Orient Express Cocktail Recipe

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Orient Express 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 Orient Express cocktail is inspired by the famous luxury train journey that connected Western Europe to the Eastern Mediterranean. The train was known for its opulent dining cars, where passengers enjoyed fine food and drink. This cocktail is a nod to the exotic flavors and sophisticated atmosphere of the legendary train journey. It would be enjoyed by those who appreciate a taste of the past and a touch of luxury.

How Orient Express Tastes?

The Orient Express cocktail is a delightful mix of sweet, sour, and slightly bitter flavors. The combination of gin, vermouth, and orange liqueur creates a smooth and balanced taste, while the addition of lemon juice adds a refreshing tang. The cocktail is strong, yet not overpowering, with a lingering finish that invites you to take another sip.

Interesting facts about Orient Express

  • The Orient Express train journey began in 1883 and was known for its luxurious accommodations and fine dining.
  • The cocktail's name is a tribute to the train's connection between Western Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean, reflecting the fusion of flavors in the drink.
  • The Orient Express cocktail is often served in a coupe glass, which was popular during the time of the train's operation.


A few good options for Orient Express are:

  • Brockmans
  • Silent Pool Gin
  • Hendrick's Gin

Learn everything on which Gin to choose


The backbone of our 'Orient Express', gin brings a complex blend of botanicals to the table. It's the head honcho, the main act! Too little and the drink becomes a shadow of its potential, too much and it's a botanical bulldozer. Omit it, and well... you're just sipping on a mixed citrus drink on the rocks.

Mary Mitkina


Dry vermouth - gin's best pal - dials back the intensity while adding herbal whispers. It's like a referee in a heated game, ensuring the botanicals of gin don't throw too many punches in your direction. Forget it, and the gin is left unchecked. An alternative? Try a splash of Lillet Blanc for a sweeter touch.

Alex Green


This zesty friend brings a sweet citrus kick, rounding out the edges and playing cupid between gin and vermouth. It's like that friend at the party who makes sure everyone's glass is full. No orange liqueur? Expect a less harmonious affair. A substitute like a dash of Cointreau could step in to keep the party lively.

Emma Rose


Fresh lemon juice is the tangy referee ensuring the sweet and strong elements of the drink get equal time on the dance floor. Without it, our cocktail loses its zippy zing. Miss out on fresh lemon? You might as well wear socks with sandals – it's just not done. But, if you're in a pinch, a high-quality bottled lemon juice can do the trick.

Mary Mitkina


A twist of orange peel is the flourish on the lapel of our 'Orient Express'. It provides an aromatic garnish that interacts with your nose before you even take a sip. Forsake the peel and the cocktail's charisma dulls. Think of it like leaving the house without your signature scent.

Alex Green

Recipe. How to make Orient Express Drink

  1. Fill a mixing glass with ice.
  2. Add 2oz of gin, 1oz of dry vermouth, 0.5oz of orange liqueur, and 0.5oz of lemon juice.
  3. Stir the mixture until well chilled.
  4. Strain the cocktail into a chilled coupe glass.
  5. Garnish with a twisted orange peel.

Pro Tips

  • Chill your glass before pouring the cocktail to keep it cold longer.
  • Use a high-quality gin for a smoother taste.
  • Stir the cocktail gently to avoid diluting it too much.

Perfect Pairings

Food Pairings

  • Asian Cuisines: The botanicals in gin and the citrus notes from lemon and orange liqueur complement Asian dishes, especially those with a bit of spice or citrus-infused sauces.
  • Seafood: The crispness of the gin and vermouth cuts through the richness of oily fish like salmon, or complements delicate white fish.
  • Cheese Platters: Aged hard cheeses or creamy cheeses on a platter can balance with the cocktail’s citrusy and herbal notes.

Drink Pairings

  • Champagne: For a sophisticated start to a meal, pair with a dry champagne to tease the palate.
  • Non-Alcoholic Ginger Beer: A spicy ginger beer as a non-alcoholic option would contrast nicely with the cocktail's smooth and citrusy profile.

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What you could change in Orient Express

  • Vodka can be used instead of gin for a different flavor profile.
  • If you don't have dry vermouth, white wine can be a good substitute.
  • Lime juice can replace lemon juice for a more tart flavor.

Explore all drinks starting with O here

And of course - twists🍹

Smoking Bullet

  • Add a smoked salt rim to the glass, enhancing the oriental vibe. It's like taking a detour through an exotic bazaar!
  • Ingredients: Replace gin with smoked gin, add a pinch of ground cardamom.
  • Recipe: Rim the glass with smoked salt. Stir the ingredients and strain into the glass. The smoked gin infuses an alluring smokiness while cardamom whispers of eastern spice markets.

Silk Road Martini

  • Bias the balance toward gin, increasing its presence to evoke the spirit of adventure.
  • Ingredients: Use 2.5oz gin, reduce vermouth to 0.5oz, add a drop of rose water.
  • Recipe: Stir ingredients over ice, strain, and garnish with a rose petal. The rose water adorns the drink with the allure of ancient trade routes.

Citrus Caravan

  • Incorporate yuzu juice in place of lemon for an Asian citrus twist.
  • Ingredients: Replace lemon juice with yuzu juice, add a bar spoon of honey syrup.
  • Recipe: Add ingredients, including honey syrup, into the mixing glass. Stir and serve with a candied orange peel. Yuzu brings an alluring depth, and honey winks a sweet secret along this epic journey.

In case you forgot basics how to make Orient Express

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

Insert the spoon into the glass until it touches the bottom. Keep the back of the spoon against the inside wall of the glass, and stir in a smooth, circular motion. The goal is to swirl the ice and ingredients together without churning or splashing.

Learn everything on how to stir

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 Orient Express

What is the ideal occasion to serve the Orient Express cocktail?

Orient Express cocktail is an elegant choice for sophisticated events such as cocktail parties or dinner parties. It's also a perfect after-dinner drink due to its sweet and slightly bitter combination.

Could there be a non-alcoholic version of the Orient Express cocktail?

Yes, you can create a non-alcoholic version by substituting gin for a non-alcoholic gin, dry vermouth for a non-alcoholic white vermouth, and orange liqueur for a non-alcoholic Orange Curacao. Instead of getting an alcoholic kick, you'll mostly experience the cocktail's herbal and citrus notes.

Can I use any type of orange peel or does it have to be a specific variety?

Any variety of orange peel can be used as an optional garnish for the Orient Express cocktail. Different types of oranges will give slightly different flavors due to their varying levels of sweetness and bitterness.

What are other popular cocktails that include gin as a key ingredient?

Other popular gin cocktails include Martini, Tom Collins, Negroni, and Gin Fizz, among many others. Each of them brings out different aspects of the gin’s flavor profile.

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