Remsen Cooler

Difford's Guide
Discerning Drinkers (4 ratings)

Serve in a

Collins glass

Garnish:

Lemon peel (whole)

How to make:

POUR ingredients into ice-filled glass and serve with straws.

2 fl oz Blended Scotch whisky
3 1/2 fl oz Thomas Henry Soda Water
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Review:

Scotch and soda for the sophisticate.

History:

Originally, circa 1890, it was made with Old Tom gin, but in more recent decades, more commonly based on Scotch whisky. The first recipe book to include a Remsen Cooler was Hon. William Boothby's 1891 Cocktail Boothby's American Bar-Tender.

COOLERS.
There are two popular drinks called coolers which have no other distinguishable title. One is made by mixing equal parts of milk and seltzer; and the other is simply a ginger ale lemonade or a lemonade made of ginger ale instead of water. It is customary for bartenders to ask a customer which he prefers.

N. B. – some years ago, the late William Remsen, a retired naval officer and a popular member of the Union Club, N. Y., introduced a beverage to the members of that swell organization which has since taken his name and is now known to all clubman by the appellation of Remsen cooler. The following recipe is the correct thing and as never before appeared in print. Pare a lemon (a lime will not answer the purpose) as you would an apple, so the peel will resemble a corkscrew, place the rind in a long thin glass and pour over it a full jigger of old Tom Cordial gin; with a bar-spoon now press the peel and stir it thoroughly so the liquor will be well flavoured with the essence of the skin and fill the glass with plain soda of the ice. English soda is highly recommended for this drink.

Hon. William Boothby, Cocktail Boothby's American Bar-Tender, 1891

The Remsen Cooler also appears in David A. Embury's 1948 The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks.

COOLERS
A Cooler is essentially a Horse's Neck With a Kick, although there are also Prohibition Coolers made with non-alcoholic ingredients. So far as I have been able to ascertain, the original Cooler was the Remsen Cooler and, while most modern recipe books indicate gin for the Remsen Cooler, this is incorrect. This Cooler derived its name from the fact that it was made with Remsen Scotch whisky, a brand no longer seen, at least in this country.

The Cooler is served in a Collins glass decorated with the skin of a whole lemon or orange cup in a continuous spiral and hung over the edge of the glass exactly as in the Horses Neck. Sometimes both lemon peel and an orange peel are used for decoration.

Whereas the Horses Neck is made with ginger ale, the original Remsen Cooler was made with club soda. Today some Coolers are made with charged water and some with ginger ale. There are also Coolers made with other carbonated beverages, at least one or two made with cider, and some modern recipes even stooped to prescribing plain water.

The Cooler should be very dry, but sugar can be used if desired and perhaps the best advice here is "sweeten according to taste." If you want the drink to be thirst-quenching, refreshing, and satisfying, however, you must keep it definitely on the dry side. The base of the Cooler may be a spirituous liquor, a wine, a liqueur, or even a fruit syrup. With sweet wines or liqueurs it is usually advisable to use a few dashes of lime or lemon juice but this is optional. It is also optional whether or use bitters and how much.

With the above principles well in mind, you should be able to "roll your own" Coolers with whatever ingredients may be at hand and of any type and strength to suit any taste, from that of an Andy Volstead to that of the Old Soak. However, the following are offered as specimens:

REMSEN COOLER (The original Cooler) Decorate a Tom Collins glass with a lemon peel as above directed and place 3 to 4 large ice cubes in the glass. Add 2 to 3 ounces Scotch whisky and fill the glass with charge water. Stir quickly with bar spoon and serve.

David A. Embury, The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks, 1948

Alcohol content:

  • 1.6 standard drinks
  • 13.22% alc./vol. (26.44° proof)
  • 21.8 grams of pure alcohol
Difford's Guide remains free-to-use thanks to the support of the brands in green above. Values stated for alcohol and calorie content, and number of drinks an ingredient makes should be considered approximate.

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Buy direct from
the_whisky_exchange store logo
£ -.--

Makes a minimum of ... cocktails
Just £ -.-- per cocktail*

* This list may not include all required ingredients.
Price per cocktail is an estimate based on the cost of making one cocktail with the available ingredients shown above and does not include any postage charges.
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