Three Mile Island Cocktail Recipe

Jump to Recipe ⬇️

Three Mile Island 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 Three Mile Island cocktail is named after the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania, which experienced a partial meltdown in 1979. The cocktail was created in the 1980s as a nod to the infamous event and quickly gained popularity in bars across the United States. The drink is known for its potent mix of ingredients and its radioactive green color, which is reminiscent of the nuclear disaster.

  • The cocktail was popularized in the 1980s
  • Named after the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant
  • Known for its potent mix of ingredients and radioactive green color

How Three Mile Island Tastes?

The Three Mile Island cocktail has a strong, sweet, and slightly sour taste. The combination of vodka, gin, rum, and tequila gives it a potent kick, while the sweet and sour mix and blue curaçao add a fruity and tangy flavor.

Interesting facts about Three Mile Island

  • The cocktail's green color is reminiscent of the radioactive materials involved in the Three Mile Island disaster
  • The drink is known for its potent mix of ingredients, which can make it quite strong
  • Despite its name and appearance, the cocktail is not radioactive and is safe to consume


A few good options for Three Mile Island are:

  • Grey Goose
  • Belvedere
  • Khor
  • Smirnoff

Learn everything on which Vodka to choose

A few good options for Three Mile Island are:

  • Brockmans
  • Silent Pool Gin
  • Hendrick's Gin

Learn everything on which Gin to choose


Vodka acts as a neutral canvas in this cocktail, allowing the flavors of the other ingredients to stand out. It contributes to the punch without overpowering it. If you skip it, you'd lose some of the cocktail's 'invisible backbone'.

Emma Rose


Gin brings a botanical aroma that adds depth to the mix. If omitted, you'd miss out on its subtle herbal notes which complement the fruitiness of the cocktail. As an alternative, you could use a cucumber-flavored spirit to maintain some freshness.

Alex Green

White Rum

White rum gives sweetness and a tropical kick that's essential for the 'island vibe'. Without it, the drink would lose some complexity and sweetness. A possible alternative is cachaça for a similar sugarcane profile.

Mary Mitkina


Tequila adds an earthy flavor that contrasts nicely with the cocktail's sweetness. Leaving it out would reduce the Three Mile Island's multi-dimensional profile. Mezcal could be used for a smokier edge.

Emma Rose

Blue Curaçao

Blue Curaçao provides the cocktail's signature blue hue and a subtle orange flavor. Skipping it would result in a less visually striking drink and a loss of the citrus accent. Triple sec could replace it for the orange flavor, but you'd forfeit the color.

Alex Green

Sweet and Sour Mix

Sweet and Sour Mix balances the drink with sweetness and tartness. Without it, the cocktail might become too alcoholic and less refreshing. Freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice mixed with simple syrup can serve as an alternative.

Mary Mitkina


Sprite adds carbonation and sweetness, making the cocktail more palatable and less intense. Without the Sprite, the drink would be much stronger and less effervescent. Any other lemon-lime soda can be substituted.

Emma Rose


Ice is crucial for chilling the drink and diluting it slightly, taking the edge off the strong alcohols. No ice means a warm and overly potent concoction. Crushed ice could speed up dilution for a lighter taste.

Alex Green

Orange Slice and Maraschino Cherry

The garnishes provide a finishing touch that visually enhances the cocktail and adds a hint of fruitiness and color. Without them, the drink would simply be less fun. Consider swapping the cherry for a twist of lemon or lime for a zesty garnish.

Mary Mitkina

Recipe. How to make Three Mile Island Drink

  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice
  2. Add the vodka, gin, white rum, tequila, blue curaçao, and sweet and sour mix to the shaker
  3. Shake well to combine and chill the ingredients
  4. Strain the mixture into a highball glass filled with fresh ice
  5. Top with Sprite and gently stir to combine
  6. Garnish with an orange slice and a maraschino cherry

Pro Tips

  • Shake the cocktail well to ensure all the ingredients are well mixed
  • Use fresh ice when serving to keep the cocktail chilled without diluting it
  • Garnish with an orange slice and a maraschino cherry for a pop of color and added flavor

Perfect Pairings

Food Pairings

  • Appetizers: Look for appetizers that are light and won't compete too much with the complexity of the cocktail. Salt-cured meats or mild cheese platters could be a good starting point. Think along the lines of a simple charcuterie board with some crackers.
  • Seafood: The citrus notes of the sweet and sour mix and the fizz from the Sprite complement seafood well. Try pairing it with shrimp cocktails, ceviche, or grilled fish.
  • Spicy Foods: Bold and spicy dishes like hot wings, jalapeño poppers, or spicy Asian cuisine will harmonize with the potent kick of the island-inspired 'Three Mile Island' cocktail.

Drink Pairings

  • Water: Always a good idea to keep hydrated when having cocktails, especially strong ones like this.
  • Chilled Beer: A good lager or pilsner can be a nice palate cleanser between sips.

🍹 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 Three Mile Island

  • Blue Curaçao: Can be replaced with any other blue liqueur to maintain the color
  • Sprite: Can be substituted with any other clear, lemon-lime soda
  • Sweet and Sour Mix: Can be homemade using lemon juice and simple syrup

Explore all drinks starting with T here

And of course - twists🍹

Tropical Three Mile Island

  • Coconut Rum: Replace the white rum with coconut rum to amplify the tropical feel.
  • Mango Nectar: Use 0.5 oz of mango nectar to add a fruity twist.
  • Pineapple Juice: Add 0.5 oz of pineapple juice for a sweet, tropical taste.
  • Recipe: Follow the original recipe, substituting the white rum with coconut rum, and adding the mango nectar and pineapple juice before shaking. This version will be fruitier and have a distinctive island flavor, perfect for those who want an extra tropical punch.

Green Mile Island

  • Midori: Use Midori instead of Blue Curaçao for a green hue and melon flavor.
  • Lemon-lime Soda: Use all Sprite (2 oz) to top off.
  • Recipe: Substitute Blue Curaçao with Midori and top the drink off with additional Sprite. This twist adds a unique melon zest, making it sweet and tantalizingly green, much like its namesake.

Spicy Mile Island

  • Jalapeño-infused Tequila: Swap out regular tequila with a spicy version for a kick.
  • Grapefruit Soda: Use grapefruit soda like Fresca instead of Sprite for a tart edge.
  • Recipe: Replace tequila with jalapeño-infused tequila and Sprite with grapefruit soda. Shake well and serve for a cocktail with a spicy-tart twist that will heat things up for the daring souls.

In case you forgot basics how to make Three Mile Island

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

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

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 Three Mile Island

What kind of glass is best for serving the Three Mile Island cocktail?

This cocktail is traditionally served in a highball glass, but it can also be served in a hurricane glass or any tall glass.

Do the ingredients need to be high-end or will mid-range products work as well?

While high-end ingredients can improve the quality of any cocktail, using mid-range products will not significantly change the flavor of the Three Mile Island cocktail.

What are some common snacks or meals to pair with the Three Mile Island cocktail?

This cocktail pairs well with spicy foods and traditional bar snacks like nuts or pretzels. It can also be a fun addition to any themed party menu.

Aside from the nuclear disaster, does Three Mile Island have any other meanings in relation to this cocktail?

Within the context of this cocktail, Three Mile Island only refers to the nuclear disaster and the potent mix of ingredients that make up the cocktail.

Are there other cocktails with similarly inspired names?

Yes, other cocktails also have names inspired by historical events, famous people, or locations. Some examples are the Bloody Mary, the White Russian, or the Manhattan.

More similar recipes to Three Mile Island!

Explore new cocktails you'd love!

Please rate this recipe