Café Royal Cocktail Book” by William J Tarling. The book was published in the UK, probably because the 13 year American prohibition had just ended a few years before. During prohibition well to do Americans flocked to UK and France to wet there palates in the long dry spell in America.
I have no proof, but it seems likely this would be a prohibition cocktail that was published a few year after. More speculation is an American created it, as the name is a nod to “provoking the British”. There are better sources than me on the truth of that. It also appears in one of our go to lost cocktail bibles, “Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails” by Ted Haigh, this is a Rosetta Stone of lost cocktails, if you don’t have this book, get it!
Tale of Two Lions Tails
Will has offered not just one Lions Tail, but two. The original as well as an extra credit version called “Allspice and Everything Nice”. It is a substantial change and is fun to try. Version 1, the original Lions Tail with lime, Angostura bitters and simple syrup, version 2, with lemon, orange bitters and honey syrup. If you don’t have the bitters I posted the some links below.
Another ingredient both have is Allspice or Pimento Dram (same thing different names). Allspice Dram is a jackhammer of an ingredient, it is exceptionally flavorful. I describe the flavor as “mulled wine in the fall”. A wee bit of allspice dram goes a very long way, the original 1937 calls for a lot. The versions we are using you will find it is substantially backed down, for good reason. There are several allspice drams on the market, and you can even make your own, Mike did. Besides home made, I prefer the St Elizabeth, it is made in the West Indies. And remarkably, in their product page they mention this very cocktail!
ST. ELIZABETH ALLSPICE DRAM
“Allspice is a critical element of tropical drinks and cuisine. The berry, called “pimento” in Jamaica, gets its modern name from its flavors of clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pepper. St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram is a traditional preparation made with smoky Jamaican pot-still rum. Famous with bourbon in the Lion’s Tail.”
Given that mention, lets get on with the “Famous Lions Tail”
Here Are the Basic Cocktail Deets
Cocktail: Lions Tail
Source: “Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails” by Ted Haigh
Creator: Unknown, Adapted
Original Version: Bourbon Whiskey, Allspice Dram, Lime Juice, Simple Syrup , Angostura Bitters
Extra Credit Version: “Allspice and Everything Nice” Bourbon Whiskey, Allspice Dram, Lemon Juice, Honey Syrup, Orange Bitters
Lions Tail Tasting Notes and Feedback
Overall Will and Mike liked this one better than I. It is an allspice bomb, because there is a single ingredient overpowering the cocktails it was about finding balance. Unquestionably the Lions Tail has a winter holiday appeal, we all agreed on that. On the original we recommend rye, or a 100 proof bourbon. Basically the base has to stand up the allspice. On the extra credit I found it very lemon forward, when I backed it down by 1/2 and dropped the bourbon back to 80 proof it was lovely.
“I went with the rye. Stands up to the all spice. Reminds me of the smell of jerk chicken cooking in Jamaica. Very refreshing with a bite. On the extra credit, really enjoying the honey and all spice. .5 lemon. Perfect”
“Tastes like an allspice old fashioned. I like it. I’m using a 100 proof knob creek bourbon, so I can definitely taste the booze. Balances well. I’d definitely enjoy this during the colder months.”
“For the original Lions Tail I went big on the Bourbon with Widow Jane, did not want a softer bourbon to get lost here. It’s an allspice kick in the baby maker. Even with Widow Jane the bourbon barely holds on. But the acidic lime was nice and refreshing, the lime was trying really hard to be noticed.
In this fools book the extra credit Lions Tail is very good. Not such a jolt of allspice. I’d drink this one with frequency, but back the lemon down to 1/2. 3/4 is too tart, lemon takes over. It is out of balance.
Join us next week and share your thoughts around the incredible tiki drink the Tradewinds!
Try our other Delirious Imbiber cocktails
Missing Some Stuff for a Lions Tail?
Lions Tail Cocktail
Lions Tail is our cocktail of the week, a bourbon whiskey and allspice dram concoction from 1937 London we offer two versions to try.
- 2 oz Bourbon Whiskey
- 1/2 oz St Elizabeth's Allspice Dram
- 1/2 oz Lime Juice
- 1 tsp Simple Syrup
- 2 dashes of Angostura Bitters
- Extra Credit Version
- 2 oz Bourbon Whiskey
- 1/4 oz Allspice Dram
- 3/4 oz lemon Juice
- 1/2 oz Honey Syrup
- 2 dashes of Orange Bitters
Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice.
Shake and strain into a cocktail glass.