Cowboy Cocktails, Texans? Here’s How For Your Next Western-Style Drink

April 6, 2024
2 mins read

New Book Shows Today’s Adult Beverages Served The Cowboy Way…With A Nod To Its Heritage

By Lance Avery Morgan

Photography courtesy of Cowboy Cocktails

Have you ever wondered about the origins of the drink you’re ordering as you saddle up to the bar, pardner? Yep, us, too. Looking no further with the new Cowboy Cocktails book by André Darlington from Epic Ink/The Quartro Group. Based on trail life after the Civil War, cow towns at the time, and the drinks enjoyed there, here’s an insider’s look at the past that gives you a true taste of the cowboy lifestyle that you can reinterpret now.

With the handy sidebars throughout the tome, you’ll glean some surprisingly cool history about cowboys and their experiences in the Wild West like:

Free Lunch: During the cowboy era, American saloons offered “free lunch,” or small bites served gratis alongside drink orders. A typical free lunch included smoked oysters, crackers with Limburger cheese, rye bread, and sardines. If you want to recreate a free lunch and make it a feast, add salted peanuts, sauerkraut, cold cuts, pretzels, and dill pickles. Crafty saloon owners knew that such salty offerings not only kept customers around longer but kept them thirsty for more.

Chili Powder: German immigrant William Gebhardt first pulverized dried chile peppers by using a meat grinder in the 1890s. The powder was popularized along the Wells Fargo stagecoach line in Texas and became a boon to home cooks and chuck wagon chefs alike. The powder also helped popularize chili as a recognizable dish across the US.

With whiskey, tequila, and gin-based cocktail recipes complemented by some serious cowboy lore, this cocktail book full of captivating photographs will transport you to the rough and wild times of the American Old West.

Here are just some cocktails you can make right now for the next time you see Yellowstone….

Dead Man’s Hand – Bourbon whiskey, agave nectar, spicy bitters, Peychaud’s bitters; fun fact: named for the cards Wild Bill Hickok was holding when he was shot, now called the “dead man’s hand” (two black aces and two black eights).

Watermelon Ranch Water – Blanco tequila, lime juice, fresh watermelon juice, Topo Chico (or club soda); fun fact: “ranch water” is the name for the combination of tequila, lime juice, and sparkling water.

Madame Mustache – Mezcal, agave nectar, Angostura bitters, beer; fun fact: named for Eleanor Dumont, who operated a series of gambling dens across the western frontier (and, yes, also had a mustache).

I’m Your Huckleberry – Bourbon whiskey, huckleberry syrup, lemon juice, Angostura bitters; fun fact: named for a real quote said by Doc Holliday and made famous by Val Kilmer’s delivery of the line in the 1993 movie Tombstone.

Tombstone Tonsil Painter – Rye whiskey, Tawny Port, Benedictine, Angostura bitters; fun fact: “tonsil paint,” or “tonsil varnish,” was a cowboy nickname for whiskey.

We think that every cowboy enthusiast who enjoys a good drink needs this book in their cocktail-recipe arsenal. So, what are you waiting for?

The Gentleman Racer by Michael Satterfield

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