Horse's Neck Cocktail Recipe

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Horse's Neck 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 Horse's Neck cocktail has a long history, dating back to the late 19th century. It was originally a non-alcoholic beverage, made with just ginger ale and lemon peel. Eventually, it evolved into an alcoholic drink with the addition of bourbon or brandy. The name 'Horse's Neck' comes from the long spiral of lemon peel that resembles a horse's neck.

  • Popular among British Royal Navy officers
  • Featured in various movies and novels
  • Gained popularity in the United States during Prohibition

How Horse's Neck Tastes?

The Horse's Neck cocktail is a refreshing, slightly sweet, and tangy drink with a hint of spiciness from the ginger ale. The bourbon or brandy adds warmth and depth to the flavor, making it a well-balanced and satisfying cocktail.

Interesting facts about Horse's Neck

  • The Horse's Neck was originally served as a non-alcoholic drink
  • It was a popular drink among British Royal Navy officers
  • The cocktail has been featured in various movies and novels


A few good options for Horse's Neck are:

  • Brockmans
  • Silent Pool Gin
  • Hendrick's Gin

Learn everything on which Gin to choose

Bourbon or Brandy

Why 2 oz? It's the Goldilocks measure - just right. A foundation that's strong without overpowering the mixer. Too much, you're in spirit overload; too little, and it's ginger ale with a hint of regret. The choice between bourbon or brandy swings the flavor from sweet and oaky bourbon warmth to the fruity, wine-like notes of brandy.

Mary Mitkina

Ginger Ale

Why 4 oz? Twice the bourbon or brandy ensures a playful dance between the liquor's complexity and ginger ale's sparkling zing. It's the cocktail's effervescence; miss out on it and it's like a party without music. Flat and sobering.

Alex Green

Angostura Bitters

Why 2 dashes? These dashes are the cocktail's seasoned symphony conductor; they introduce depth and a symphonic balance. Omit them, and you'll lose that hint of spice and herbal intrigue that makes the Horse's Neck truly come alive.

Emma Rose

Lemon Peel

Why 1 long spiral? It's not just garnish—it's an experience. The visual appeal is key, but the real zinger is the lemon oil that lovingly embraces the bourbon or brandy. No peel would be like not wearing a tie to a black-tie event—something's amiss.

Mary Mitkina

Recipe. How to make Horse's Neck Drink

  1. Fill a highball glass with ice
  2. Pour 2 oz of bourbon or brandy over the ice
  3. Top with 4 oz of ginger ale
  4. Add 2 dashes of Angostura bitters
  5. Garnish with a long spiral of lemon peel, draped over the edge of the glass

Pro Tips

  • Use a vegetable peeler to get a long, thin strip of lemon peel
  • For a non-alcoholic version, simply omit the bourbon or brandy
  • Experiment with different brands of ginger ale to find your preferred taste

Perfect Pairings

Food Pairings

  • Barbecue Dishes: The smoky flavors of grilled meat can be a match made in heaven with the bourbon in a Horse's Neck.
  • Spicy Asian Cuisine: Ginger Ale has a spicy kick which complements Asian dishes like Szechuan chicken or Thai curry.
  • Cheese Platters: A selection of cheeses, especially aged varieties, pairs well with the richness of brandy if you use that option.
  • Nuts: Salted or spiced nuts can balance the sweet and spicy notes of the cocktail.

Drink Pairings

  • Cold Brew Coffee: The bitterness of the coffee contrasts nicely with the sweetness of the Horse's Neck.
  • Iced Tea: If you're looking for a non-alcoholic pairing, a nice cool glass of iced tea complements the cocktail's ginger and citrus notes.

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What you could change in Horse's Neck

  • Bourbon or Brandy: Can be substituted with whiskey or rum
  • Ginger Ale: Can be replaced with ginger beer for a spicier kick
  • Angostura Bitters: Other types of bitters can be used for a different flavor profile

Explore all drinks starting with H here

And of course - twists🍹

Spicy Horse’s Neck

  • Ingredients: Bourbon, Ginger Beer, Angostura Bitters, Chili Pepper
  • Recipe: Follow the original recipe, but use ginger beer instead of ginger ale and add a thin slice of chili pepper for a warmer kick.
  • How it differs: This twist turns up the heat, providing a more intense ginger flavor and a touch of capsaicin thrill.

Horse’s Neck with a Citrus Twist

  • Ingredients: Brandy, Ginger Ale, Aromatic Bitters, Orange Peel
  • Recipe: Replace bourbon with brandy, Angostura with aromatic bitters, and lemon with orange peel.
  • How it differs: This variation brings a different citrus note that complements the brandy and aromatic bitters add a complexity that contrasts with the crisp ginger ale.

Apple Horse’s Neck

  • Ingredients: Apple Brandy, Ginger Ale, Angostura Bitters, Apple Spiral
  • Recipe: Use apple brandy in place of regular brandy or bourbon, garnish with a spiral of apple peel.
  • How it differs: It adds a fruity and autumnal twist to the classic cocktail, perfect for cozy evenings. The apple brandy and peel introduce a sweet, tart element that pairs beautifully with the ginger.

In case you forgot basics how to make Horse's Neck

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 Horse's Neck

What type of glass is best to serve the Horse's Neck cocktail?

While a highball glass is often used and recommended, you can also serve the Horse's Neck in a Collins glass for a taller, thinner look.

Why does the Horse's Neck cocktail use a spiral of lemon peel instead of a standard lemon slice?

In addition to being visually stunning, the spiral of lemon peel adds a burst of fresh citrus aroma that enhances the overall sensory experience of the cocktail.

What's the best bourbon or brandy to use for the Horse's Neck?

The perfect bourbon or brandy for a Horse's Neck really depends on personal preference, as different brands will contribute to a slightly different flavor profile. Generally, for bourbon, brands like Maker's Mark or Woodford Reserve are solid choices whereas for brandy, consider brands like Hennessy or Courvoisier.

What's the ideal ratio of ingredients for a Horse's Neck?

While the exact ratio can vary based on personal taste, a typical ratio is 2 parts bourbon or brandy, 4 parts ginger ale, and a couple dashes of bitters. Remember, the key to a great cocktail is balance.

Can I make a large batch of Horse's Neck for a party?

Absolutely! The Horse's Neck is a great cocktail for batching. Simply scale up the ingredients based on the number of servings you need, remembering to keep the ratio consistent.

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