Fog Cutter

When preparing to add some Tiki… er… Exotic Cocktails to my site, I asked Jeff “Beachbum” Berry what drink he recommended besides the Mai Tai. This classic “Trader Vic” creation was first on his list. As Trader Vic himself said: “Fog Cutter, hell. After two of these, you won’t even see the stuff.”


2 oz lime juice

1 oz orange juice

1/2 oz orgeat syrup

2 oz light rum

1 oz brandy

1/2 oz gin


  • shake with ice
  • strain over ice into glass
  • add 1/2 oz float sherry
  • garnish with a cherry and pineapple wedge
  • Comments

    DJ HawaiianShirt 27 Oct 2008
    11:23 am


    I feel that you neglected to explain why we float liquor.  It is so that by the time we drink the cocktail to the bottom, whatever liquor has been floated on top makes it so that the last few sips aren’t as diluted and tasteless.

    Also, why do you still use Bacardi Superior as your white rum?  Better whites are available for cheaper.  Even Wayne Curtis mentioned it’s inferiority in your interview with him.

    Chuck 27 Oct 2008
    5:58 pm

    Since I picked up a copy of Jeff Berry’s Grog Log a few months ago, the Fog Cutter has gone into my regular cocktail rotation.  It’s never failed to be a big hit at parties, even among those who claim that they don’t care for mixed drinks.

    Robert, could you please comment on your use of lime juice vs. lemon?  Jeff Berry, Ted Haigh, & Trader Vic’s own literature all call for lemon juice.  A few years ago, Kaiser Penguin compared five Fog Cutter recipes, again all using lemon juice.

    I find that 2 oz. of lemon juice in a Fog Cutter is a bit on the tart side & cut it back to about 1 1/2 - 1 3/4 oz.  Yours is the first Fog Cutter recipe I’ve seen that replaces the lemon with lime.  I’m quite curious to try the lime variation to see how it compares.

    Bum 28 Oct 2008
    4:18 pm

    Chuck, Robert’s actually on to something here.  Some Fog Cutter recipes do sub lime, which I think works quite well.  Notably, Bali Hai At The Beach in New Orleans used lime in their Fog Cutter, which they called a “Fogg Cutter” ... here’s their recipe circa 1970s:

    2 oz orange
    1 1/2 lime
    1 1/2 simple syrup
    1 light rum
    1 dark rum
    1 brandy
    1 gin
    1/2 tsp almond extract
    8 oz (1 cup) crushed ice

    Put it all in a blender and blend for 5 seconds.  Pour unstrained into a tall glass.

    Good luck getting up off the floor after one o’ these!

    Robert Hess 2 Nov 2008
    1:23 pm

    @DJ : You are absolutely correct, the float of rum on this, and many other such drinks is to counteract the ice melting. I was recently at a bar where they served up their variation of a Mai Tai, with a float of dark rum, to a friend of mine. I noticed they did NOT add straws, and so sipping it resulted in just sipping off the dark rum from the top. I suggested to the bartender that they might consider serving it with straws, and he admitted that they usually do, he just forgot.

    As for Bacardi… I used it because that is just what I happened to have on hand at the time :->

    @ Chuck… You caught me in a transcription error! I got my recipe from Jeff’s “Grog Log”, and so of course it should include Lemon, as it does on my website and my recently published book. In preparing the master recipe sheet for filming (we filmed a whole bunch of episodes in one day) I must have somehow messed up and written down lime instead of lemon.

    Kimberly Patton-Bragg 3 Nov 2008
    9:22 am

    Working in a bourbon specialized bar for four years it took me a long time to learn to respect the myriad of rums, cachacas (my fave) and exotic drinks. I’m afraid that I was another one of those cocktail snobs that placed exotic drinks in line with alcoholic slurpees. Thanks to you and the likes of Wayne Curtis, Jeff Berry, and some of my fave NYC bartenders, I have seen the error of my ways. Now I have started quite the rum collection and am now another exotic drink missionary.
    Now the sherry you floated on top, what type were you using? There are a bunch of varieties there and in some of my vintage cocktail books, the recipes will just say “sherry”. Do they mean dry, oloroso, etc?

    Bum 3 Nov 2008
    10:17 am

    Kimberly, I like to use an oloroso or cream sherry.  A fino tends to get lost in the mix….

    alex brooks 14 Nov 2008
    4:36 am

    The Malayan Fog Cutter recipe served at the Rongovian Embassy, lifted from The Castaways in St. Thomas USVI
    started out with ice in a 16 oz shaker glass then a shot of everything in the speedrail except Scotch and Tequila:
    Vodka, Gin, Rum, Bourbon, Brandy, Triple Sec and Grenadine. Then 2 lemon juice, i simple syrup, shake vigorously, return to the glass. (it might take a little more ice, here) Garnish with cherry, orange slice and a 1/2 float of 151 proof rum. Limit 2 per customer, if that.

    Robert Hess 14 Nov 2008
    5:22 am

    Hmmm… a cocktail recipe that is “...a shot of everything in the speedrail…” sounds less like a “quality” drink and more like a “quantity” drink :->.

    I think I can safely remove the Rongovian Embassy from my bucket list!


    Christopher Carlsson 6 Aug 2009
    6:24 pm

    Last version I had there was :
    Apricot Brandy
    Cherry Brandy
    Blackberry Brandy
    Some OJ, sour mix and some ginger ale to top it.
    Oh , and they took my keys before handing over the drink.
    Last thing I remember

    RichardSven 18 Mar 2011
    8:23 am

    @Chuck: in my experience the confusion about lemon/lime juice is derived from the fact that in the caribbean and latin america what we know as lime is actually called “lemon”. The mother of all confusions is in the Daiquiri, that is often supposed contain Lemon juice whereas Lime is the only lemon available in Cuba (sorry for the lemon-lime confusion :)
    One method to tell the one to be used could be the region of origin of the cocktail (Lemon for US/canada and Europe opposed to Lime Cuba/Caribbean/latin america) but in the end it’s more of a taste preference… just don’t make a Daiquiri with yellow lemon ;)

    Just my two cents :)

    Robert Hess 18 Mar 2011
    8:36 am

    RIchard, yes the lemon-sub-lime issue is a big one when looking through various cocktail guides. A while back I was visiting a friend in Peru, and while there mixing up some cocktails. I asked for lime juice, and he brought in a bottle of Rose’s lime juice… “Why use roses when you have fresh limes over there on the counter?”... “Oh, those aren’t limes, those are limons (lemons)”. I had earlier noticed that in their grocery stores they didn’t have any lemons at all, but lots of great looking limes. So when folks in South America see recipes that call for “lemons” they use limes (limons), and when they see recipes that call for limes they may inadvertently grab roses lime juice.

    Similarly, I have a recipe book from El Floridita in Cuba, with both spanish and english tranlations of the recipes, and through out the book they call for “lemon verde” (limes), which is sometimes translated to limes, sometimes green lemons, and sometimes unripe lemons.

    Ginty 9 Apr 2011
    11:21 am

    Robert, I have to ask if you fresh squeeze your orange juice.  I only use fresh squeezed for lemons and lime, but I find my fresh squeezed oranges to lack a certain “zing” that the tropicana carton juice has.  Thoughts?

    Maybe I’m using the wrong oranges,...

    jellydonut 9 Aug 2011
    7:48 am

    Tropicana juice explanation:

    You’re not using the wrong oranges. You’re merely guilty of using oranges, instead of a company formula taste. c:

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