Black Hawk Cocktail

Robert discovered the Black Hawk cocktail in Jones Complete Bar Guide as well as Cocktail DB. The bourbon adds a great backbone for the acid of the lemon and the sweet and complex notes of the sloe gin to mingle. This is surely a classic.

1 1/4 oz Bitter Truth Sloe Gin

1 1/4 oz Bulleit Bourbon

1/2 oz fresh lemon juice


Stir with ice.

Strain into a cocktail glass.

Garnish with a cherry.


jellydonut 23 Aug 2011
3:43 am

I love the name. The name is bad-ass, the Black Hawk cocktail, ha. We need more drinks with good names. You know, cool without being cheesy. Like the Corpse Reviver and the Monkey Gland. Awesome names.

I look forward to trying this one whenever I can get my hands on sloe gin! (unless I decide to make my own.. it wouldn’t be sloe gin though, those berries don’t grow here. I guess blueberry gin. ugh.)

Adam 23 Aug 2011
5:06 am

Hi, I had to finally join up after watching nearly every video on the side.

Interesting looking and simple cocktail, Robert.  Luckily Sloe Gin is easy to find in England.  Sadly we pay a premium for Bourbon…

I saw this juicer in the cookshop when I was buying.  I nearly got it, but it was £20, opposed to the Mexican juicer at £8, so I went for the cheaper one.  I was also dubious about the hinge being a pain to clean, but I’m pretty lazy!

Keep up the good work.  I wish you had more than one update per week!


Robert Hess 23 Aug 2011
6:31 am

You know Adam, you didn’t have to watch all of the videos beore joining up. We wouldn’t have thought less of you.

I’m not sure if it has the same problem in Europe, but here in America, “Sloe Gin” has gotten a pretty bad name. Part of that is because for the longest time the only products available were far from “premium”. Now that both The Bitter Truth, and Plymouth, have made real Sloe Gin available, we’ll hopefully see it used a little more, or at least get a little more respect.

Mutineer Magazine 23 Aug 2011
10:18 am

This cocktail has a beautiful color, Robert. I’m really excited about what The Bitter Truth has been coming out with but I’ve yet to try their Sloe Gin. I’ll be getting some soon and making the Black Hawk Cocktail!

Danny 23 Aug 2011
5:14 pm

Good to see you squeezing again.  I purchased the Chef’n juicer last spring, and loving it.  I have only used one other type of squeezer, an OXO, that squirted more sideways than down.  I don’t think the Chef’n pro has squirted at all.  Build quality appears to be excellent.  I believe the downward force is greater, and more even than standard juicers, allowing for better juice extraction.

Adam 25 Aug 2011
5:17 am

I know I didn’t need to, but was having so much fun, I didn’t realise I could chat to you lot as well.  I’ve learnt lots and hope to learn more.

Gordon’s Sloe is available in big supermarkets over here and usually on offer as it obviously doesn’t sell too well.  I can’t comment on it other than we use it in a Champagne cocktail at work.  Seems pleasant enough in that drink.

blair frodelius 26 Aug 2011
5:25 am


I wonder if Stan Jones made this drink with the poor quality sloe gins available back i the day.  It would certainly make for a sweeter cocktail.

What is the name of the large orange coloured juicer you showed, but is no longer made? 

Lastly, I cannot recommend The Bitter Truth product line highly enough.  Each of their liqueurs, amaros and bitters are in regular use in my home bar!



Robert Hess 26 Aug 2011
6:14 am

Frankly I doubt that Stan Jones even attempted to make all of the drinks in his big book. As I recall, there are over 4,000 recipes in there! However, your point is a good one, in that the Sloe Gin being used back in the 70’s may not have been of the same caliber as some of the craft products available today, which would have made a difference in the drink. The same can be said of a lot of products, and is always good to keep in mind when you try some “old” recipe with “modern” ingredients, and don’t think it is quite balanced.

