Nixon Cocktail Recipe

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Nixon 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 Nixon cocktail is named after the 37th President of the United States, Richard Nixon. It was created in 1972 during his visit to the Trader Vic's bar in Washington D.C. The bartender at the time, Joe Scialom, crafted this drink specifically for Nixon. It quickly gained popularity among politicians and cocktail enthusiasts alike.

  • The cocktail is said to have been a favorite of Nixon's during his time in office
  • Trader Vic's is a famous tiki bar known for its exotic cocktails and Polynesian-inspired decor
  • The Nixon cocktail is a variation of the classic Whiskey Sour

How Nixon Tastes?

The Nixon cocktail has a balanced taste, with a combination of sweet, sour, and slightly bitter flavors. The bourbon provides a rich, smooth base, while the lemon juice adds a refreshing tartness. The orgeat syrup lends a subtle sweetness and nutty undertones.

Interesting facts about Nixon

  • The Nixon cocktail is sometimes referred to as a 'Presidential Sour'
  • Orgeat syrup is a sweet syrup made from almonds, sugar, and rose or orange flower water
  • The cocktail is often garnished with a cherry and an orange slice, representing the colors of the Republican party



Bourbon adds the backbone to this cocktail, providing a rich, caramel-like sweetness with a hint of vanilla. Too much bourbon and you'll overpower the delicate balance, too little and your cocktail lacks character. Skip it and, well, it's not a Nixon anymore!

Emma Rose

Lemon Juice

The Lemon Juice is the tart counterpart to bourbon's sweetness, ensuring your palate doesn't get bored. Missing lemon juice? Expect a one-dimensional drink. Too much could turn your Nixon into a sour mistake.

Mary Mitkina

Orgeat Syrup

Orgeat Syrup brings a touch of almond sweetness and complexity. It's all about harmony; if it's MIA, you'll lack that nutty depth. Too much orgeat and your Nixon becomes a sugar bomb.

Alex Green

Angostura Bitters

Just a couple dashes of Angostura Bitters round out flavors and add spice. Think of bitters as the salt of cocktail land - without them, the drink might taste flat. No bitters, no deal.

Emma Rose

Orange Slice

An Orange Slice adds fresh aroma and a citrusy garnish. Without it? You'll sip your drink wondering what's missing.

Mary Mitkina

Maraschino Cherry

Last but not least, the Maraschino Cherry garnish adds a cherry on top, both literally and figuratively. It's that final sweet touch that makes life, and this drink, just a bit more maraschino-licious!

Alex Green

Recipe. How to make Nixon Drink

  1. Fill a shaker with ice
  2. Add bourbon, lemon juice, orgeat syrup, and Angostura bitters
  3. Shake well until chilled
  4. Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice
  5. Garnish with an orange slice and a maraschino cherry

Pro Tips

  • Bourbon: Use a high-quality bourbon for a smoother taste
  • Shaking: Shake the cocktail until the shaker becomes frosty. This ensures the drink is well-chilled
  • Garnish: When adding the garnish, squeeze the orange slice slightly to release some juice into the cocktail for an extra burst of flavor

Perfect Pairings


  • Charcuterie Board: The savory and salty flavors of cured meats complement the rich, sweet and sour notes of the Nixon cocktail.

Main Dishes

  • Grilled Steak: The boldness of the bourbon pairs well with the smokiness of grilled meats.


  • Lemon Tart: The citrus notes in the cocktail find a friend in lemon-based desserts.


  • Camembert: A creamy cheese like Camembert can soften the cocktail's acidity and enhance its nutty notes.

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What you could change in Nixon

  • Bourbon: Can be replaced with another type of whiskey, such as rye or scotch
  • Orgeat syrup: If unavailable, can be substituted with almond syrup or amaretto
  • Angostura bitters: Other types of bitters can be used, such as orange or peach bitters

Explore all drinks starting with N here

And of course - twists🍹

Honey-Spiced Nixon

Ingredients: Substitute orgeat syrup with honey syrup; Add a pinch of cinnamon. Recipe: Follow the original recipe, but use honey syrup and add a pinch of cinnamon with the Angostura bitters. This twist adds a warm and spicy note that's perfect for chilly evenings.

Blackberry Nixon

Ingredients: Muddle a few blackberries in the shaker before adding the other ingredients. Recipe: Add fresh blackberries to the shaker and muddle. Then follow the original recipe. This version brings a fruity tartness and deep purple hue that's sure to intrigue.

Garden Fresh Nixon

Ingredients: Add a sprig of thyme or basil to the shaker. Recipe: Include fresh herbs with the other ingredients in the shaker. This twist offers an herbaceous kick that'll make you feel like a master gardener with a cocktail shaker.

In case you forgot basics how to make Nixon

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 Nixon

Is there a specific type of Bourbon recommended for the Nixon cocktail?

While the Nixon cocktail can be made with any bourbon, a high-quality bourbon is often recommended for a smoother taste. However, the choice of bourbon can be based on personal preference.

Can I make it non-alcoholic?

Yes, you can make a non-alcoholic version of the Nixon cocktail by omitting the bourbon. Please remember that this will significantly alter the taste and character of the drink.

How many Nixon cocktails can I make with a standard 750ml bottle of bourbon?

A standard 750 ml bottle of bourbon yields around 25 shots. Given that the Nixon cocktail requires 2 oz of bourbon, which equals slightly less than a shot, you can make approximately 25-30 Nixon cocktails from a standard bottle.

What does the 'dash' measurement mean in the ingredient list?

A 'dash' is a bartending measurement for liquid ingredients, typically used for bitters, hot sauce, or similar ingredients. It's generally considered to be 1/8 teaspoon, although it's often approximated.

Where are Nixon cocktails traditionally enjoyed?

Nixon cocktails, like many other classic cocktails, can be enjoyed anywhere. However, they were traditionally enjoyed in high-end establishments, bars, and lounges.

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