Knickerbocker Cocktail Recipe

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Knickerbocker 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 Knickerbocker cocktail is a classic drink that dates back to the mid-19th century. It was first mentioned in Jerry Thomas' 1862 book, 'How to Mix Drinks or The Bon Vivant's Companion'. The name 'Knickerbocker' is derived from the Dutch settlers who wore knickerbockers, a type of knee-length trousers. This cocktail is popular among those who enjoy fruity and refreshing drinks.

  • Origin: Mid-19th century
  • Creator: Jerry Thomas
  • Associated with Dutch settlers

How Knickerbocker Tastes?

The Knickerbocker cocktail is a delightful mix of sweet, sour, and fruity flavors. The combination of rum, raspberry syrup, and citrus juices creates a refreshing and well-balanced taste, while the hint of orange curaçao adds a touch of sophistication.

Interesting facts about Knickerbocker

  • The Knickerbocker is considered a classic cocktail
  • It was first mentioned in Jerry Thomas' 1862 book, 'How to Mix Drinks or The Bon Vivant's Companion'
  • The name 'Knickerbocker' is derived from the Dutch settlers who wore knickerbockers, a type of knee-length trousers



The rum provides a strong and sweet base for the cocktail. We use 2oz because it's enough to give the drink its characteristic kick without overpowering the other ingredients. Less would make it too weak and more could be too boozy and throw off the delicate balance.

Emma Rose

Raspberry Syrup

A half ounce of raspberry syrup adds a fruity sweetness that complements the rum and balances the citrus. Without it, you'll miss the berry notes that make a Knickerbocker special. Using a fruit liqueur could work as an alternative for a different twist.

Alex Green

Lime Juice

The lime juice (0.5oz) gives a tart edge that cuts through the sweetness, keeping the drink refreshing. Leaving it out would make the drink cloyingly sweet, while too much would overshadow the other flavors.

Mary Mitkina

Lemon Juice

Also at 0.5oz, lemon juice adds another layer of citrus complexity. It provides a bright freshness that enhances the raspberry and orange notes. Without it, the cocktail would lose some of its zesty character.

Emma Rose

Orange Curaçao

This orange-flavored liqueur (0.5oz) infuses a subtle bitterness and depth of flavor. Omitting it would result in a less complex drink. An alternative like Triple Sec could be used for a slightly different citrus profile.

Alex Green

Crushed Ice

The cup of crushed ice chills the drink quickly while diluting it slightly to meld the flavors together. Using larger ice cubes would slow this process, altering the texture and flavor balance as the drink is consumed.

Mary Mitkina

Fresh Raspberries and Garnish

Four fresh raspberries provide a garnish that echoes the raspberry syrup's flavor and an attractive appearance, while the orange slice and mint sprig add aroma and a touch of elegance. No raspberries would mean missing out on that fresh berry burst.

Emma Rose

Recipe. How to make Knickerbocker Drink

  1. In a shaker, combine the following ingredients:
    • 2oz rum
    • 0.5oz raspberry syrup
    • 0.5oz lime juice
    • 0.5oz lemon juice
    • 0.5oz orange curaçao
  2. Fill the shaker with crushed ice and shake well
  3. Strain the mixture into a chilled glass filled with crushed ice
  4. Garnish with fresh raspberries, an orange slice, and a mint sprig

Pro Tips

  • Use fresh ingredients for the best taste
  • Chill the glass before pouring the cocktail to keep it cool longer
  • Shake well to properly mix all the ingredients

Perfect Pairings


  • Cheese Plates: A board with a variety of cheeses especially ones with a slight sweetness like Brie or a tangy goat cheese complements the fruity undertones of the Knickerbocker.
  • Seafood Tapas: Grilled shrimp or calamari with a squeeze of lemon harmonize with the citrus notes of the cocktail.

Main Courses

  • Grilled or Roasted Pork: The sweet and tangy profile of a Knickerbocker can cut through the richness of pork, balancing the dish.
  • Asian Cuisine: Sweet and sour flavors found in many Asian dishes, such as Thai or Vietnamese, resonate with the fruity and tart components of the cocktail.


  • Fruit Tarts or Lemon Sorbet: The zestiness of the cocktail brings out the tangy and sweet flavors in these desserts.

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What you could change in Knickerbocker

  • Rum: Can be replaced with vodka or gin
  • Raspberry syrup: Can be replaced with strawberry syrup or grenadine
  • Orange curaçao: Can be replaced with Triple Sec or Grand Marnier

Explore all drinks starting with K here

And of course - twists🍹

Knickerbocker Royale

  • Replace rum with champagne for a more celebratory twist. The effervescence of the champagne will create a lighter, more festive drink, ideal for special occasions.

Berry Knickerbocker

  • Add a mix of different berries such as strawberries and blueberries along with raspberries, both in the shaker and as garnish. This will give the cocktail a more complex berry flavor and a colorful appearance.

Spiced Knickerbocker

  • Use a spiced rum instead of a regular rum and add a pinch of cinnamon to the shaker. The spiced rum and cinnamon will introduce warm, complex notes, making it a great choice for cooler weather or holiday gatherings.

In case you forgot basics how to make Knickerbocker

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 Knickerbocker

What is the right glassware to serve the Knickerbocker cocktail?

The Knickerbocker cocktail is traditionally served in an Old Fashioned glass or a goblet.

What type of rum is best used for Knickerbocker?

Quality aged rum or a dark flavored rum are preferred for distinctive flavor profile.

What themes or special occasions is the Knickerbocker cocktail associated with?

Due to its refreshing fruity flavors, the Knickerbocker is a popular cocktail for summer parties or tropical-themed occasions.

Are there non-alcoholic variants of the Knickerbocker cocktail?

Yes, you can make a non-alcoholic Knickerbocker by substituting the rum and orange curaçao with non-alcoholic substitutes like flavored syrup or juice.

Are there variations of the Knickerbocker cocktail using different types of fruit?

Yes, various fruits like strawberries, blueberries, blackberries can be used for Knickerbocker cocktail, each delivering a unique taste.

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