Millionaire Cocktail

[Photograph: Jennifer Hess]

The Millionaire is a cocktail that arose during Prohibition....

Wait, no, scratch that. The Millionaire is a group of drinks that arose during Prohibition, all sharing the same name but with wildly different recipes. You can find a version that calls for sloe gin, apricot brandy, and rum, alongside grenadine and lime juice. Trader Vic had a version that uses gin, vermouth, grenadine, and pineapple juice. (I haven't tried it; I hear it's kind of vile.)

The one I really like is a version with rye (or bourbon), grenadine, pastis, curaçao or Grand Marnier, and an egg white. It's rich and mildly creamy, with mellow whiskey flavors rounded out by sweet fruitiness and just a hint of anise. It's a drink with balance and grace, and one that reminds you that you don't need to be wealthy to feel like a million bucks.

Some recipes call for lemon juice to provide a bit of balance to the sweet flavors, but I don't feel it's necessary. I'm listing it as an optional ingredient here, so add it if you think it's needed.

I prefer either rye or a spicy bourbon, such as Wild Turkey, rather than a sweeter bourbon, such as Maker's Mark, for this drink.

About the author: Michael Dietsch lives with his wife and kids in Brooklyn. His first book, Shrubs, is due in October 2014. You can reach him on twitter at @dietsch.

Millionaire Cocktail

About This Recipe

Yield:makes 2 cocktails
Active time:5 minutes
Total time:5 minutes
Special equipment:cocktail shaker, cocktail strainer, tea strainer (or other fine mesh strainer), coupe glasses
This recipe appears in: Celebrate Spring With an Egg in Your Cocktail


  • 4 ounces rye or bourbon
  • 1 1/2 ounces Grand Marnier or orange curaçao
  • 4 dashes absinthe or pastis
  • 1/2 ounce grenadine
  • 1/2 ounce lemon juice (optional)
  • 1 egg white


  1. 1

    Add rye (or bourbon), Grand Marnier, absinthe (or pastis), grenadine, lemon juice (if using), and egg white to cocktail shaker without ice. Shake vigorously for 15 seconds to blend all ingredients.

  2. 2

    Fill shaker 2/3 full with ice. Shake again, vigorously, until egg white is frothy and drink is well-chilled, about 30 seconds.

  3. 3

    If you shake the drink very well, twice, before straining, you should emulsify all the white before any of it curdles, and you can simply strain the drink into two chilled coupe glasses. If you open the shaker and see a few curdled bits of white, double-strain by pouring it out of the shaker through a standard strainer into a fine mesh or tea strainer held above the chilled glasses.

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