Yale Cocktail Recipe

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Yale 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 Yale Cocktail is a classic cocktail that dates back to the early 20th century. It was named after the prestigious Yale University and was a popular drink among the Ivy League crowd. The cocktail is known for its deep blue color, which is reminiscent of the university's official color.

  • The Yale Cocktail was first mentioned in Hugo Ensslin's 1917 book, 'Recipes for Mixed Drinks'
  • It is believed to have been created by a bartender at the Yale Club in New York City
  • The cocktail has been enjoyed by many famous Yale alumni, including presidents and celebrities

How Yale Tastes?

The Yale Cocktail has a balanced taste, with a hint of sweetness from the maraschino liqueur and a slight tartness from the lemon juice. The gin provides a strong, herbal backbone, while the orange bitters add a touch of citrus and complexity.

Interesting facts about Yale

  • The blue color of the cocktail comes from the addition of blue curaçao, a liqueur made from the dried peel of the Laraha citrus fruit
  • The Yale Cocktail is sometimes referred to as a 'Blue Martini' due to its similar ingredients and preparation
  • The cocktail has experienced a resurgence in popularity in recent years, as classic cocktails have become more fashionable


A few good options for Yale are:

  • Brockmans
  • Silent Pool Gin
  • Hendrick's Gin

Learn everything on which Gin to choose


The Gin is the backbone of the Yale cocktail. At 2 oz, it provides a robust base, carrying juniper and other botanical flavors that define the drink's character. Dial it down, and you risk a timid cocktail; amp it up, and you might overwhelm the delicate dance of the other ingredients. Without it, you simply don't have a Yale — you have confusion in a glass.

Mary Mitkina

Blue Curaçao

Blue Curaçao doesn't just bring a vibrant hue to the party; it also infuses a hint of bitter orange to the mix. The 0.5 oz measure is a tasteful touch - enough to notice but not enough to steal the show. Substitute it with Triple Sec, and you’ll get a similar taste but lose the iconic blue coloring, transforming your Yale into more of an incognito blend.

Mary Mitkina

Maraschino Liqueur

A sweet liaison, the Maraschino Liqueur at 0.25 oz subtly rounds off any sharp edges from the gin and lemon. Skip it, and you'll miss out on a whisper of cherry that plays hide and seek with your taste buds. An alternative could be a splash of simple syrup if sweetness is what you're after, but you'll be nixing the nuanced depth that maraschino brings.

Alex Green

Lemon Juice

Lemon Juice is like the cocktail's zesty alarm clock - it wakes you up but isn't loud enough to be obnoxious at a quarter oz. Leave it out, and your cocktail might just hit the snooze button on freshness. Lime juice could step in as a sub, granting a tart, tropical twist.

Mary Mitkina

Orange Bitters

The Orange Bitters are the secret handshake of this concoction. Two dashes add complexity and a touch of mystery. Forget them, and the cocktail becomes one-dimensional, like a story without a plot twist. No bitters on hand? A tiny grating of orange zest could impart a similar aromatic curiosity but without the bitters' subtle bite.

Mary Mitkina

Lemon Twist

Lastly, the Lemon Twist garnish isn't just there to look pretty. Twisting it over the drink expresses essential oils that bring a bright aroma to your nose with each sip. It's the finishing touch that ties everything together. Without it, you lose a sensory dimension that elevates the Yale from good to great.

Alex Green

Recipe. How to make Yale Drink

  1. Chill a cocktail glass by filling it with ice and water, then set aside
  2. In a mixing glass, combine the gin, blue curaçao, maraschino liqueur, lemon juice, and orange bitters
  3. Fill the mixing glass with ice and stir until well-chilled
  4. Empty the cocktail glass and strain the mixture into the glass
  5. 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 a brighter, fresher flavor
  • Stir the cocktail for at least 30 seconds to ensure it's well-chilled
  • Express the lemon twist over the drink to release the oils, adding an extra layer of citrus flavor

Perfect Pairings


  • Oysters - The briny freshness of oysters complements the crisp and citrus notes of the Yale cocktail.
  • Grilled Shrimp - Grilled shrimp's smoky flavor pairs nicely with the citrus and botanical elements of the cocktail.


  • Blue Cheese - The bold flavors of blue cheese will stand up to the strong gin and the sweet and sour components of the drink.
  • Goat Cheese - A tangy goat cheese can nicely balance the sweetness of the maraschino liqueur and blue curaçao.


  • Salted Nuts - A classic bar snack, the saltiness and crunchiness of nuts will complement the cocktail's complex flavor profile.
  • Light Crackers or Breadsticks - These neutral snacks provide a palate-cleansing effect between sips of the aromatic Yale cocktail.

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What you could change in Yale

  • Gin: Can be substituted with vodka for a less herbal flavor
  • Blue Curaçao: Triple Sec can be used as a substitute, but it will change the color of the cocktail
  • Maraschino Liqueur: Cherry Brandy can be used as a substitute

Explore all drinks starting with Y here

And of course - twists🍹

Elderflower Yale

  • Swap Maraschino Liqueur with Elderflower Liqueur (0.25 oz)
  • Add a splash of soda water This variation introduces a fragrant, floral note with the elderflower while adding a playful effervescence. The soda water lightens the drink, making it an easy sipper on a warm afternoon.

Spiced Yale

  • Infuse the gin with spices like cinnamon and cardamom
  • Add apple juice (0.5 oz) Warm spices and apple juice bring autumnal vibes to the Yale. It's like a cozy sweater for your palate, perfect for when the leaves start to turn.

Yale in Pink

  • Replace Blue Curaçao with Pink Grapefruit Liqueur (0.5 oz)
  • A dash of grenadine for extra sweetness and color The Pink Grapefruit Liqueur and grenadine add a tangy, sweet touch and transform the Yale into a pink delight. It's a twist that whispers 'summer romance' with every sip.

In case you forgot basics how to make Yale

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 Yale

What type of glass is best suited for the Yale cocktail?

Cocktails like the Yale are traditionally served in a coupe glass due to its elegant style. However, it can also be served in a martini glass.

What is the ABV (Alcohol By Volume) of the Yale cocktail?

The ABV of the Yale cocktail can vary depending on the specific spirits used, but it is generally around 22% to 25%. Always drink responsibly.

Can I use any type of gin for the Yale cocktail?

Yes, you can use any type of gin. However, each kind of gin has a unique flavor profile that will somewhat affect the taste of the cocktail. Classic London Dry Gin is a popular choice.

Why is it important to chill the glass before making the cocktail?

Chilling the glass helps to keep the cocktail at the optimal temperature for a longer time, preserving its taste and quality.

Besides Maraschino Liqueur and Cherry Brandy, what other cherry-flavored substitutes can be used?

You can also use a cherry liqueur, such as Luxardo or Heering. Keep in mind that the flavor and sweetness might differ.

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