White Lion Cocktail Recipe

Jump to Recipe ⬇️

White Lion 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 White Lion cocktail is a classic drink that dates back to the early 20th century. It was first created by Harry MacElhone, the owner of Harry's New York Bar in Paris. This cocktail was popular among the high society of the time and was often enjoyed at fancy parties and gatherings. The White Lion is a sophisticated and elegant drink that appeals to those who appreciate a well-crafted cocktail.

  • The White Lion was created in the early 20th century
  • Harry MacElhone, the owner of Harry's New York Bar in Paris, is credited with its creation
  • This cocktail was popular among high society and enjoyed at fancy parties and gatherings

How White Lion Tastes?

The White Lion has a complex and well-balanced taste profile. It is slightly sweet, with a hint of citrus and a touch of herbal bitterness. The gin provides a strong, yet smooth, base for the cocktail, while the orange liqueur adds a subtle sweetness and citrusy brightness. The vermouth and bitters round out the flavor, adding depth and complexity.

Interesting facts about White Lion

  • The White Lion is sometimes referred to as the 'King of Cocktails' due to its elegant and sophisticated taste
  • This cocktail is often served in a chilled martini glass, adding to its air of refinement
  • The White Lion is a versatile drink that can be enjoyed as an aperitif or as a nightcap


A few good options for White Lion are:

  • Brockmans
  • Silent Pool Gin
  • Hendrick's Gin

Learn everything on which Gin to choose


For the botanical ballet in your glass, we'll start with 2oz of gin - enough to lead the dance but not tread on anyone's toes. Gin infuses the drink with complex herbal notes, and skipping it would be like turning a lion into a kitten - harmless and meek. If you swap for vodka, you'll get a White Tiger - strong and silent without the botanical roar.

Alex Green


A sweet whisper behind the gin's loud cry, 0.5oz of orange liqueur offers a citrusy zest, acting as gin's best buddy. Too much will turn your lion into a sugary cub, while too little makes for a forgetful encounter. Triple sec could play its role but without the same flair.

Mary Mitkina


Half an ounce of dry vermouth brings sophistication to your soirée, like a bow tie at a black-tie event. It bridges the gin and the citrus, creating harmony without overpowering. Miss it out, and the cocktail would miss its middle man; too much, and it overpowers the mix. If you have no dry vermouth, a splash of white wine could grace the glass, albeit less dry and defined.

Emma Rose


Two dashes of orange bitters deliver the finesse - like a squeeze of lemon on a fish - it's barely noted but sorely missed. Without it, the cocktail loses a layer of citrus complexity. Substitute with Angostura bitters for a spicier kick, changing the lion's roar to a growl.

Alex Green


Finally, a lemon twist to garnish is the ribbon on the lion's mane. It adds an aromatic allure and zesty oil to the drink's surface. Without it, you lose the citrus crown that adorns our White Lion. Lime could be a stand-in, but with a slightly more tart remark.

Mary Mitkina

Recipe. How to make White Lion Drink

  1. Fill a mixing glass with ice
  2. Add the gin, orange liqueur, dry vermouth, and orange bitters
  3. Stir well until chilled and properly diluted
  4. Strain the mixture into a chilled martini glass
  5. Garnish with a lemon twist

Pro Tips

  • Always use fresh ice for the best taste
  • Stir the cocktail for at least 30 seconds to ensure it's properly diluted
  • Use a high-quality gin for a smoother taste

Perfect Pairings


  • Cheese plates: The herbal notes of gin and the citrus from the orange liqueur complement the richness of cheeses, especially those with a creamy texture.
  • Seafood: Light seafood dishes, such as shrimp cocktail or oysters, pair beautifully with the White Lion's crisp and refreshing profile.

Main Dishes

  • Lemon Chicken: The citrus from the cocktail enhances the lemon flavor in the chicken.
  • Grilled White Fish: A simple grilled fish with a drizzle of olive oil and herbs makes a lovely match for this zesty cocktail.


  • Fruit Tarts: A fruit tart with a buttery crust can mirror the citrusy and botanical notes of the White Lion.
  • Macarons: Specifically lemon or orange-flavored macarons would tie in delightfully with the cocktail's flavors.

🍹 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 White Lion

  • Vodka can be used instead of gin for a different flavor profile
  • Lime twist can be used as a garnish instead of lemon twist
  • Sweet Vermouth can be used instead of dry vermouth for a sweeter taste

Explore all drinks starting with W here

And of course - twists🍹

The Sapphire Lion

Swap the gin for a blue gin, add a splash of peach schnapps instead of orange liqueur, and replace the dry vermouth with a splash of elderflower cordial. This twist will give your cocktail a fruity, floral edge, transforming your lion into something a bit more mysterious and enchanting.

The Pink Lioness

Introduce a rosé vermouth in place of dry vermouth, add a dash of grapefruit bitters along with the orange bitters, and garnish with a sprig of rosemary instead of a lemon twist. This iteration would give your cocktail a flirtatious note with herbal undertones - perfect for when your drink needs to wear a little pink.

The Golden Roar

Use an aged gin for more depth, substitute the orange liqueur with honey syrup, and add a few drops of lemon juice to balance the sweetness. You'll garnish this version with an orange wheel. The Golden Roar is a heartier take on the White Lion, with a richer, more complex flavor profile to savor on a cool, cozy evening.

In case you forgot basics how to make White Lion

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 White Lion

What is the primary effect of a White Lion?

The primary alcohol in a White Lion is gin, which is known for its stimulating effect. However, due to its high alcohol content concentration, consumption should be moderate.

What type of glass is best for serving a White Lion?

While a martini glass is commonly used, you can also serve a White Lion in a cocktail glass or even a highball glass.

What type of gin ideally suits the White Lion cocktail?

A London dry gin works best with the White Lion's recipe, but feel free to experiment with other variations to suit your taste.

Can I skip the orange liqueur if I don’t have it?

While the orange liqueur definitely contributes to the distinctive flavor of White Lion, you could consider substituting it with other citrus-flavored liqueurs.

What are some good food pairings with the White Lion cocktail?

Sharp cheeses, smoked salmon, and grilled vegetables are all excellent choices to pair with a White Lion cocktail.

More similar recipes to White Lion!

Explore new cocktails you'd love!

Please rate this recipe