The Lion's Tail Recipe

An odd union of bourbon, allspice dram, and lime comes together beautifully in the glass.

Paul Clarke

There should really be a good backstory that goes with the Lion's Tail, but if there is one, I haven't found it. This rich, spicy mixture debuted in the 1930s, an unlikely mixture of bourbon, lime juice and the allspice liqueur known as "pimento dram." Right there in that simple list of ingredients, there are a few oddities that accompany this surprisingly satisfying drink.

First: bourbon with lime juice? Lemon, of course—add some sugar and you have a whiskey sour, one of the most simple and agreeable drinks ever made—but lime? Who the hell does such a thing?

Then, there's the pimento dram, an ivory-billed woodpecker of an ingredient that enjoyed at least a tiny bit of popularity from around the 1930s to the 1970s, when it appeared in assorted bit roles in Polynesian-esque punches, tiki drinks and assorted exotic-styled tipples, before going all but extinct pretty much everywhere except Jamaica in the latter part of the 20th century (only to be revived and recreated in the past few years as a "forgotten" cocktail ingredient). Finally, allspice with bourbon? Just about every reference to the liqueur I can recall has it joining rum, with which it marries exceptionally well, but putting it in a bourbon drink (and with lime, at that) would seem to put an odd Jamaican slant on a drink based on the spirit of Kentucky.

But, it works—and how. Rich, spicy and just tart enough to keep things interesting, the Lion's Tail may look weird on paper or in pixels, but in the glass? A keeper.

Recipe Facts



Active: 1 min
Total: 1 mins
Serves: 1 serving

Rate & Comment


  • 2 ounces bourbon

  • 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice

  • 1/2 ounce allspice dram

  • 1 dash Angostura bitters

  • 1 teaspoon simple syrup (or less, to taste)


  1. Combine bourbon, lime, allspice dram, bitters, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake well and strain into chilled cocktail glass.

Special Equipment

Cocktail shaker, cocktail strainer

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
204 Calories
0g Fat
13g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 204
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 2mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 13g 5%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 10g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 5mg 23%
Calcium 2mg 0%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 24mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)