Rattlesnake Cocktail Recipe

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Rattlesnake Nutrition Facts





Alcohol %:20%

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 Rattlesnake cocktail is a classic cocktail that dates back to the Prohibition era. It was created by George Kappeler, a famous bartender of the time, and first appeared in his book 'Modern American Drinks' in 1895. This cocktail is perfect for those who enjoy a strong, whiskey-based drink with a hint of sweetness and a creamy finish.

How Rattlesnake Tastes?

The Rattlesnake cocktail is a robust, full-bodied drink with a strong whiskey base. The lemon juice adds a tangy, citrusy note, while the sugar syrup brings a touch of sweetness. The egg white gives the cocktail a smooth, creamy texture, and the absinthe rinse imparts a subtle, anise-like flavor.

Interesting facts about Rattlesnake

  • The Rattlesnake cocktail gets its name from the belief that it could cure a rattlesnake bite.
  • It's a classic cocktail that has been enjoyed for over a century.
  • The egg white in the cocktail is not only for texture but also helps to balance the strong flavors.


Whiskey: 2oz

Whiskey forms the backbone of the Rattlesnake, giving it a warm, complex base. Too little and you lose its bold character, too much and it overwhelms the other elements. Substitute with bourbon for a sweeter twist or rye for a spicier kick.

Mary Mitkina

Lemon Juice: 1oz

The zesty pop of lemon cuts through the whiskey's richness and balances the sweetness. It also lends a refreshing acidity. Without it, the cocktail would be too sweet and heavy. Lime juice could be a twist but would change the flavor profile significantly.

Alex Green

Sugar Syrup: 1oz

Sweetness to counterbalance the lemon's acidity and round out the flavors. If you skimp on it, the cocktail becomes too sour; too much and it's cloyingly sweet. Honey syrup is a nice alternative for a deeper flavor.

Emma Rose

Egg White: 1

Adds a silky texture and smooth mouthfeel, making the cocktail moreish. Leave it out, and you lose the sophisticated frothiness. For vegans, aquafaba (chickpea water) is a popular substitute with similar effects.

Mary Mitkina

Angostura Bitters: 2 dashes

These provide a nuanced flavor depth and a hint of spice, integrating all the flavors. Without the bitters, the drink could taste flat. Other bitters could change the character, like orange bitters for a fruitier profile.

Alex Green

Absinthe: rinse

It imparts an aromatic herbal touch and a hint of anise to the glass. If omitted, the cocktail lacks this complex undertone. A rinse of pastis could alternatively be used for a similar, but less potent, licorice flavor.

Emma Rose

Recipe. How to make Rattlesnake Drink

  1. Rinse a chilled glass with absinthe and discard the excess.
  2. In a shaker, combine the whiskey, lemon juice, sugar syrup, and egg white.
  3. Shake without ice to emulsify the egg white.
  4. Add ice and shake again until well chilled.
  5. Strain into the prepared glass.
  6. Garnish with a few dashes of Angostura bitters.

Pro Tips

  • Make sure to shake the cocktail well to fully emulsify the egg white. This will give the cocktail a smooth, creamy texture.
  • Use fresh lemon juice for the best flavor.
  • Rinse the glass with absinthe to give the cocktail a subtle, anise-like flavor.

Perfect Pairings


  • Charcuterie board: A variety of cured meats and rich cheeses can complement the whiskey notes.
  • Spicy nuts: The heat will contrast nicely with the sweetness of the sugar syrup and the sourness of the lemon.

Main Courses

  • Grilled steak: The smoky flavor of a well-grilled steak pairs well with whiskey.
  • Roasted pork: Complements the sweet and sour elements of the Rattlesnake.


  • Lemon tart: Echoes the citrus notes in the cocktail.
  • Dark chocolate: Balances the cocktail's richness and the bitterness of the Angostura bitters.

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What you could change in Rattlesnake

  • Whiskey: Can be substituted with bourbon or rye.
  • Sugar Syrup: Honey or agave nectar can be used as a substitute.
  • Absinthe: Pernod or other anise-flavored liqueur can be used if absinthe is not available.

Explore all drinks starting with R here

And of course - twists🍹

Smoky Rattlesnake

Swap out the whiskey for a peated Scotch to add a smoky dimension. This would suit those who enjoy a deeper, earthier cocktail experience.

Spiced Rattlesnake

Infuse the whiskey with cinnamon sticks or cloves for a warm, spiced version of the original—perfect for cooler weather or as a holiday treat.

Green Rattlesnake

Use Green Chartreuse in place of the absinthe rinse for an herbal punch that's both vibrant and complex. The Chartreuse also adds a touch of sweetness and color.

In case you forgot basics how to make Rattlesnake

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 Rattlesnake

What type of whiskey is best suited for the Rattlesnake cocktail?

The Rattlesnake cocktail is versatile and can be made with any type of whiskey according to your preference. However, a rye whiskey or a strong, robust bourbon often works best.

What is the origin of the name 'Angostura Bitters'?

Angostura Bitters is named after the town of Angostura in Venezuela, where it was originally produced in 1824 by Dr. Johann Gottlieb Benjamin Siegert as a medicinal tonic.

What is the role of Absinthe in the cocktail?

Absinthe in this recipe is used as a rinse for the glass, giving the drink a subtle, anise-like flavor.

Is it safe to consume egg whites in cocktails?

Yes, it is generally safe to consume egg whites in cocktails. The alcohol content and the citrus from the lemon juice act as sterilizing agents. However, if you have a compromised immune system or are pregnant, you might want to avoid consuming raw egg whites.

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