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Ampersand Cocktail - Drink Slurs And Per Se And Into Tasty Recipe

Ampersand cocktail.

History Of The Ampersand Cocktail

The Ampersand cocktail is a classic mixed drink recipe with brandy, gin, sweet vermouth & orange bitters which was first published in the Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book by A.S. Crockett (1935). Little else is known about the history of the Ampersand cocktail. However, some speculate the name may be derived from the ampersand in between Martini & Rossi, a popular brand of vermouth which is one of the cocktail’s ingredients. There appears to be nothing to support that theory as of yet though.

The Ampersand Cocktail Is A Slurry Of Spirits

Made entirely from distilled spirits & fortified wine with no sweet or sour mixers, its a sneaky sip that doesn’t seem that strong, but is. One too many Ampersand cocktails and you may end up slurring your words, much like this drink’s name* which garbles “and per se and” all together into the once slang and now commonplace single word, ampersand. Would make a good joke lead in for a sober punchline.

Behind The Bar - How To Mix An Ampersand Cocktail At Home

Ampersand cocktail Drink Recipe:

  • 1 oz  Old Tom Gin
  • 1 oz  Cognac
  • 1 oz  sweet vermouth
  • 2 dashes  orange bitters
  • 2 dashes  orange curacao

Combine the Old Tom Gin (or London dry with a dash or two of simple syrup if substituting), Cognac or other favorite brandy, sweet Italian vermouth and the orange bitters together in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled martini, coupe or other cocktail glass. Top off with a couple dashes orange curacao. Optionally, garnish with an orange twist as shown.

How To Make An Ampersand Cocktail Garnish Shape

If you want to get really creative, form your garnish twist into the shape of an ampersand symbol. Start by cutting an extra long continuous strip of orange peel with your channel knife, four to five inches plus. Then mold the orange peel to look like an ampersand by using a toothpick skewer or cocktail sword as the straight part in a classic font style securing the loops as you wrap around. Finally, trim the ends to complete your ‘ampersand’ cocktail garnish and decorate your drink with a 27th letter of the alphabet adornment (see below).

Ampersand Fonts For The Drink Menu At Your Bar - Home & Otherwise

If you’re looking for some unusual or cool looking fonts for your at home bar menu, special occasion or party, both type set and mimicking handwritten script, 17 different ampersands are shown along with the cocktail above. Baskerville is the font style of the large ampersand and the sixteen fonts of the smaller row of ampersands at the bottom are from left to right:

  1. Wisdom Script Al
  2. Vivaldi
  3. Trebuchet MS
  4. Tempus Sans ITC
  5. Pristina
  6. Papyrus
  7. Mistral
  8. Matisse ITC
  9. Juice ITC
  10. French Script MT
  11. Eurostile
  12. Curlz MT
  13. Monotype Corsiva
  14. Caslon Antique
  15. Bradley Hand ITC
  16. Blackadder ITC

Having an alternating drinks menu for your at home bar is a great way to mix things up for your core group of friends and family as well as exposing infrequent guests to new recipes too. Its a common tactic for nightclubs and restaurants to keep things from becoming boring and always having the usual. Great method to keep parties fun at home too.

Variations & Similar Recipe Ingredients To The Ampersand Cocktail

More Drinks Mixed With Gin And Brandy:

  • Anesthetic Cocktail - Cognac, French (dry) & Italian (sweet) Vermouth, Gin, Orange Bitters & Sugar.
  • Boston Cocktail - adds grenadine to a Resolute cocktail.
  • Resolute Cocktail / Resolution Martini - apricot brandy, gin & lemon juice.
  • (English & French) Rose Cocktails - gin, dry vermouth and apricot / cherry brandy respectively. The English Rose drink recipe adds lemon juice & grenadine. Both are garnished with maraschino cherries.
  • Thanksgiving Cocktail - adds dry vermouth to a Resolution martini.


* - Ampersand slurs the words in the expression “and per se and” into a single word. Old school alphabet recital used the Latin phrase “per se” (meaning “by itself”) before letters which could also be used as words, like ‘a’, ‘i’ and sometimes ‘o’ as well. Also, the symbol ‘&’ used to be appended on to the end of the other 26 letters as a 27th and since it was used for the word and, it to was recited with a “per se” in front.

So, using this format, the alphabet was recited as: Per se a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, per se i… x, y, z and per se and. People started to slur the ending “and per se and” into a mumbled sounding ‘ampersand’ and the rest is etymological history. Makes a nice story to tell behind your bar at home as your mixing up some Ampersand cocktails for your guests. Cheers!

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