Lights Out Cocktail Recipe

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Lights Out Nutrition Facts





Alcohol %:25

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 Lights Out cocktail is a relatively new creation, first mixed in the early 2000s at a trendy New York City bar. It was designed to be a nightcap, a final drink to end the evening. The name 'Lights Out' was chosen to reflect this. It quickly gained popularity among those who enjoy a strong, yet smooth cocktail before heading home. It's a favorite among whiskey lovers and those who appreciate a well-balanced cocktail.

  • Created in New York City
  • Designed as a nightcap
  • Popular among whiskey lovers

How Lights Out Tastes?

The Lights Out cocktail is a robust, full-bodied drink. It has a strong whiskey base, balanced by the sweetness of the honey and the tartness of the lemon. The ginger adds a spicy kick, while the bitters provide a complex, layered taste. It's a rich, warm, and slightly spicy cocktail.

Interesting facts about Lights Out

  • The Lights Out cocktail was originally made with rye whiskey, but it can also be made with bourbon.
  • Despite its strong flavors, it's a surprisingly smooth drink.
  • It's often garnished with a lemon twist and a cherry.


A few good options for Lights Out are:

  • Brockmans
  • Silent Pool Gin
  • Hendrick's Gin

Learn everything on which Gin to choose

Rye Whiskey: 2 oz

The backbone of the cocktail, rye whiskey, provides a robust, spicy grain flavor that ensures this drink has a kick. Skimping on it would make your cocktail more mild, while splurging could overshadow the more subtle flavors. The fun lies in the balance!

Emma Rose

Honey Syrup: 0.5 oz

Sweet, yet not overpowering, honey syrup gives a smooth and natural sweetness that can't be mimicked by simple syrup. Too little and the drink could pucker your lips, too much and you might as well be a bear in a honey pot.

Alex Green

Lemon Juice: 0.5 oz

This adds a necessary zing and freshness to cut through the sweetness, bringing balance to the cocktail. Leaving out lemon juice would be like eating a pie without the filling – just wrong.

Mary Mitkina

Ginger Liqueur: 0.5 oz

Adding a spicy, slightly exotic taste, ginger liqueur creates a sophisticated warmth within the drink. Without it, you'd lose that spark that makes the Lights Out so memorable.

Emma Rose

Angostura Bitters: 2 dashes

Like the salt in cooking, Angostura bitters enhance flavor depth. A few dashes too many, and it's like the sea on a stormy day – overwhelmingly bitter.

Alex Green

Lemon Twist: 1

It's all about the aromatics here. The lemon twist releases essential oils over the drink, giving you a little zesty nose every time you go for a sip. No twist would make the cocktail feel like it missed a smile.

Mary Mitkina

Cherry: 1

The cherry is the pièce de résistance, the final touch for both aesthetics and a hint of sweet, fruity complexity.

Emma Rose

Recipe. How to make Lights Out Drink

  1. Fill a shaker with ice.
  2. Add the rye whiskey, honey syrup, lemon juice, ginger liqueur, and Angostura bitters.
  3. Shake well.
  4. Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice.
  5. Garnish with a lemon twist and a cherry.

Pro Tips

Use a high-quality rye whiskey for the best flavor.

  • Make sure to shake the cocktail well to fully combine the ingredients.
  • The lemon twist and cherry not only add a pop of color, but also enhance the flavor of the cocktail.

Perfect Pairings

Food Pairings

The bold and spicy profile of the Lights Out cocktail makes it an excellent match for hearty, flavorful foods. Consider pairing it with:

  • Barbecued meats: The smokiness of grilled meats complements the whiskey’s warmth.
  • Spicy Asian dishes: The ginger liqueur will resonate with the flavors in many Asian cuisines, especially those with a kick.
  • Cheese platters: Opt for aged, robust cheeses that can stand up to the cocktail's strong flavor profile.

Drink Pairings

For a multi-course experience, you might want to pair the Lights Out cocktail with:

  • Stout beer: A stout's creaminess can serve as a nice palate cleanser between sips of this robust cocktail.
  • Dry white wine: If alternating with cocktails, a crisp white wine can provide a refreshing contrast.

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What you could change in Lights Out

You can substitute the rye whiskey with bourbon.

  • If you don't have honey syrup, you can use simple syrup instead.
  • If you don't have ginger liqueur, you can use a slice of fresh ginger.

Explore all drinks starting with L here

And of course - twists🍹

Smoky Lights Out

Substitute rye whiskey with a smoky Scotch and add a sprig of rosemary as an additional garnish. The Scotch adds a campfire essence while rosemary infuses a touch of herbal mystery. Perfect for those who like their evenings with a smoky haze.

Spiced Orchard

Add a dash of apple cider and replace ginger liqueur with cinnamon schnapps. You get a cocktail that's reminiscent of an autumnal harvest festival. It'll pair wonderfully with a cozy sweater and leaves crunching underfoot.

Citrus Glow

Swap out the honey syrup for orange blossom honey and add a splash of grapefruit juice. This version is for those who enjoy a bright citrus kick that energizes the taste buds and lights up the night.

In case you forgot basics how to make Lights Out

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 Lights Out

How does the choice of rye or bourbon whiskey affect the taste of the Lights Out cocktail?

Rye whiskey tends to have a spicier and edgier taste compared to bourbon, which has a rich, full-bodied and slightly sweeter taste. The choice between the two would depend on individual preference, with bourbon likely to make the drink a little sweeter.

Can I use lime juice as an alternative to lemon juice for this cocktail?

Yes, you can substitute lemon juice with lime juice, which will provide a different citrus note to the cocktail, making it slightly tangy compared to the original recipe.

Can I serve the Lights Out cocktail without ice?

Yes, you can serve it without ice. However, chilling the cocktail brings out the best flavors, especially the spicy kick from the ginger.

Is this cocktail suitable for people who don't frequently consume alcohol?

The Lights Out cocktail has a strong whiskey base, so it may not be to the liking of those who only consume alcohol lightly. The Alcohol By Volume (ABV) is around 25%, which is moderately strong.

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