Cable Car Cocktail Recipe

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Cable Car 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 Cable Car cocktail was created in 1996 by Tony Abou-Ganim, a well-known bartender and mixologist, at the Starlight Room in San Francisco. The cocktail was named after the city's iconic cable car system and quickly became a popular choice among patrons. The Cable Car is a modern classic that appeals to those who enjoy a well-balanced, citrusy, and slightly sweet cocktail.

  • The Starlight Room is located on the 21st floor of the Sir Francis Drake Hotel
  • Tony Abou-Ganim is also known as the 'Modern Mixologist'
  • The Cable Car has become a signature cocktail at bars around the world

How Cable Car Tastes?

The Cable Car cocktail offers a delightful balance of sweet and sour flavors, with a hint of spice from the cinnamon garnish. The drink is smooth, refreshing, and moderately strong, making it a perfect choice for those who enjoy a well-rounded cocktail experience.

Interesting facts about Cable Car

  • The Cable Car is sometimes referred to as a 'modern classic' due to its relatively recent creation and widespread popularity
  • The cocktail's name is a nod to San Francisco's iconic cable car system, which has been in operation since 1873
  • Tony Abou-Ganim, the creator of the Cable Car, has authored several books on mixology and has appeared on numerous television shows to share his expertise


Captain Morgan Spiced Rum

The Captain Morgan Spiced Rum is the heart of the Cable Car, providing a sweet vanilla and spice base that warms the soul. Without it, you'd miss the 'spice-bazaar' joyride. Too much, and you may feel like you've been on a pirate ship in choppy waters.

Mary Mitkina

Orange Curacao

A swig of Orange Curacao adds complexity and bitter-sweet orange notes. It's like the best friend to the spiced rum, highlighting its character. Omit it, and the cocktail lacks depth. Swap it out for triple sec, and your Cable Car touches down in a slightly different, but still delicious, destination.

Alex Green

Lemon Juice

Fresh-squeezed lemon juice offers a tangy twist, like a citrusy snap that clears the fog on a San Francisco morning. Under-dose, and your Cable Car is all comfort no kick. Overdo it, and you're puckering more than kissing the glass.

Emma Rose

Simple Syrup

The role of Simple Syrup is to be the peacemaker—balancing sweet with sour. Forget it, and the drink tilts into tart territory. A sugary overkill, and your Cable Car becomes a cavity express.

Mary Mitkina

Cinnamon and Sugar Rim

The garnish is like jazz hands for cocktails—a mix of cinnamon and sugar on the rim is the perfect finale that adds aroma and a sweet first impression. Leave it out, and your performance isn't complete.

Alex Green

Recipe. How to make Cable Car Drink

  1. Prepare a chilled cocktail glass by rimming it with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar
  2. In a cocktail shaker, combine the following ingredients:
    • 1.5 oz Captain Morgan Spiced Rum
    • 0.75 oz Orange Curacao
    • 1 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
    • 0.5 oz simple syrup
  3. Fill the shaker with ice and shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds
  4. Strain the mixture into the prepared cocktail glass
  5. Garnish with an orange twist

Pro Tips

  • Shake the cocktail shaker vigorously to properly mix the ingredients and chill the drink.
  • Use freshly squeezed lemon juice for a more authentic and refreshing taste.
  • The cinnamon and sugar rim not only adds flavor but also gives a nice visual appeal to the cocktail.

Perfect Pairings


  • Coconut Shrimp: The sweetness of the shrimp and the coconut breading will complement the warm, tropical notes of the spiced rum.
  • Savory Cheese Plate: A selection of creamy and sharp cheeses will balance the citrus and sweet elements of the cocktail.

Main Courses

  • Grilled Pork Chops: The spices in the rum and the citrus from the drink can cut through the richness of the pork.
  • Jerk Chicken: The fiery spices of the chicken are offset beautifully by the cooling citrus and sweet simplicity of the Cable Car.


  • Lemon Tart: The citrus in the tart will resonate with the fresh lemon juice in the cocktail.
  • Cinnamon Apple Pie: Echoes the cinnamon in the rim and complements the spiced rum.

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What you could change in Cable Car

  • Captain Morgan Spiced Rum can be replaced with any other brand of spiced rum.
  • Orange Curacao can be substituted with Triple Sec or any other orange liqueur.
  • If you don't have simple syrup, you can make your own by dissolving sugar in equal parts of hot water.

Explore all drinks starting with C here

And of course - twists🍹

Cable Car Royale

Add a splash of sparkling wine on top to give this Cable Car a bubbly twist. The effervescence will add a new layer of excitement, similar to the way the city's cable cars add a buzz to a San Francisco street.

Cable Car on the Rocks

Serve it over ice in a lowball glass, creating a more casual, sip-friendly version. Perfect for when you're not feeling up for daring acrobatics on a cocktail stem.

Spicy Cable Car

Infuse the simple syrup with a hot chili pepper to add a kick that'll rev your engines. It's like adding a turbo boost to your ride up those steep San Fran hills!

In case you forgot basics how to make Cable Car

The basic composition of simple syrup is relatively straightforward – a 1:1 ratio of sugar and water. This mixture is heated until the sugar dissolves, resulting in a clear, sweet syrup.

Learn everything about simple syrup

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 Cable Car

What tools do I need to make the Cable Car cocktail?

You'll need a cocktail shaker, a strainer, and a cocktail glass. A citrus juicer and a knife for cutting the orange twist garnish will also be helpful.

Is the Cable Car cocktail suitable for all occasions?

Yes, the Cable Car cocktail is versatile and can be enjoyed on many occasions. Whether it's a formal gathering or a casual get-together, this cocktail proves to be a great choice.

Does the type of glass affect the taste of the Cable Car cocktail?

The type of glass doesn't directly affect the taste of the cocktail but it can influence the overall drinking experience through temperature retention and presentation.

Is the Cable Car cocktail considered strong?

The Cable Car is considered moderately strong, largely depending on how much rum is used. However, the sweetness and citrus notes balance the strength of the alcohol.

What type of cuisine pairs well with the Cable Car cocktail?

The Cable Car cocktail pairs well with most appetizers and light meals, including seafood, chicken dishes, and various types of tapas.

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