Rock Lobster Cocktail Recipe

Jump to Recipe ⬇️

Rock Lobster Nutrition Facts





Alcohol content:14%

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 Rock Lobster is a cocktail that emerged from the vibrant cocktail culture of the 1980s. It's a fruity and refreshing drink that captures the playful and experimental spirit of the era. It's particularly popular among those who enjoy a balance of sweet and tart flavors, and it's often served at summer parties or beach gatherings.

  • Origins
    • The exact origins are unclear, but it's believed to have been inspired by the music and pop culture of the time.
  • Popularity
    • Gained a following for its vibrant color and easy-drinking nature.
  • Audience
    • A hit with those who appreciate a sweeter cocktail with a kick of whiskey.

How Rock Lobster Tastes?

The Rock Lobster cocktail offers a delightful mix of sweet and tart flavors. The raspberry liqueur provides a fruity sweetness that is balanced by the sharpness of the cranberry juice. The Canadian whiskey adds a smooth, oaky undertone that gives the drink a bit of warmth and complexity.

Interesting facts about Rock Lobster

  • Colorful Appeal: Its vibrant red hue makes it a visually appealing choice for festive occasions.
  • Versatility: The Rock Lobster can be easily adapted to suit different tastes by adjusting the ratio of ingredients.
  • Cultural Icon: The cocktail shares its name with a famous song by The B-52's, further cementing its place in pop culture.


Raspberry Liqueur

Raspberry Liqueur: The sweet and fruity flavor of the raspberry liqueur adds a vibrant layer and plays the lead in the flavor profile. By adjusting the amount, you can control the sweetness levels. Less of it would make for a dryer and more whiskey-forward cocktail, while more would overpower the other components. If omitted, you'd lose the distinct berry essence. Substitute with blackberry liqueur for a deeper berry note.

Emma Rose

Canadian Whiskey

Canadian Whiskey: It’s the backbone, offering depth and warmth to the spirituous side of the cocktail. The classic 'Rock Lobster' requires a smooth, slightly sweet whiskey like Canadian blends known for their mellow character. Too much can make the drink boozy and harsh, too little and it becomes a raspberry-cranberry punch. No whiskey? A bourbon could work, slightly sweeter and heavier on the palate.

Alex Green

Cranberry Juice

Cranberry Juice: This juice brings balance, introducing a tart element to cut through the sweetness. It also lends a beautiful red hue that makes this drink visually appealing. An imbalance here could either lead to a very tart cocktail or a too-sweet sip—proper portions are key. Apple juice could be a milder alternative but would result in a sweeter, less tart cocktail.

Mary Mitkina

Recipe. How to make Rock Lobster Drink

  1. Fill a shaker with ice cubes.
  2. Pour in the raspberry liqueur, Canadian whiskey, and cranberry juice.
  3. Shake well until the outside of the shaker feels cold.
  4. Strain into a chilled highball glass filled with ice.
  5. Garnish with a lime wheel or fresh raspberries if desired.

Pro Tips

  • Chill the Glass: Serve the cocktail in a chilled glass to keep it refreshing and cool.
  • Fresh Ingredients: Use fresh cranberry juice and, if possible, homemade raspberry liqueur for the best flavor.
  • Balance: Adjust the sweetness by adding more or less raspberry liqueur according to your taste.

Perfect Pairings


  • Cheese Plate: A selection of fine cheeses, particularly those that are medium-strong like cheddar, can complement the bold flavors of the whiskey.
  • Smoked Salmon: The smoky flavor pairs perfectly with the cocktail’s berry notes.
  • Grilled Shrimp: To play on the 'lobster' theme, grilled shrimp make for a seaside match.

Main Courses

  • Pork Tenderloin: The sweetness of the glaze often found on pork tenderloin complements the raspberry and cranberry flavors.
  • Roasted Duck: The rich flavors of duck will stand up nicely to the whiskey in the drink.


  • Dark Chocolate: Chocolate and raspberries are a classic pair; the bitterness will balance the cocktail's sweetness.
  • Lemon Tart: The sourness of lemon will contrast with the sweet and tartness of the cocktail.

🍹 Discover the Top 50 All-Time Recipes! 🍹

Enter your email, and we'll send the exclusive list straight to your inbox.

We respect your privacy and take protecting it seriously

What you could change in Rock Lobster

  • Raspberry Liqueur: Chambord or any other berry-flavored liqueur can be used as a substitute.
  • Canadian Whiskey: Bourbon or rye whiskey could be used for a different twist on the flavor profile.
  • Cranberry Juice: Pomegranate juice could be a suitable alternative for a slightly tarter taste.

Explore all drinks starting with R here

And of course - twists🍹

Rock Lobster 'Baja-style'

Swap the raspberry liqueur for Tamarind liqueur (1oz) and add a pinch of chili powder on top. This makes for a spicier and more exotic variant that’ll tickle the adventurous palate without losing the drink’s essence.

Bourbon Rock Lobster

Use Bourbon instead of Canadian Whiskey (1oz) and add a dash of peach bitters. The bourbon provides a deeper, more complex flavor profile, and the peach bitters add a Southern twist that’s perfect for sipping on a porch swing.

Rock Lobster 'Sour'

Include fresh lime juice (0.5oz) and a teaspoon of simple syrup. Shake these additional ingredients with the others. The result: a tangier, sweeter cocktail with a refreshing zesty kick that brings a new dimension to the original.

In case you forgot basics how to make Rock Lobster

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

Find the cocktail you'd love!

If you want to drink something else - you can use our AI-augmented search to find the best cocktail for you!
Completely free!

Frequently Asked Questions on Rock Lobster

Can I make the Rock Lobster cocktail in large batches for a party?

Yes, the Rock Lobster cocktail is a great choice for parties and can be made in large batches. Scale up the ingredient measurements based on the number of servings you need, mix in a large pitcher, and refrigerate until ready to serve. Remember to add ice and garnishes to individual glasses when serving.

Is the Rock Lobster considered a strong cocktail?

With an alcohol content of approximately 14%, the Rock Lobster is moderately strong. The fruity flavors from the raspberry liqueur and cranberry juice do a good job of masking the strength of the Canadian whiskey, making it an easy-to-drink cocktail.

What kind of glass is best for serving the Rock Lobster cocktail?

The Rock Lobster is traditionally served in a highball glass. This type of glass is tall and straight-sided, perfect for iced cocktails like this one.

Can I use a different kind of whiskey if I don't have Canadian whiskey?

While Canadian whiskey contributes a specific taste to the Rock Lobster, you can experiment with other types of whiskey, like bourbon or Scotch. Just be aware that each type of whiskey will alter the flavor profile of the cocktail.

How do I properly garnish the Rock Lobster cocktail?

A classic garnish for the Rock Lobster is a lime wheel or fresh raspberries. The garnish should be placed on the rim of the glass or on a cocktail stick across the top for visual appeal.

More similar recipes to Rock Lobster!

Explore new cocktails you'd love!

Please rate this recipe