Blackthorn No. 1

Difford's Guide
Discerning Drinkers (12 ratings)

Serve in a

Coupe glass

Garnish:

Lemon zest twist

How to make:

STIR all ingredients with ice and strain into chilled glass.

Read about cocktail measures and measuring.

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

Review:

Dashes of bitters and lemon oils from the garnish are key to this sloe gin-based classic from the turn of the 20th century.

Variant:

There are numerous blackthorn recipes, but they fall into two camps: one based on Irish whisky with vermouth and absinthe and the other with gin/sloe gin and vermouth. The numbering of the various Blackthorn variations starts in the 1930 Swallows edition of Boothby's World's Drinks And How To Mix Them and continues in his posthumously published 1934 edition, where he adds the Blackthorn No. 5.
Blackthorn No. 1 - sloe gin, rosso vermouth, dry vermouth, aromatic bitters, orange bitters.
Blackthorn No. 2 - sloe gin, rosso vermouth, sugar syrup, lemon juice, aromatic bitters, orange bitters.
Blackthorn No. 3 (AKA Blackthorn Irish) - Irish whiskey, dry vermouth, absinthe, Bokers bitters.
Blackthorn No. 4 - gin, Dubonnet, kirshwasser, orange bitters.
Blackthorn No. 5 - gin, sloe gin, dry vermouth, lemon juice, sugar syrup, aromatic bitters.
Blackthorn (English) - gin, sloe gin, rosso vermouth, dry vermouth, orange bitters, aromatic bitters.

The Blackthorn No. 1 predates but is virtually the same as the Café Royal Bar Book's San Francisco.

History:

This sloe gin/gin version of the Blackthorn cocktail (see Blackthorn No.3 for the whiskey-based version) is first mentioned in a piece titled "New Things in Tipples" in the 21st November 1897 New York Herald as one of three "cocktails which are the products of the fertile imagination of the high card of the Hoffman grill room."

The Blackthorn cocktail is made of "slow gin," which, you know, is a liqueur, and Italian vermouth, with the addition of a dash of Angostura bitters. This is a very popular drink, as might be surmised from an inspection of its component parts.

New York Herald, 21/Nov/1897

Less flatteringly, "Shun Blackthorn Cocktail" in the 13th December 1905 Los Angeles Herald recounts the testimony of a drunk "arraigned before Judge Rose" and his "Hallucinations produced by indulgence in a new drink known as the "blackthorn cocktail"." Importantly this piece also gives the recipe.

How Drink Is Made
"The cocktail is made of one-third each of French and Italian vermouths and slow gin with a dash of orange and pychaud bitters," said a bartender. "All is poured over ice and thus diluted." The hallucinations are produced by the combination of vermouths and slow gin. Vermouths are in themselves brain stimulants of a milder form and gin is a more violent stimulant. A reaction is formed, producing the hallucinations.
"The name is derived from the blackthorn bush, as the coloring of the slow gin is obtained from the sloeberry which grows on the blackthorn bush. Slow gin is redistilled gin. It is from the blackthorn bush that the shillalah carried by all the natives of Ireland is made. The blackthorn cocktail is delicious, but take the advice of the bartenders and beware."

Los Angeles Herald, 13/Dec/1905

The first appearance of the Blackthorn in a cocktail recipe book is in William "Cocktail Bill" Boothby's 1908 World's Drinks And How To Mix Them with a recipe credited to William Smith of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Honolulu.

Into a mixing-glass of cracked ice pour a jiggerful of equal parts of French vermouth, Italian vermouth and Sloe gin, add a flavor of Orange bitters and a drop or two of Angostura bitters. Stir until very cold, strain into a stem cocktail-glass, squeeze a piece of lemon peel over the top and smile.

William Boothby, The World's Drinks And How To Mix Them, 1908

BLACKTHORN
Sloe Gin . . . . . . . . . ⅓
It. Vermouth . . . . . ⅓
Fr. Vermouth . . . . ⅓
Orange bitters . . . . 1 dash
bitters . . . . . . . . . . . 2 drops
Stir well with ice, strain into chilled glass, twist lemon peel over and serve.

William Boothby, The World's Drinks And How To Mix Them, 1934

Nutrition:

One serving of Blackthorn No. 1 contains 141 calories.

Alcohol content:

  • 1 standard drinks
  • 15.9% alc./vol. (31.8° proof)
  • 14.5 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.

Join the Discussion


... comment(s) for Blackthorn No. 1

You must log in to your account to make a comment.

Report comment

You must be logged in to upvote or downvote a comment

Click here to login
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
Welcome to Difford's Guide

All editorial and photography on this website is copyright protected

© Odd Firm of Sin 2024