Spencer Cocktail Recipe

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Spencer 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 Spencer Cocktail is a classic drink that dates back to the early 20th century. It was named after the famous British actor, Spencer Tracy, who was known for his love of fine cocktails. This drink is perfect for those who appreciate a well-balanced and sophisticated cocktail.

  • The Spencer Cocktail gained popularity in the 1930s and 1940s
  • It is often associated with Hollywood glamour and sophistication
  • Fans of classic cocktails and film history will appreciate this drink

How Spencer Tastes?

The Spencer Cocktail is a delightful mix of sweet, sour, and bitter flavors. It has a smooth, velvety texture with a hint of citrus and herbal notes. The overall taste is well-balanced and elegant.

Interesting facts about Spencer

  • The Spencer Cocktail is sometimes referred to as the 'Hollywood Cocktail' due to its association with Spencer Tracy and the golden age of cinema
  • The drink is often served in a chilled coupe glass, which was the preferred glassware of the time
  • The Spencer Cocktail is a versatile drink that can be enjoyed before or after dinner, making it a great choice for any occasion


A few good options for Spencer are:

  • Brockmans
  • Silent Pool Gin
  • Hendrick's Gin

Learn everything on which Gin to choose


A robust 2oz pour is like the foundation of a house: strong and essential. Gin brings its botanical bouquet to the party, setting the tone with juniper and other herbaceous notes. Too little gin, you're sipping on a weak handshake; too much, and you’re in pine tree territory. No gin? That’s not a Spencer, that's an existential crisis in a glass.

Mary Mitkina


At 0.75oz, lemon juice is the zesty friend who lights up the room. It zips through the richness of the egg white and balances the sweetness. Less juice, and you're missing the spark; more juice, you're puckering more than a grandmother at a family reunion. No lemon juice means flatness and a serious need for some zing.

Alex Green


A sweet 0.5oz of maple syrup is like a hug in liquid form - its rich sweetness speaks of autumnal comfort. Too little, and the cocktail lacks its cozy sweater; too much, and it's like a sugar rush on a brisk fall day. No syrup? It’s like skipping dessert, and who would want that?

Emma Rose


The 0.5oz of Aperol slides in with its chic, bitter-orange swag. Lesser quantities will get lost like a tourist without a map, while excess takes over, like an overbearing tour guide. Skipping Aperol is like missing the sun set – the drink loses a layer of complexity and color.

Mary Mitkina


One glorious egg white creates a silky, foamy cap - the foam party of the cocktail world. Skimp on it, and you get a feeble foam; too generous, and the drink is wearing a foam hat that’s too big. No egg white, and it's farewell to the velvety texture that cradles the soul (of the drink, I mean).

Alex Green


Finally, the garnish - a lemon twist isn't just for good looks. It's that final spritz of citrus oil that lights up the whole glass from above. A drink without a twist is like a star without its twinkle, truly a missed opportunity to shine.

Emma Rose

Recipe. How to make Spencer Drink

  1. Chill a coupe glass in the freezer
  2. Combine the gin, lemon juice, maple syrup, Aperol, and egg white in a cocktail shaker
  3. Dry shake (without ice) for 15-20 seconds to emulsify the egg white
  4. Add ice to the shaker and shake again for another 15-20 seconds
  5. Double strain the mixture into the chilled coupe glass
  6. Garnish with a lemon twist, expressing the oils over the drink and placing it on the rim of the glass

Pro Tips

  • Use fresh lemon juice for the best flavor
  • Double strain the cocktail to ensure a smooth texture
  • Express the lemon oils over the drink for an extra citrus kick

Perfect Pairings


  • Charcuterie Boards: The acidity and slight sweetness of the cocktail can cut through fatty meats and cheeses, balancing the palate.
  • Bruschetta: The fruity notes of tomato and basil can complement the citrus and botanicals in the cocktail.

Main Courses

  • Grilled Salmon: The bright flavors of lemon in the cocktail can pair wonderfully with the richness of salmon.
  • Chicken Piccata: The lemony sauce of the dish echoes the lemon notes in the Spencer cocktail, creating a harmonious taste experience.


  • Lemon Tart: The tartness of both the dessert and cocktail can enhance each other, creating a zesty and satisfying flavor profile.
  • Maple Pecan Pie: The maple syrup in the cocktail aligns with the sweet maple flavors in the pie.

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What you could change in Spencer

  • Gin: Can be substituted with vodka for a less botanical flavor
  • Maple Syrup: Honey or agave syrup can be used as a substitute
  • Aperol: Campari can be used for a more bitter taste

Explore all drinks starting with S here

And of course - twists🍹

Cinnamon Spencer

  • Substitute maple syrup with cinnamon syrup.
  • Include a cinnamon stick as garnish along with the lemon twist. The cinnamon adds a spicier and more aromatic dimension that complements the herbal gin beautifully, warming the soul on cooler evenings.

Berry Spencer

  • Muddle a few fresh raspberries in the shaker before adding other ingredients.
  • Garnish with a skewered raspberry and lemon twist. Fresh raspberries introduce a fruity and tart counterpoint that brightens the cocktail and adds a pop of color, making it perfect for summer soirees.

Smoky Spencer

  • Swap Aperol for a smoky mezcal (just a splash to not overpower the drink).
  • Garnish with an orange twist instead of lemon, and include a small pinch of smoked salt on top. The mezcal twist leads to a robust, complex flavor profile, pairing beautifully with the botanicals in gin while adding a mysterious, smoky intrigue perfect for after-dinner sipping.

In case you forgot basics how to make Spencer

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 Spencer

What is the origin of the name 'Spencer' for this cocktail?

Besides the prominent association with British actor Spencer Tracy, there are no definitive sources that suggest other possible origins. The pivotal role of Hollywood and cinema during the time the cocktail gained popularity suggests that its name may have been a tribute to the actor.

Is Spencer Cocktail suitable for non-alcohol drinkers?

The Spencer Cocktail contains gin and Aperol, both of which are alcoholic. Therefore, it might not be suitable for non-alcohol drinkers. However, mocktail versions of this can be made by leaving out the gin and Aperol.

Can I use other varieties of gin for the Spencer Cocktail?

Yes, the unique flavor profiles from using different types of gin can also contribute to the overall taste of the Spencer Cocktail.

What other cocktails are related to the Spencer?

The Spencer Cocktail can be seen as a variant of the sour cocktail, particularly of the whiskey sour. Other variants include the pisco sour or the amaretto sour, all incorporating a spirit, a sweetener and a citrus element.

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