The Vesper is just one example of an old cocktail which we KNOW would have tasted different when it was first created then what it would taste like today due to the change in products

Robert Hess 26 Aug 2011
6:23 am

As for the large juicer that you saw me using in some of “last seasons” videos. It is an “Amco Vintage Citrus Juicer” Here is a little more info:


Adam 27 Aug 2011
5:18 am

I might just chime in from the back and express my love for The Bitter Truth’s range, too. 
I’ve got my eye on some Jerry Thomas bitters on eBay and the Grapefruit and Lemon bitters are on my “list”. 
I was talked into buying the Travel Set and now they go everywhere with me when I leave London.  It’s a brilliant product and great marketing.  I will definitely be topping them up with the genuine product when they run out.  My only complaint it I don’t have a sturdier case for them.

jellydonut 27 Aug 2011
5:43 am

I agree - TBT should either make or commission a third party to make a fanciful wooden case for the travel-size bitters bottles. That would be stylish as hell. Could then be refilled using the current paper box version.

Adam 27 Aug 2011
7:05 am

Well, if you look here, The Bitter Truth have launched a new company for the US, where the Travel Set comes in a sturdier, if overly-kitsch tin box.

Robert Hess 27 Aug 2011
11:38 am

Nice to see that they are expanding out to a US company, I assume this will help them both get their products into more locations as well as at a better price point?

For their travel kit, frankly I think the best option would be for the bottles to be a LOT smaller and be slipped into a soft leather or cloth pouch with individual sections, and would fit nicely in a coat pocket. While I am seeing good bitter selections in more and more bars than I used to, I still often find places that don’t have the bitters needed for a cocktail I’m in the mood for (and sometimes this even means no aromatic or orange bitters). So it would be nice to have a bitters kit that can be taken with you anywhere, and not just in your suitcase.


blair frodelius 27 Aug 2011
12:03 pm

How many of you bring bitters to a bar to add to a cocktail that you order?  I’ve not done so yet, but have at least managed to get a few of my local bars to:

1) Stock orange flower water for Ramos Fizzes
2) Stop using Peychaud’s when a cocktail calls for aromatic bitters (ouch!)

I like the idea of a small leather pouch that can hold several dropper bottles of bitters.  I know that Ballast & Keel Bittering House have made wooden boxes with sections for their bottles, but this is rather unwieldy.  Maybe Jim Meehan could design a bitters bag to go along with his amazing bartender’s bag?



Robert Hess 27 Aug 2011
12:10 pm

I used to always carry a small collection of fairly small dropper bottles (about the size of your little finger from tip to knuckle) with me almost everywhere. Most often using the orange bitters for my Martinis, but often needing to use the Angostura as well. I had a mini of all of the bitters I stocked at home. I haven’t been doing this for a while, for two reasons. First is that many bars now have aromatic and orange, as well as often others. And my bitters collection at home has grown SO big that it would be difficult to pick which ones to bring.

And please no Jim Meehan case… I’d prefer something that is more affordable then that.


jellydonut 27 Aug 2011
12:11 pm

blair, I’m surprised you found a bar that would know what a Ramos was yet not stock orange flower water!

blair frodelius 27 Aug 2011
12:39 pm

@ jellydonut,

ironic, isn’t it?  ;~/


blair frodelius 27 Aug 2011
12:40 pm


The Jim Meehan case was a bit of a joke.  The perfect gift to receive, but not to buy.  :)


Adam 27 Aug 2011
5:17 pm

The new bitters from The Bitter Truth are still going to be made in Germany, but are going to be available in grocery stores, I think.  Something to do with TBT branded bitters being “liquors”.  You’ll understand this better than I.

I don’t carry around my bitters in London, from day today because if I want a well made cocktail, I’ll go somewhere that I know will make me a well made cocktail.  However, out of London it’s the badlands!

When are Moleskine going to produce a bitters pouch?  That would me amazing!

Alex Staherski 2 Sep 2011
5:42 am

Robert, have you tried the Zyliss All-Citrus Juicer?

I just bought one, and I’m curious for your thoughts since it seems to, at least superficially, resemble the style you like.

Robert Hess 2 Sep 2011
6:29 am

I’d never seen the Zyliss before, it looks interesting. I would at least like to see some compression of the peel so as to express some of the oils from the skin into the juice (I have the same complaint about the Ebaloy antique juicer)

Thanks for pointing this product out! I’ll have to pick one up.

Mikkel Holm-Pedersen 15 Feb 2016
1:29 pm

I know just post is ages old, but the first mention that I have found of a Black Hawk is actually in William Tarling’s ‘Approved Cocktails’ from 1936. Although that one is made with rye and sans the lemon juice….

Post a Comment

You must be registered and logged in to post comments.

Login to Comment register new account

remember me