Murphy's Law Cocktail Recipe

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Murphy's Law 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 Murphy's Law cocktail was created by renowned mixologist, John Murphy, in the late 1980s at his famous bar in New York City. This cocktail was designed to embody the essence of Murphy's Law, which states that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. The drink quickly gained popularity among patrons who appreciated its unique flavor profile and the playful nod to the famous adage.

  • The cocktail is said to be a favorite among risk-takers, thrill-seekers, and those who embrace the unpredictability of life.
  • The drink has been featured in several movies and TV shows, further cementing its status as a modern classic.

How Murphy's Law Tastes?

The Murphy's Law cocktail is a delightful mix of sweet, sour, and bitter flavors. The initial taste is a refreshing citrus tang, followed by a subtle sweetness from the liqueurs. The finish is a pleasant, lingering bitterness that leaves you wanting more.

Interesting facts about Murphy's Law

  • The Murphy's Law cocktail was once featured in a popular TV show where the main character, a private detective, orders the drink to impress a potential client.
  • The original recipe called for a dash of bitters, but it was later removed to make the drink more approachable for a wider audience.
  • Some bartenders like to add a twist of lemon or orange peel as a garnish to enhance the citrus notes in the drink.


A few good options for Murphy's Law are:

  • Grey Goose
  • Belvedere
  • Khor
  • Smirnoff

Learn everything on which Vodka to choose


The neutral character of 1.5 oz of vodka gives the cocktail its alcoholic backbone without overpowering other flavors. It's a canvas that lets the other ingredients paint their flavors vividly. Too much, and you risk a boozy overkill; too little, and the cocktail could become a sweet sipper without the punch.

Mary Mitkina

Orange Liqueur

At 0.5 oz, the orange liqueur brings a zesty sweetness and depth that complements the citrus notes. It's the life of the party – skip it, and you’ll miss some complexity. A swap for triple sec could make it drier; a richer Grand Marnier would adorn it with a velvet sash of complexity.

Alex Green


Coming in with a nutty kiss, the 0.5 oz amaretto offers a whisper of almond that plays off the zestiness of the orange liqueur beautifully. Ditch this, and you'll lose that hug of warm sweetness that rounds out the tangy edges. Swap it for Frangelico, and you'll have a hazelnut hum rather than an almond accent.

Emma Rose

Lemon Juice

A whole 1 oz lemon juice is the sharp-tongued friend that keeps everyone lively. It adds freshness, a tangy kick, ensuring the sweetness doesn’t settle into complacency. Less juice, and the balance tips to cloying; more, and you might pucker more than desired. Lime juice could flirt in its place, but expect a greener, sharper tartness.

Mary Mitkina

Simple Syrup

Just a 0.5 oz simple syrup because this cocktail isn’t looking to be syrupy sweet; it's here to whisper sweet nothings, not shout them. If you leave it out, the tartness might take over, but add too much, and it’s candyland. Honey syrup could add a floral note if you’re into that kind of romance.

Alex Green

Orange Twist

The orange twist is the garnish that not only looks snazzy but also sprays a mist of essential oils over the drink, adding an aromatic dimension. No twist, and your nose might feel a bit left out of the party.

Emma Rose


Finally, the cherry garnish adds a dash of color and a fruitiness that lingers like a promise for the next sip. It's the wink across the bar, appreciated but not essential to the love story that is your cocktail.

Mary Mitkina

Recipe. How to make Murphy's Law Drink

  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. Add the vodka, orange liqueur, amaretto, lemon juice, and simple syrup to the shaker.
  3. Shake well until chilled and combined.
  4. Strain the mixture into a chilled martini glass.
  5. Garnish with an orange twist and a cherry.

Pro Tips

  • Always chill your glass before pouring the cocktail into it. It helps to keep the drink cold for a longer time.
  • Use freshly squeezed lemon juice for a better taste.
  • Shake the cocktail shaker vigorously to properly mix all the ingredients.

Perfect Pairings

Appetizers & Snacks

  • Bruschetta: The crisp and acidic lemon juice along with the sweet notes of orange liqueur and amaretto in Murphy's Law cocktail pairs excellently with the fresh tomatoes and basil.
  • Almonds & Mixed Nuts: The nutty flavors of almonds play nicely with the amaretto, and the saltiness complements the cocktail's sweetness.

Main Courses

  • Grilled Chicken: A lightly seasoned grilled chicken would go well with the citrus and sweet flavors of the cocktail, creating a balanced and refreshing meal.
  • Seafood Pasta: A light seafood pasta with a lemon butter sauce could match the citrusy nature of the Murphy's Law without overpowering it.


  • Lemon Tart: The tangy zest of a lemon tart would echo the sourness of the lemon juice in the cocktail, while the crust could echo the notes of the amaretto.
  • Chocolate Truffles: The rich chocolate can cut through the sweetness and citrus of the drink for a luxurious pairing.

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What you could change in Murphy's Law

  • You can substitute vodka with gin for a different flavor profile.
  • If you don't have orange liqueur, triple sec can be used as a substitute.
  • Lime juice can be used in place of lemon juice for a more tart flavor.

Explore all drinks starting with M here

And of course - twists🍹

Murphy’s Law “Sour Edition”

The standard lemon juice is amped up to 1.5 oz, and simple syrup is dialed down to 0.25 oz. This twist lives on the edge, with a sharper, more pronounced sourness leading the charge. Perfect for those who laugh in the face of tangy adversity.

Spiced Murphy’s Law

Add a dash of ground cinnamon and allspice to the shaker before adding the other ingredients. This twist adds a warm, spicy embrace to the cocktail, creating a concoction that feels like autumn in a glass, cozy and complex.

Tropical Murphy’s Law

Swap out the vodka for 1.5 oz of white rum, and add a splash of pineapple juice. Here, the cocktail dons a lei and dances to a calypso beat. It’s sweeter, fruitier, and has a touch of the tropics, making it an escape in a martini glass.

In case you forgot basics how to make Murphy's Law

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 Murphy's Law

Who is John Murphy, the creator of the cocktail?

John Murphy is a renowned bartender who gained fame in the late 1980s in New York City. His inventive cocktails, including Murphy's Law, have been celebrated in the mixology world. However, further details about his life and career are not widely known.

Why was this cocktail named 'Murphy's Law'?

The cocktail was named after the famous adage, 'Murphy's Law', which states that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. It was created as a playful nod to this saying, and it has been suggested that the cocktail is for those who enjoy the unpredictability of life.

What kind of vodka is recommended for this cocktail?

For a premium cocktail experience, it's recommended to use top-shelf vodka brands. However, the choice of vodka can also depend on personal preference. Some may prefer stronger or smoother vodkas, which can subtly change the overall flavor of the cocktail.

Apart from a martini glass, are there any other suitable glass options for serving the Murphy's Law cocktail?

While a martini glass is the traditional choice, you can also serve this cocktail in a coupe glass. Both these types of glasses are designed to keep the drink colder for longer and are perfect for cocktails without ice.

Is there a specific order of adding the ingredients in the shaker?

While the recipe doesn't specify a particular order, it's generally recommended to add the spirits first, then any liqueurs or syrups, and finally the acidic components, such as lemon juice in this case. The cocktail should be shaken well after adding all the ingredients.

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