Cloister Cocktail

A proper library of cocktail books is essential for exploring and finding inspiration. Many times gems are unearthed that can really get your wheels turning. Or, at the very least help bolster you cocktail menu. While visiting the Zig Zag Café, Robert and owner Ben Dougherty came upon the Cloister Cocktail in an obscure book neither of them had ever seen before.


1 1/2 oz Beefeater Gin

1/2 oz Yellow Chartreuse

1/2 oz grapefruit juice

1/4 oz simple syrup

1/4 oz lemon juice


Shake with ice.

Strain into a cocktail glass.

Garnish with a lemon twist.


Randy Hanson 22 Feb 2011
8:30 am

What was the name of the book?

Dinah (MetaGrrrl/Bibulous) 22 Feb 2011
3:39 pm

Well, a quick Google Books search;=&aql=f&oq;= suggests it was probably Mario Thomas’ New Bar Guide from 1983 or is it Mario Thomas and the 1986 Playboy’s New Host & Bar Book?

As a librarian, I liked that search challenge. As a writer, I bristle at the skipped credit to the author.

Simply lovely choice of glass here, Robert. This kind of mood-matching is one of the big payoffs to an eclectic glassware collection. Most of ours have cost less than $2 each and have come from Goodwill and other thrift stores.

Robert Hess 23 Feb 2011
6:06 am

The book that I originally encountered this drink in was “The Bartender’s Guide to Cocktails & Mixed Drinks” by Stewart Walton. My edition is a 2005 printing but the first edition was 2003.

Dinah, thanks for the search results, it looks like it at least existed in 1993, I’d need to physically check the recipe in the earlier books, since they just list it by name, and there is a different cocktail that uses the same name which we found in “Bottoms Up” by Ted Saucier from 1951


Dinah (MetaGrrrl/Bibulous) 23 Feb 2011
6:31 am

Google Books is such a boon for these kind of origin questions!

San Francisco Public Library appears to have the earliest one: Bar Guide/1,19,19,B/frameset&FF=XNew+Bar+Guide&searchscope=1&SORT=D&1,1,
Cataloging there suggests a 1982 date and the correctness of the Thomas Mario name.

A search on Google Books for Playboy’s new host & bar book, referenced in the SFPL notes on the 1982 edition, shows only the 1986 edition has been indexed by them. Thus, it may be that first appearance of the Cloister is pre-1982.

DM me or email me if you aren’t able to confirm or push back pre-82 and I’ll pay that copy at SFPL a visit for you.

Robert Hess 25 Feb 2011
5:39 am

I had forgotten that I had a copy of the Thomas Bario Playboy “Host & Bar Book” at home. It is a 1976 edition, and it includes the Cloister cocktail as well. So we at least know it dates from around that time, now to see if we can find it any further back then that!

RoyWagner 28 Feb 2011
6:24 am

An outstanding cocktail; such a nice blend of flavors. It “tastes” so much better in an antique fancy glass.

8stringfan 18 Aug 2012
2:37 pm

Just tried this one and loved it.  So often I find drinks with chartreuse to be overpowering in terms of the chartreuse, however, this one blends and balances it perfectly.  Also, I’ve made this with a few different gins and I strongly believe that a good, solid, London Dry is the way to go.  Both Hendricks and New Amsterdam seemed to throw off the drink a bit, and Plymouth (my usual standby) seemed to be overpowered.

Robert Hess 18 Aug 2012
3:22 pm

Alex, glad you like it! I thought it was a pretty good find as well, and look forward to seeing it appear some cocktail menus. And yes, all gins are not created equal. Plymouth is a softer gin, and so is best for cocktails which have an overall softer profile or otherwise don’t have ingredients which might clobber it. Beefeater is a great gin for this, and Tanqueray would work well too.

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