Frisco Recipe

Jessica Leibowitz

The name bugs me, too--I know I'm not alone. But just as you would a family member or a friend, you can grow to accept the Frisco in spite of its annoying moniker.

The Frisco is the product of a long evolutionary process in 20th century mixology. Originating no later than the early 1930s--that's the earliest reference I've found for it, anyway--the drink crawled out of the cocktail equivalent of the primordial soup as a short, sharp burst of rye whiskey with a slight touch of the French herbal liqueur Benedictine and a twist of lemon peel for excitement.

And there it could have languished, falling out of favor and becoming yet another one of those weird, old drinks that are preserved in spirituous amber--a curiosity in the museum of mixology akin to a velocipede or a Philco radio. Fortunately, however, someone, somewhere had the presence of mind to tip a little lemon juice into the mix, creating a much more balanced and ultimately more intriguing drink in the process.

You still find all kinds of ingredient proportions for the Frisco, should you go looking, most tipping the lemon and liqueur back and forth to achieve assorted states of tartness and sweetness. Here's the version I like; tinker if you feel the need to help usher the old Frisco into the 21st century.


  • 2 ounces rye whiskey
  • 3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 ounce Benedictine


  1. Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake well for 10 seconds and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.