The Craft of Cocktails: 20th Century Cocktail

There are a number of cocktails that I like, but can’t remember how the ingredients go together—or sometimes what the ingredients even are or what the name of the cocktail is. David recognized my plight and recorded some of the cocktails on a wallet-sized paper that I could carry with me. We called these the Little Paper cocktails. My little paper came in handy a number of times. Since some of the drinks are a bit obscure, I’ve given away my little paper to bartenders across the globe, so they could make me the cocktail I wanted and refine their craft in the process.

This week’s cocktail is a Little Paper drink. It’s called the 20th Century. Wikipedia tells us that, “The 20th Century was created in 1937 by a British bartender named C.A. Tuck, and named in honor of the celebrated Twentieth Century Limited train which ran between New York City and Chicago from 1902 until 1967. The recipe was first published in 1937 in the Café Royal Cocktail Book by William J Tarling, President of the United Kingdom Bartenders’ Guild and head bartender at the Café Royal.” Here’s the Amazon (affiliate) link to purchase that book:

There’s an excellent explanation in Chilled Magazine for how the cocktail got its name: The Story Behind The 20th Century Cocktail | Chilled Magazine

Here’s the recipe:


1.5 oz Plymouth Gin

.75 oz Kina D’Or (Kina Lillet)

.75 oz Lemon Juice

.5 oz Creme de Cacao

Build in shaker, double strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with lemon peel.

David observed that “While the list of ingredients can look discordant—I mean, gin, lemon, and chocolate? Really? —the mixture is rich and elegant, much like the train it was named for.” The recipe David made for me substitutes the modern Lillet Blanc for the Kina D’Or. Cocchi Americano can substitute also.

The picture here shows the drink with a small slice of lemon because I like some extra tartness. I pop the lemon slice into the drink and finish up by eating it after it’s absorbed the other ingredients. (Isn’t it a beautiful drink?)

Cheers to you, my dear David—thank you for looking after my cocktail needs.

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