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Frisco Cocktail Recipes - San Francisco 49ers Strike Gold Drink


The Frisco is a nearly forgotten classic cocktail said to have been the drink ordered by surveyors and prospectors during the California Gold Rush of the 1850s. These miners 49ers got their nickname after the stampede of people flocked to the Sierra Nevada mountains seeking a fortune in gold around 1849.

San Francisco became a boom-town and the city’s Frisco nickname transferred to the drink as well. According to Cocktail - The Drinks Bible, the Ladies Outdoor Art League of San Francisco who were disgusted by the term, started an Anti-Frisco committee in 1907 declaring the term obnoxious and sought to banish it. Have a feeling they may have shared similar opinions about the cocktail habit of ladies as the St. Louis Women’s Club of 1903 did.

Frisco sour cocktail with San Francisco 49ers football team colors.Anyway, all this outrage over the tasteless Frisco moniker for such a sophisticated city may have contributed to the drink’s decline in popularity. Having all but disappeared, the cocktail renaissance of the 1990s revived the recipe (original formula uncertain) and added a sour to the mix.


Frisco Cocktail Ingredients:

  • 2 oz  whiskey (Bourbon, Rye or blended)
  • 1/2 oz  lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz  Benedictine
  • lemon wheel garnish

Frisco Sour Recipe (shown modified as San Francisco 49ers football team spirit):

  • 2 oz  whiskey (Bourbon, Rye or blended)
  • 1/2 oz  lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz  lime juice
  • 1/2 oz  Benedictine
  • 1/2 tsp  simple syrup
  • lemon slice for garnish

Use a juicer to fresh squeeze the citrus as needed. Measure all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes. Shake thoroughly and strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with a lemon slice.

Benedictine is an herbal liqueur with an acquired taste for many. As with many recipes with strong flavored ingredients, you may want to experiment with the proportions and document in a drink journal what your favorite recipe was along with the notes for the next time you’re home bar is hosting.

Traditional recipe presentations call for garnishing with a lemon slice, however if you’re serving Friscos for a themed sports party to cheer on the drink namesake city’s football team, the San Francisco 49ers, you may want to switch to a maraschino cherry. Then the gold colored drink topped with a red cherry garnish will match the San Francisco 49ers team colors on their football helmets and jerseys.

So raise a toast to the 49ers with the obnoxious sounding Frisco cocktail and show your disgust for the tasteless team taking the field against them. The Ladies Outdoor Art League of San Francisco would approve.


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