Widow's Kiss Cocktail Recipe

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Widow's Kiss 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 Widow's Kiss cocktail was created in the late 19th century by George Kappeler, a bartender at the Holland House Hotel in New York City. This classic cocktail is known for its complex flavors and rich, warming taste. It is often enjoyed by those who appreciate herbal and aromatic drinks.

  • The name 'Widow's Kiss' is thought to have been inspired by the seductive and mysterious nature of the drink.
  • It gained popularity during the pre-Prohibition era and has since become a classic cocktail.
  • The Widow's Kiss is often enjoyed during the colder months, as its flavors are reminiscent of a cozy fireside evening.

How Widow's Kiss Tastes?

The Widow's Kiss is a complex, herbal, and slightly sweet cocktail with a rich, warming taste. It has a smooth, velvety texture and a long, lingering finish.

Interesting facts about Widow's Kiss

  • The Widow's Kiss is considered a classic cocktail, with a history dating back to the late 19th century.
  • The drink is known for its complex flavors, which come from the combination of apple brandy, herbal liqueurs, and bitters.
  • It is often enjoyed during the colder months, as its flavors are reminiscent of a cozy fireside evening.


Apple Brandy

Apple Brandy is the core of the Widow's Kiss, bringing a rich, fruity flavor that recalls orchard breezes. At 2 oz, it serves as the foundation, with just enough heft to assert itself without overwhelming the drink's delicate balance. Using less could make the cocktail too subtle, while more might turn it into an apple brandy monologue.

Mary Mitkina

Green Chartreuse

Bright and mysterious, Green Chartreuse lends its 130 herbs to add complexity and a touch of sweetness to our concoction. The half-ounce is a perfect whisper of intrigue—if you increase the amount, the cocktail might turn into a herbal punch. If omitted, you'll miss the botanical ballet.

Emma Rose


Bénédictine is like the secret spice blend in a master chef's dish—an ensemble of herbs and sweetness in neat harmony. Half an ounce is enough to mingle with the other ingredients, offering depth without stealing the spotlight. Without it, the drink loses a layer of sophistication.

Alex Green

Angostura Bitters

Just 2 dashes of Angostura Bitters and the Widow's Kiss gains a hint of spice that ties the flavors together. The bitters are like the conductor of an orchestra, ensuring every flavor plays together harmoniously. Skip them, and the cocktail might taste disjointed.

Alternatives: You can experiment with different brands of Calvados for the apple brandy or try yellow Chartreuse for a milder herbal note. Substituting honey syrup for Bénédictine would change the character but keep the sweet, herbal theme.

Mary Mitkina

Recipe. How to make Widow's Kiss Drink

  1. Chill a cocktail glass: Fill a cocktail glass with ice and set aside to chill.
  2. Combine ingredients: In a mixing glass, combine the apple brandy, green chartreuse, Bénédictine, and Angostura bitters.
  3. Add ice and stir: Fill the mixing glass with ice and stir the mixture until well chilled.
  4. Strain and serve: Empty the ice from the chilled cocktail glass, then strain the mixture into the glass.
  5. Garnish: Optionally, garnish the drink with a lemon twist or a cherry.

Pro Tips

  • Use fresh ice: Fresh ice can make a big difference in the quality of your cocktail. It helps to chill the drink faster and dilutes the drink less.
  • Chill your glass in advance: A chilled glass will keep your cocktail cooler for longer and enhance the flavors.
  • Stir, don't shake: This cocktail is best when it's stirred, not shaken. Shaking can dilute the drink and alter its texture.

Perfect Pairings

Cheese & Charcuterie

A selection of rich, hearty cheeses such as Camembert or Blue Cheese can harmonize beautifully with the herbaceous notes of the Widow's Kiss. Try pairing with a charcuterie board featuring cured meats like prosciutto, which provide a savory counterpoint to the drink's sweetness.


Consider pairing with desserts that have apple or caramel elements, like a tarte Tatin or apple crumble, to complement the apple brandy. Dark chocolate can also be a good match, as it contrasts with the herbal liqueur and brings out the complexity of the cocktail.

Spicy & Savory Dishes

Spicy foods, such as Thai cuisine, can offer a wonderful juxtaposition to the sweet and herbal qualities of the Widow's Kiss. Savory dishes like roasted duck or pork with a fruit glaze can also blend seamlessly with the cocktail's profile.

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What you could change in Widow's Kiss

  • Apple Brandy: If you can't find apple brandy, you can use Calvados or another apple-flavored liqueur.
  • Green Chartreuse: If you don't have green chartreuse, you can substitute it with yellow chartreuse. It will change the flavor slightly, but it will still be delicious.
  • Bénédictine: If you don't have Bénédictine, you can use Drambuie or another herbal liqueur.

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And of course - twists🍹

Autumn Apple Kiss

Swap out Apple Brandy for Apple Cider, introducing a lighter, more refreshing take on the original. To balance the diminished alcohol content, reduce the Chartreuse to a quarter ounce. The cocktail becomes crisper, perfect for fall afternoons.


  • Apple Cider: 2 oz
  • Green Chartreuse: 0.25 oz
  • Bénédictine: 0.5 oz
  • Angostura Bitters: 2 dashes

Recipe: Follow the original mixing instructions, swapping in cider.

Herbal Whisper

Replace Green Chartreuse with Yellow Chartreuse for a gentler herbal profile. Additionally, introducing a dash of orange bitters alongside the Angostura can create a citrus note that's subtle, but present. It's a softer dance of the same flavors.


  • Apple Brandy: 2 oz
  • Yellow Chartreuse: 0.5 oz
  • Bénédictine: 0.5 oz
  • Angostura Bitters: 1 dash
  • Orange Bitters: 1 dash

Recipe: Stir as you would the original, but with the yellow Chartreuse and added orange bitters.

Spiced Widow

Add a cinnamon stick during the stirring process and a splash of ginger syrup to introduce a warming, spicy twist. This makes for a cocktail with a bite that stands up to colder nights.


  • Apple Brandy: 2 oz
  • Green Chartreuse: 0.5 oz
  • Bénédictine: 0.5 oz
  • Angostura Bitters: 2 dashes
  • Ginger Syrup: 0.25 oz

Recipe: Add the cinnamon stick to the mixing glass with the other ingredients. Remove it before straining into the glass.

In case you forgot basics how to make Widow's Kiss

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

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Frequently Asked Questions on Widow's Kiss

What type of glass is best to serve the Widow's Kiss in?

Traditionally, the Widow's Kiss cocktail is served in a coupe glass.

Is the Widow's Kiss a strong cocktail?

Yes, the Widow's Kiss is a relatively strong cocktail due to the combination of apple brandy and herbal liqueurs. It has around 28% alcohol content.

Can I drink a Widow's Kiss if I'm gluten-intolerant?

While many cocktails are typically gluten-free, you should always check the specific alcoholic ingredients used since some can contain gluten. The Widow's Kiss uses apple brandy and herbal liqueurs which are typically gluten-free, but always check the specific brand to be absolutely sure.

What can I pair with a Widow's Kiss cocktail?

Due to its rich aromatic flavours, the Widow's Kiss pairs well with hearty dishes like roast meats and cheese platters.

How does the taste of Widow's Kiss change with different garnishes?

Although garnishing does not largely alter the overall taste of the Widow's Kiss, a lemon twist can add a hint of citrus, and a cherry can add a subtle sweetness.

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