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The Lion’s Tail cocktail is a 1930’s drink starring the unique mix of bourbon, allspice liqueur and lime. It’s bold, boozy and impressive!

Lions Tail Cocktail

Here’s an intriguing drink to impress cocktail connoisseurs: the Lion’s Tail cocktail! This drink stars the combination of bourbon with allspice dram, a unique allspice liqueur. The ingredient fell out of use in the 1980’s, only to re-appear on the scene in 2008 with the revival of classic cocktails. Today, you can find it at your liquor store or even make DIY allspice dram. The first cocktail you should make with it? The Lion’s Tail.

What’s in a Lion’s Tail cocktail?

The Lion’s Tail cocktail is a 1930’s cocktail that mixes bourbon with lime juice and allspice dram, an allspice liqueur. The first print mention of the drink was in the 1937 Café Royale Cocktail Book, where it states that it was “invented by L.A. Clarke.” But who this person was and how the drink came to be remains a mystery.

This cocktail is a bit unusual, especially with the inclusion of allspice dram or “pimento dram” as it’s called in old cocktail books. (The allspice berry comes from the pimento tree, which is native to Jamaica). These days, you can find pimento dram at your local liquor store, or make it at home. Here’s what you’ll need for the Lion’s Tail cocktail:

Allspice dram

More about allspice dram

Allspice dram is a liqueur made with rum and allspice berries that originated in Jamaica. Its flavor is bold and spicy, with an intense spiced clove finish. It started to appear in 1930’s cocktails like the Lion’s Tail and a few others, and by the 1950’s it was became popular to use in Tiki drinks.

In the 1980s, importation of allspice dram to the US stopped and it was almost impossible to find. But today with the revived interest in classic cocktails, several manufacturers produce the dram.

  • Purchased dram: The most popular and easiest to find brand is St Elizabeth Allspice Dram/ Check your local liquor store for options; you can also find it online.
  • Homemade dram: You can also make your own with allspice berries and Jamaican rum. Go to our Allspice Dram Recipe.

How to make a Lion’s Tail cocktail

The Lion’s Tail cocktail isn’t just unique because of the allspice dram: the combination of bourbon and lime is also a bold move. (Typically you’ll see bourbon paired with lemon.) It’s also intriguing to pair allspice dram with bourbon, since it’s often served with rum drinks. That “L.A. Clarke” was an out of the box thinker! Here’s how to make a Lion’s Tail cocktail:

  • Place the ingredients in a cocktail shakerAdd the bourbon, allspice dram, lime juice, and bitters to a cocktail shaker (jump to the recipe for quantities). Add 1 handful ice, and shake until cold.
  • Strain into a glass. Any type of stemmed cocktail glass works.
  • Garnish and serve. Typically this drink is served with a lemon twist! Here’s how to make a lemon twist using a knife.
Lions Tail Cocktail

More classic bourbon cocktails

The Lion’s Tail is a stand-out when it comes to bourbon cocktails: pull it out to impress friends who may not have heard of this drink! Here are a few more great bourbon cocktails that have stood the test of time:

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Lions Tail Cocktail

Lion’s Tail Cocktail

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x


The Lion’s Tail cocktail is a 1930’s drink starring the unique mix of bourbon, allspice liqueur and lime. It’s bold, boozy and impressive!


  • 2 ounces* bourbon
  • ½ ounce allspice dram
  • ½ ounce lime juice
  • 1 dash angostura bitters
  • 1 teaspoon simple syrup
  • Lemon twist, for garnish


  1. Place all liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker and add a handful of ice. Shake until cold, then strain into a cocktail glass.
  2. Garnish with a lemon twist and serve.


*To convert to tablespoons, 1 ounce = 2 tablespoons

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Shaken
  • Cuisine: Cocktails
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Keywords: Lion’s tail cocktail

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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