20th Century Cocktail Recipe

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20th Century Nutrition Facts






Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 7, 2024


The 20th Century cocktail is a classic gin cocktail that was named after the 20th Century Limited train that ran between New York and Chicago from 1902 until 1967. This train was known for its elegant and luxurious service, and the cocktail reflects this with its sophisticated and complex flavor profile. It was first published in 1937 in the Cafe Royal Cocktail Book. This cocktail would be enjoyed by those who appreciate a well-balanced drink with a hint of chocolate.

How 20th Century Tastes?

The 20th Century cocktail is a harmonious blend of sweet, sour, and bitter flavors. The gin provides a strong, yet smooth base, the Lillet Blanc adds a sweet and fruity touch, the lemon juice brings a refreshing sourness, and the crème de cacao gives it a unique chocolatey finish.

Interesting facts about 20th Century

  • The 20th Century cocktail is often served in a coupe glass, which was originally designed for champagne.
  • Despite its name, the cocktail does not contain any ingredients that are particularly representative of the 20th century.
  • The cocktail is sometimes garnished with a lemon twist to enhance its citrus notes.


A few good options for 20th Century are:

  • Brockmans
  • Silent Pool Gin
  • Hendrick's Gin

Learn everything on which Gin to choose


Gin, 1.5 oz, is the backbone of the 20th Century cocktail, setting the stage with its botanicals. Less and you may find the drink too meek; more, and you risk drowning out the other flavors. Without it, well, it's like a train without tracks!

Mary Mitkina

Lillet Blanc

0.75 oz of Lillet Blanc provides a sweet, floral note. This French aperitif wine adds complexity, and if skipped, would leave the drink feeling like a jigsaw puzzle with a missing piece. An alternative could be dry vermouth, but expect a sharper, less floral character.

Mary Mitkina

Lemon Juice

Fresh is always best! At 0.75 oz, lemon juice adds a zesty punch, balancing the sweetness. Too little and the sweetness runs rampant; too much and your lips will pucker excessively. Leave it out? That would be a sour mistake.

Alex Green

White Crème de Cacao

With only 0.5 oz, white crème de cacao whispers rather than shouts, giving the 20th Century a subtle chocolate finish. Omitting this is like forgetting the cherry on top of your sundae. Chocolate liqueur could be used as a substitute for a more pronounced chocolate hint.

Mary Mitkina

Lemon Twist

The final flourish, a lemon twist isn't just for show. Its essential oils add an aromatic boost that perfectly ties together the drink's notes. Without it, you're missing the olfactory experience that completes the symphony.

Mary Mitkina

Recipe. How to make 20th Century Drink

  1. Fill a shaker with ice.
  2. Add the gin, Lillet Blanc, lemon juice, and crème de cacao.
  3. Shake well until chilled.
  4. Strain into a chilled coupe glass.
  5. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Pro Tips

  • Make sure to use fresh lemon juice for the best flavor.
  • Chill your glass before serving to keep your cocktail cold longer.
  • Don't overdo it with the crème de cacao, as it can easily overpower the other flavors.

Perfect Pairings

Food Pairings

  • Fresh Seafood: The bright citrus notes of the 20th Century cocktail complement the delicate flavors of oysters, sushi, or ceviche.
  • Soft Cheeses: Try it with a creamy goat cheese or brie which can balance the cocktail's acidity.
  • Light Pasta Dishes: Dishes with a lemon butter sauce will echo the citrus in the cocktail while adding a rich contrast.

Drink Pairings

  • Sparkling Water: To cleanse the palate between sips without competing with the complex flavors.
  • Mild Herbal Tea: A tea like chamomile can be a calming post-drink beverage that doesn't overpower the 20th Century's profile.

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What you could change in 20th Century

  • Gin: You can substitute the gin with vodka for a less botanical flavor.
  • Lillet Blanc: If you can't find Lillet Blanc, you can use another sweet white vermouth.
  • White Crème de Cacao: You can replace this with dark crème de cacao for a more robust chocolate flavor.

Explore all drinks starting with 2 here

And of course - twists🍹

New Century

  • Muscat Dessert Wine instead of Lillet Blanc
  • Add a dash of orange bitters
  • Garnish with an orange twist This version is sweeter with an enhanced citrus aroma, steering the drink into a new century of flavor.

21st Century

  • Use cold brew coffee in place of creme de cacao
  • Add a pinch of sea salt
  • Add chocolate bitters The 21st Century twist combines a caffeinated kick with a touch of salt, resulting in a more savory and modern cocktail.

Space Age Century

  • Substitute blue curaçao for creme de cacao
  • Add a splash of tonic water
  • Use a grapefruit twist instead of lemon The Space Age Century turns your drink into an otherworldly blue, with a bitter twist from the grapefruit and tonic adding an effervescent zing.

In case you forgot basics how to make 20th Century

Add your ingredients to the shaker first, then ice. Fill it up to ¾ of its capacity to ensure enough space for shaking. Hold the shaker with both hands (one on the top and one on the bottom) and shake vigorously. The shake should come from your shoulders, not your wrists.

Learn everything on how to shake

Place your chosen strainer on top of the shaker or mixing glass, ensuring a secure fit. Pour the cocktail into a glass through the strainer, which will catch solid ingredients and ice. If double straining, hold the fine mesh strainer between the shaker and the glass.

Learn everything on how to strain

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on 20th Century

Can I use flavored gin for the 20th Century cocktail?

Yes, you can. However, it might alter the original flavor of the cocktail.

Is there any non-alcoholic variant of the 20th Century cocktail?

Since the main base of the cocktail is Gin, it would be quite difficult to have a non-alcoholic version unless a substitute for the alcohol taste, like seedlip, is used.

Why is it called 20th Century cocktail if it was first published in 1937?

The cocktail was named after the famous 20th Century Limited train, which was an icon of luxury travel in the early to mid-20th century.

Can I prepare the 20th Century cocktail in a large batch for parties?

Yes, you absolutely can. Just multiply the ingredient measurements by the number of servings you plan to make.

Is there a particular time of day best for serving and enjoying the 20th Century cocktail?

The 20th Century cocktail is well-suited for any time of day but it's especially fitting as an apéritif before dinner.

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