Monterey Cocktail Recipe

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Monterey 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 Monterey cocktail is a classic and elegant drink that has been enjoyed by many since the early 20th century. It is said to have originated in the beautiful coastal city of Monterey, California, where it quickly gained popularity among the high society.

  • The drink is often associated with the famous Monterey Jazz Festival, which attracts jazz enthusiasts from around the world.
  • The cocktail is also popular among golfers, as the city is home to the renowned Pebble Beach Golf Links.
  • The Monterey cocktail is a favorite among those who appreciate a well-balanced and sophisticated drink.

How Monterey Tastes?

The Monterey cocktail offers a delightful balance of sweet, sour, and bitter flavors. Its taste is characterized by the smooth and slightly sweet notes of bourbon, the tangy and refreshing taste of lemon juice, and the subtle bitterness of orange liqueur. The cocktail is both strong and smooth, with a lingering warmth from the bourbon.

Interesting facts about Monterey

  • The Monterey cocktail is sometimes referred to as the 'Golfer's Delight' due to its popularity among golfers in the Monterey area.
  • The drink is often served in a chilled martini glass, which adds to its elegance and sophistication.
  • The Monterey cocktail is sometimes garnished with a twist of lemon or orange peel, adding a touch of citrus aroma to the drink.



Bourbon is the backbone of the cocktail, contributing richness and depth. Often featuring notes of vanilla, caramel, and oak, it balances the zesty citrus elements. Using too much can overpower the drink, too little, and you may miss that soul-warming hug of good American whiskey.

Alex Green

Orange Liqueur

The orange liqueur brings sweetness and the brightness of citrus. It layers complexity without overpowering the bourbon. Without it, you'd lose that playful dance between sweet and sour. Grand Marnier could be an alternative, which would give the cocktail a brandy-like quality.

Mary Mitkina

Lemon Juice

Fresh lemon juice is crucial for balance—it cuts through sweetness with its tangy zing. The amount here ensures the drink isn't too tart or too sweet. Bottle lemon juice is a no-go; it lacks the bright punch of fresh juice.

Emma Rose

Simple Syrup

Just enough to soften the edges of the lemon juice, the simple syrup is the peacemaker between tart and sweet. If you omit it, the drink might lean towards being too sour. A honey syrup could be an alternative for a more floral sweetness.

Alex Green


Ice cools the drink and adds necessary dilution. Shaking with ice chills the cocktail rapidly and melts a small amount of water into it, harmonizing all the flavors. No ice means a warm and overly potent cocktail.

Mary Mitkina

Lemon or Orange Peel

This garnish is more than just eye candy—it adds a burst of aromatic oils to the top of the drink. The nose is half the taste, after all. Skipping the twist means missing out on that first fragrant greeting.

Emma Rose

Recipe. How to make Monterey Drink

  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. Add the bourbon, orange liqueur, lemon juice, and simple syrup to the shaker.
  3. Shake well until the ingredients are well combined and chilled.
  4. Strain the cocktail into a chilled martini glass.
  5. Garnish with a twist of lemon or orange peel.

Pro Tips

  • Bourbon: Use a high-quality bourbon for a smoother taste.
  • Shaking: Shake the cocktail shaker vigorously for at least 10 seconds to properly mix and chill the ingredients.
  • Garnish: Twist the lemon or orange peel over the glass to release its oils before dropping it in.

Perfect Pairings

Cheese Platter

A cheese platter with a mix of hard and soft cheeses complements the balanced richness of the Monterey cocktail.

Smoky Barbecue

Pair with smoky barbecue dishes like ribs or brisket to contrast the sweetness of the cocktail with bold, savory flavors.

Chocolate Desserts

For dessert, dark chocolate or chocolate orange truffles pair beautifully, echoing the citrus notes from the liqueur and the caramel notes from the bourbon.

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What you could change in Monterey

  • Bourbon: Can be substituted with another type of whiskey or brandy.
  • Orange Liqueur: Can be replaced with Grand Marnier or Cointreau.
  • Lemon Juice: Freshly squeezed orange juice can be used for a sweeter taste.

Explore all drinks starting with M here

And of course - twists🍹

Smoky Monterey

Substitute the bourbon with a smoky Scotch. This twist adds a layer of peaty complexity, making the cocktail a great match for chilly evenings or for those who love a smokier profile.


  • Smoky Scotch: 2 oz
  • Orange Liqueur: 1 oz
  • Lemon Juice: 0.5 oz
  • Simple Syrup: 0.5 oz Instructions:
  1. Follow the original recipe, replacing bourbon with Scotch.

Spiced Monterey

Add a dash of Angostura bitters for depth, and a cinnamon stick as garnish. The result is a spicy warmth that will remind you of holiday seasons and cozy nights by the fire.


  • Bourbon: 2 oz
  • Orange Liqueur: 1 oz
  • Lemon Juice: 0.5 oz
  • Simple Syrup: 0.5 oz
  • Angostura Bitters: a dash Instructions:
  1. Follow the original recipe, adding a dash of bitters with the other ingredients.

Herbal Monterey

Infuse the simple syrup with rosemary or thyme for a herbal note. This aromatic twist creates a more complex and savory cocktail that could easily pass as a modern classic at a garden party.


  • Bourbon: 2 oz
  • Orange Liqueur: 1 oz
  • Lemon Juice: 0.5 oz
  • Herbal Simple Syrup: 0.5 oz Instructions:
  1. Infuse simple syrup with herbs, then follow the original recipe.

In case you forgot basics how to make Monterey

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 Monterey

What occasions are best to serve the Monterey Cocktail at?

Due to its sophistication and elegant presentation, the Monterey Cocktail is perfect for formal events, cocktail parties, dinner parties, and even relaxed evenings at home.

Can the Monterey Cocktail be made in a batch for parties?

Yes, you can easily scale up the recipe for a larger group. Just be sure to keep proportions the same to maintain the balance of flavors.

How important is using a chilled glass for this cocktail?

Using a chilled glass is essential for maintaining the correct temperature of the cocktail and enhancing its flavors. It also adds to the elegant presentation of the cocktail.

What kind of food pairings work well with the Monterey Cocktail?

Given its balanced flavor profile, the Monterey pairs well with a variety of foods. You could complement its sour and sweet tones with rich, hearty dishes, or contrast them with spicy or salty foods.

Should this drink be stirred rather than shaken?

The Monterey cocktail should ideally be shaken, not stirred. This is because shaking allows the ingredients to not only mix but also chill rapidly, which is essential for the character of this cocktail.

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