Derailer Cocktail Recipe

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Derailer Nutrition Facts





Alcohol content:20%

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 16, 2024


The Derailer is a powerhouse of a cocktail, often served at large gatherings and parties. Its name suggests the impact it has on the unprepared drinker - it's strong enough to 'derail' your evening if you're not careful.

  • Origins The exact origins of the Derailer are murky, but it's believed to have been concocted by a group of college students looking for a potent party punch.
  • Popularity It's a hit among those who enjoy sweet, fruity flavors paired with a high alcohol content.
  • Audience The Derailer is particularly popular with younger adults who appreciate its bold taste and the buzz it provides.

How Derailer Tastes?

The Derailer is a sweet, fruity concoction with a strong alcoholic kick. It's a complex blend of citrus, berry, and almond notes, with a deep red hue from the grenadine that's both inviting and foreboding.

Interesting facts about Derailer

  • The Derailer is often served in a large container, like a punch bowl, making it a communal drink.
  • Despite its sweetness, the Derailer packs a high alcohol content, which can sneak up on unsuspecting drinkers.
  • It's a versatile drink that allows for various substitutions, making it a favorite among home bartenders.


A few good options for Derailer are:

  • Grey Goose
  • Belvedere
  • Khor
  • Smirnoff

Learn everything on which Vodka to choose

A few good options for Derailer are:

  • Brockmans
  • Silent Pool Gin
  • Hendrick's Gin

Learn everything on which Gin to choose


Rum adds a sweet and somewhat tropical flavor base to the cocktail; without it, you'd lose depth. Too much, and it might overpower the other flavors.

Mary Mitkina


Gin provides a botanical kick. Skip it, and you'll miss the herbal notes that balance the sweetness. Overpour, and the cocktail becomes too sharp.

Alex Green


Vodka is the chameleon of spirits; it's there to add punch without overpowering other flavors. Its absence would make a weaker drink, while too much could lead to an overly strong, flavor-diluting concoction.

Emma Rose

Amaretto Almond Liqueur

Amaretto brings a rich, nutty sweetness. Leaving it out would make the drink less complex. Another option is Frangelico, which would lean more toward hazelnut tones.

Mary Mitkina

Triple Sec

This citrus-flavored liqueur adds depth and cuts through the sweetness. Without it, the cocktail could be cloying; too much would tilt it into being overly citrusy.

Alex Green

Peach Schnapps

Peach schnapps gives a fruity sweetness. Omitting it would take away from the fruity profile; too much would make the peach the dominant flavor.

Emma Rose

Grenadine Syrup

Grenadine adds color and a hint of pomegranate tang. Without it, the drink will be less vibrant visually and in flavor. In excess, it could become too sweet.

Mary Mitkina

Cranberry Juice

It provides a tart counterpoint to the sweetness, contributing to balance and making the cocktail more refreshing. It's a key player, so don't skip it.

Alex Green

Grapefruit Juice

This juice offers a bitter citrus edge, great for cutting through the cocktail's inherent sweetness. An underrated but vital ingredient; if left out, the cocktail may feel one-dimensional.

Emma Rose

Sloe Gin

Sloe Gin offers a fruity and slightly almond flavor, adding to the complexity. Missing it would make the drink less nuanced; too much could make it syrupy.

Mary Mitkina

Sprite Soda

Sprite adds effervescence and a lemon-lime zest. Without it, the cocktail becomes a flat punch; too much might turn it into a spritzer.

Alex Green

Recipe. How to make Derailer Drink

  1. In a large vat or punch bowl, combine all the alcohols: rum, gin, vodka, amaretto, triple sec, peach schnapps, and sloe gin.
  2. Stir in the grenadine syrup, cranberry juice, and grapefruit juice.
  3. Just before serving, add the Sprite to maintain its carbonation and fizz.
  4. Serve over ice in individual glasses.

Pro Tips

  • Chill all ingredients before mixing to ensure the drink is cold and refreshing.
  • Use a large block of ice in the punch bowl to keep the Derailer cool without diluting it too quickly.
  • Garnish with slices of citrus or berries for an extra touch of elegance and flavor.

Perfect Pairings


  • Spicy Chicken Wings: The bold flavors of the Derailer will complement the heat from the wings.
  • Cheese Platter: A selection of cheeses, especially those with a bit of tang like goat cheese, will go well with the fruity and sweet notes of the cocktail.

Main Courses

  • Grilled Seafood: The crispness of the citrus notes pairs nicely with seafood.
  • BBQ Ribs: The sweetness in the cocktail can balance out the smokiness of the ribs.


  • Lemon Tart: The acidity from the tart will be nicely cut through by the Derailer's sweetness.
  • Fruit Salad: The fresh fruits will enhance the fruit flavors present in the cocktail.

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What you could change in Derailer

  • Rum: Any light rum can be used, such as Bacardi.
  • Gin: A standard London Dry Gin, like Beefeater, is suitable.
  • Vodka: Smirnoff or Absolut will work well.
  • Amaretto: Disaronno is a popular choice, but any amaretto will suffice.
  • Triple Sec: Cointreau or Grand Marnier can be used for a richer flavor.
  • Peach Schnapps: Archers is a common brand that's easily substituted.
  • Grenadine: Homemade grenadine is an option for a less artificial taste.
  • Sprite: Any lemon-lime soda can be used as a substitute.

Explore all drinks starting with D here

And of course - twists🍹

Elderflower Derailer

  • Substitute Triple Sec for Elderflower liqueur.
  • Replace Sprite with tonic water for more bitterness to balance the sweetness.
  • This twist adds a floral touch, which could make the cocktail more appealing to those who prefer a less sweet, more botanical drink.

Tropical Derailer

  • Use coconut rum instead of regular rum.
  • Include pineapple juice in place of grapefruit juice.
  • The tropical twist brings a beachy feel and would make the drink more suitable for a summer party.

Berry Blast Derailer

  • Add a mix of muddled fresh berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries).
  • Use berry-flavored vodka instead of plain vodka.
  • The Berry Blast twist will emphasize the fruit flavors, making it a great choice for berry lovers and adding a fresh note to the cocktail.

In case you forgot basics how to make Derailer

Insert the spoon into the glass until it touches the bottom. Keep the back of the spoon against the inside wall of the glass, and stir in a smooth, circular motion. The goal is to swirl the ice and ingredients together without churning or splashing.

Learn everything on how to stir

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Frequently Asked Questions on Derailer

How many servings does this Derailer recipe make?

The Derailer recipe yields approximately 25 servings, making it ideal for parties and large gatherings.

Is the Derailer cocktail suitable for casual sipping?

Due to its high alcohol content, the Derailer is best enjoyed in moderation, making it more suitable for social events rather than casual sipping.

Can I make a non-alcoholic version of the Derailer?

Yes, you can create a mocktail version by substituting the alcoholic components with non-alcoholic spirits, syrups, and flavored sodas.

How long can I store the leftover Derailer cocktail?

The Derailer should be consumed within 24 hours while the carbonation from the Sprite and freshness of the juices are optimal.

What type of glassware is recommended for serving the Derailer?

The Derailer is typically served in highball or punch glasses, depending on the preference and size of the gathering.

Can I adjust the alcohol content in the Derailer cocktail?

Yes, you can adjust the amount of each alcoholic ingredient to tailor the strength to your personal taste.

Are there any specific techniques recommended when mixing the Derailer?

It's important to stir the ingredients well to ensure an even mixture, and add carbonated beverages like Sprite last to preserve their fizz.

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