Arsenic and Old Lace Cocktail FI

Arsenic and Old Lace Cocktail

This version of Arsenic and Old Lace is a cocktail, not a movie. You may recall the old film of the same name, with Cary Grant in the lead. This gin cocktail takes less time to make and enjoy than watching an oldie, but goodie.

Arsenic and Old Lace Cocktail Ingredients
Arsenic and Old Lace Cocktail Ingredients

This cocktail is also fairly absinthe forward, which means you might end up getting punched with more licorice flavor than you know what to do with. Some recipes call for upwards of a quarter ounce of the stuff, but this recipe tones it down a bit with just an absinthe rinse. You can also use an atomizer to deliver just the right spritz of absinthe.

Arsenic and Old Lace

A very distinct gin drink combining gin, absinth, creme de violette, and dry vermouth. You can also add some bitters.


  • 1.5 Oz. Gin Go for a London Dry here.
  • .5 Oz. Creme de Violette
  • .5 Oz. Dry vermouth
  • 2 Dashes Orange bitters
  • Rinse Absinthe To wash your glass
  • Orange twist Garnish


  • Wash or rinse your glass with absinthe. A few dashes into your glass, then swirl things around and toss out any extra.
  • In a mixer, add some ice with your gin, violet liqueur, and dry vermouth. Toss a few dashes of your favorite orange bitters.
  • Stir things. Vigorously, perhaps.
  • Pour into your glass, and garnish.

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What this drink is really about.

It’s about flavor. Good old fashioned, Prohibition-era flavor.

At first sip, the absinthe fills your glass and that’s the only thing going on. Give it a minute. It helps to make this cocktail extra cold, so you can let it come together for a few minutes before you enjoy it.

The violette liqueur also packs a flavor punch, which if you add too much, makes things taste like purple. If colors had tastes.

If things are too dry, perhaps experiment with sweet vermouth, but combined with the Creme de Violette you might end up with too much sweet.

Arsenic and Old Lace Cocktail
Arsenic and Old Lace Cocktail

What the heck is up with absinthe?

For movie buffs out there, you may recall the Moulin Rouge references to absinthe. Historically, absinthe has a long and storied history. It’s anise based, and technically a spirit and not a liqueur. Made from botanicals, and apparently a lot of them, especially those that are licorice-flavored.

Absinthe also contains minuscule amounts of thujone, a psychoactive compound. Perhaps it was this that lead to widespread bans of absinthe in the early 1900s. Luckily for us, it’s widely available again as that thing called science has largely debunked the thujone causing trouble theory of yore. Now we know it’s just the alcohol.

Try this cocktail, and if it turns out you absolutely dig some absinthe, try the Corpse Reviver 2, as well.

Arsenic and Old Lace Cocktail - Pin This
Arsenic and Old Lace Cocktail – Pin This