Addington Cocktail

Bathtub Gin & The Case For Adjustment, Modification, & Refinement, Part 1

Prohibition was a double-edged sword. Organized crime and bootlegging were bad for the United States but they were great for the world of cocktails. Would we have the cocktails we have now if there was no Prohibition? Questionable. If I had a DeLorean that could take me back in time to the days of Prohibition would I go? Definitely. Would I like the cocktails? Probably, but not all of them.

The liquor choices during those thirteen years of Prohibition were not all the best. Bootlegging and rum-running were all about profits and not the quality of the alcohol; however, there were some like the Real McCoy who were about quality. William “Bill” Frederick McCoy was a non-drinking, rum-running, “honest lawbreaker” who sold his alcohol unadulterated. Adulterated or watered-down booze was only one atrocity done to booze—another is bathtub gin. Gin was the liquor of the day, but “bathtub gin” wasn’t just gin—it could be any homemade booze. Many cocktails were invented to mask the taste of these watered-down or homemade liquors.

Today we tackle four cocktails, two of which I am sure were invented to mask the flavor of bad booze. For the first time we will be attempting some variations, but before we jump right in Eric whips up a couple Buffalo Trace and Sarsaparillas (about a 2:3 ratio of booze to mixer), otherwise known as the Sarsaparilla Springs at Big Star in Chicago. You know when you workout you need to warm-up to get your muscles ready for the workout? Well, this does the trick. Our bodies are warmed up and ready for more.

The next drink in the Complete World Bartender Guide is the ADDINGTON. To look at the recipe you would never know the complex subtlety of this drink.

1.5 oz Sweet Vermouth (Carpano Antica)

1.5 oz Dry Vermouth (Dolin)
Club Soda (Q)

Combine everything (except the club soda) with ice and shake. Strain; add ice and club soda. Add a twist of lemon plus the peel.

At first sip we both don’t know what to think.

Eric: “This is a nothing drink.”
Brian: “The lightest of the light.”


Eric: “I don’t hate it, actually.”
Brian: “It’s pretty refreshing!”

Not a boozy drink by any stretch of the liver, but a perfect drink on a warm day. We forget to measure the exact amount of club soda but it’s about two to two and a half ounces. Some might like more or less club soda. The drink has a small sweet vermouth taste with a nice dry finish. Eric thinks it has a Pimmsy vibe to it.

SCORES: Eric 6, Brian 6.5

We have all had bad liquor at some point in our lives. When you were young what was the first booze you tasted? Peach schnapps? Communion wine? In college you didn’t go out and buy Jewel of Russia vodka or Bambu rum to make jungle juice. No you went and bought whatever was the cheapest. Kamchatka? Ron Rico? All of those were probably an option. This is what I think about when I think bathtub gin. Maybe we should start making our prohibition-style cocktails with lower grade liquor to really get the full effect? On second thought, NO. Don’t get me wrong: I don’t think all prohibition cocktails were horrible—just some of them were.

The ADIOS AMIGOS is a drink that could fall under this category. A drink that is 77 percent booze and 23 percent lime juice sounds like an odd ratio and it is. This is also the only drink that I was able to find some history on. In Jigger, Beaker, and Glass: Drinking Around the World by Charles Henry Baker, he writes, “ADIOS AMIGOS One from the Army-Navy Club in Manila, & One to be Watched SEÑORS!”

1 oz. Bacardi light rum

.5 oz. Dry vermouth (Dolin)
.5 oz. Brandy (Hennessy)
.5 oz. Gin (Beefeater)
.75 oz. Lime juice

Shake with ice cubes and pour.

The Cocktail Quest blog had our same suspicions about all that lime juice. This drink seems to be all citric acid. I cannot tell what else is in the drink other than lime juice. The Adios Amigos is ¡SOUR!

SCORES: Eric 2, Brian 2

Having done the research on this drink we did not feel right letting this be it for the ADIOS, so we make the modification from the Cocktail Quest blog.

SO LONG, SUCKERS (The ADIOS AMIGOS as adapted by Cocktail Quest, renamed by us)
1 oz. Rum (Bacardi Light) 
.5 oz. Dry vermouth (Dolin)
.5 oz. Gin (Beefeater)
.5 oz Brandy (Hennessy)
.25 oz. Lime juice 
.25 oz. Simple syrup

Shake ingredient in an ice-filled shaker. Strain into a cocktail glass. 

This is way, way better. Still a little sour but the simple syrup adds that little bit of sweet to level out the sour. I like this drink but I think that it still needs something more to make it pop. Some sort of garnish. Maybe a sugared rim?

SCORES: Eric strong 6 upgraded to a 7 upgraded again to a 7.5, Brian mid 6.

Editor’s note: At this point we must pause to gird ourselves for the second half of the afternoon—in which we spiral down into desperate experimentation in order to save ourselves.

On the Next Rituals: In Part 2 of “Bathtub Gin” Brian and Eric offer a Bitter Handshake to an Admirable Admiral

Brian Christie


Brian Christie envisions a future where all cocktails are made with natural ingredients and love, where hangovers don’t exist, and where everyone wants to experiment, explore, and enjoy life. As a grip/dolly grip, he’s worked on such shows as The O.C., Heroes, Iron Man 2, Gangster Squad, Horrible Bosses 2, Agents of Shield, and most recently Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. When not on set, he can be found traveling the world in search of new experiences and cocktails. His exploits include drinks in Los Angeles, Tokyo, Chicago, Rio de Janeiro, Muskegon, Munich, Boise, Prague, Phoenix, Dublin, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Sydney, and most recently Edinburgh.

Always drink responsibly!