Twentieth Century

Difford's Guide
Discerning Drinkers (114 ratings)

Serve in a

Coupe glass

Garnish:

Lemon or orange zest twist

How to make:

SHAKE all ingredients with ice and fine strain into chilled glass.

1 1/3 fl oz Hayman's London Dry Gin
2/3 fl oz Dutch Cacao white crème de cacao
2/3 fl oz Americano bianco
2/3 fl oz Lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
3 drop Saline solution 4:1 (20g sea salt to 80g water)
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Review:

Strike a balance between spirituous strength, citrus acidity, herbal complexity, bitterness from the aromatised wine and rich chocolate, and this cocktail justifies its longevity and rightful place in our Cocktail Hall of Fame .

Sadly, Kina Lillet, one of the original ingredients, is no longer available and its modern-day replacement, Lillet Blanc, lacks the quinine bitterness and associated balancing sugar of the original Lillet.

This cocktail's original 2:1:1:1 specs, published in Billy Tarling's 1937 Café Royal Cocktail Book, translate as 40ml (1⅓oz) Gin, 20ml (⅔oz) white crème de cacao, 20ml (⅔oz) Kina Lillet, and 20ml (⅔oz) lemon juice. However, as Kina Lillet is no longer available, I offer my interpretation using Americano Bianco (see recipe above) as well as this version using a blend of aromatised wines:

40ml (1⅓oz) Dry gin
20ml (⅔oz) White crème de cacao
15ml (½oz) Lillet Blanc (or other aromatized wine)
2.5 (1/12) Kina aromatised wine
2.5 (1/12) Gomme syrup
20ml (⅔oz) Lemon juice
3 drop Saline solution (4:1)

Your choice of white cacao liqueur will significantly impact the finished cocktail, so much so that Joerg Meyer created Dutch Cacao liqueur specifically with this cocktail in mind. (It's also the liqueur I used to test both recipes.)

History:

The recipe for a Twentieth Century was first published in William J. "Billy" Tarling's 1937 Café Royal Cocktail Book so this cocktail is thought to have originated in the 1930s. Thanks to Tarling's book, it's known to have been created by "C. A. Tuck."

TWENTIETH CENTURY
Invented by C. A. Tuck
2/5 Booth's Dry Gin.
1/5 Crème de Cacao.
1/5 Lillet.
1/5 Lemon Juice.
Shake

W. J. Tarling, 1937

Bartending legend has it that Tuck named his cocktail after the 20th Century Limited express train that travelled between New York City and Chicago from 1902 until 1967. Advertised as "The Most Famous Train in the World," the steam train's notoriety peaked in 1938 when a new streamlined Art Deco style locomotive and passenger cars came into service. However, that was a year after the cocktail was published in Tarling's book.

Charles A. Tuck was a noted London bartender and Chairman of the United Kindon Bartenders Guide who, before the war, worked at the Buttery Bar in the Hyde Park Hotel. In 1950, he went to the Piccadilly Hotel, where he was a head bartender, and his book Cocktails and Mixed Drinks was published in 1967. This includes a recipe for the Twentieth Century, but sadly, he makes no claim to it or any of the other recipes.

TWENTIETH CENTURY
2/5 Dry Gin
1/5 Creme de Cacao
1/5 Lillet
1/5 Lemon Juice
Shake and strain

Charles A. Tuck, Cocktails and Mixed Drinks, 1967

Alcohol content:

  • 1.2 standard drinks
  • 17.15% alc./vol. (34.3° proof)
  • 17.2 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.
Buy direct from Difford’s Guide
Difford's Easy Jigger
£8.72 £8.72 exc VAT
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