The Boothby Cocktail

About the Boothby Cocktail

William T. “Cocktail” Boothby was as much a renaissance man, affable scoundrel, and statesman as Benjamin Franklin. He honed his craft as a performer while working the United States as a legitimate snake oil salesman. That experience made him a natural bartender and his book, American Bar-Tender, was emblazoned with the declaration that it was the Standard Authority for cocktail recipes and all the sneaky tricks of the trade he picked up over his career running bars.

After he anointed himself the definitive expert in American bar tending, he appointed himself as a California Congressman by convincing local bar and brothel owners to allow him to run unopposed. After winning a one-dog race, he would refer to himself as “The Honorable William T. Boothby” for the rest of his life. During Prohibition, he was busted for operating a speakeasy and retired from the industry.

When he died in 1930, just three years before the repeal of Prohibition, his funeral attracted hundreds of his fellow bartenders, many of which were shaped by his embodiment of the showman and knowledge passed along multiple editions of his book.

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The Boothby Cocktail

You Will Need:
2 oz              Cleveland Underground Black Cherry Wood Finished Rye Whiskey
1 oz                Noilly Pratt Amber Vermouth*
2 Dashes       Angostura Orange Bitters**
2 Dashes       Fee Brothers Aromatic (Boker’s) Bitters**
1/2 oz            Brut Champagne***
Maraschino cherry for garnish


  1. Fill a coupe glass with ice and top with water. Set aside to chill
  2. Fill a mixing tin with ice and add the Black Cherry Wood Finished Rye Whiskey, Vermouth, and bitters.
  3. Stir to serving temperature
  4. Discard the ice water from the glass and strain the cocktail into it.
  5. Slowly top with the champagne
  6. Garnish with cherry


* Any sweet vermouth will work well.
** Feel free to use your favorite bitters instead.
*** You may also use a Brut Prosecco, but add a little less vermouth to the cocktail.