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Try the modern classic Naked and Famous cocktail! This mezcal and Aperol drink balances with smoke, sunshine, spice, and citrus with layers of unexpected complexity.

Naked and Famous cocktail
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Some cocktail recipes make us sit up and take notice, and this is one of them. The Naked and Famous cocktail is as impressive as its name, from first sip! It’s got only four ingredients but balances the perfect harmony of smoky, citrus, bitter, and sweet. This modern cocktail was created in 2011, but it’s a riff on a famous classic cocktail we love. As certified mixologists with over 300 cocktail recipes in our library, this one stands out. It’s crisp, fresh, modern with a retro flair—in fact, it might be kind of perfect.

What’s a Naked and Famous cocktail?

The Naked and Famous cocktail is a mixed drink made with equal parts mezcal, Chartreuse, Aperol, and lime juice. It was invented in 2011 by bartender Joaquín Simó while working at the bar Death and Co in New York City. He’s said to have claimed that this drink is the “love child” of the Last Word and the Paper Plane.

Some modern classic cocktails go on to become “canonized” by the International Bartender Association’s IBA official cocktails, a list that includes all the classic cocktails (Martini, Manhattan, Whiskey Sour, Old Fashioned and all the greats). A few new cocktails have made the list, and the Naked and Famous is one of them! The official ingredients in a Naked and Famous are 1 ounce each of:

  • Mezcal
  • Chartreuse (yellow Chartreuse for the IBA official version)
  • Aperol
  • Lime juice
Naked and Famous Cocktail

The equal parts cocktail: like the Last Word

An equal parts cocktail is one of our favorite formulas for a cocktail, mostly because it’s easy to remember! When you’ve made as many cocktails as we have, you start to notice patterns. As you can see below, there’s a long historical tradition in this formula. Here are a few well-known equal parts cocktails like the Naked and Famous:

  • Negroni: Invented in 1920’s, it features equal parts gin, red vermouth and Campari.
  • Last Word: Invented in 1916, it uses equal parts gin, maraschino, Chartreuse, and lime.
  • Bijou Cocktail: Invented in 1890’s, it stars equal parts gin, sweet vermouth, and Chartreuse.
  • Paper Plane: Invented in 2007, this modern classic boasts equal parts bourbon, Campari, amaro and lemon.

Another related drink is the Division Bell, which also features mezcal and Aperol (just not in the equal parts ratio). Now, let’s talk through some of the ingredients in the Naked and Famous, shall we?

Chartreuse

What is Chartreuse liqueur?

The most unique ingredient in a Naked and Famous cocktail that you might not have already is Chartreuse. What is it and is it worth buying? Here’s what to know:

  • Chartreuse is an herbal liqueur that’s been made by French monks since the mid-1700’s. It’s made by aging alcohol with a secret blend of 130 plants (yes, that’s a fact!). Chartreuse liqueur comes in two colors: green and yellow.
  • What cocktails use Chartreuse? There are several famous Chartreuse cocktails. Green Chartreuse is featured in two iconic classic cocktails, the Last Word and Bijou. It’s also used in a Fernet Sour.
  • Do you really need yellow Chartreuse for this recipe? Yes and no. If you want to make the authentic Naked and Famous, you can try to find yellow. But since most other well-known cocktails only use green Chartreuse, we customized our recipe to use either version.
Aperol

Aperol adds bitter complexity

If you’re considering making this cocktail, you probably know Aperol. It’s an Italian bitter aperitif with a bright orange color and lightly sweet, citrusy flavor. Aperol is most commonly used in the popular Aperol spritz. It tastes lightly sweet, bitter, and balanced, with notes of herbs and citrus.

Another famous Italian aperitif you might know is Campari, the main ingredient in a Negroni. Campari was the first ever aperitif invented in Italy in the 1860’s. Aperol came along in 1919, and it was later bought by the Campari company in the 1990’s. The light flavor of Aperol is much more approachable than bitter Campari, in our opinion.

Mezcal

Mezcal balances it with a wisp of smoke

The last liquor in the Naked and Famous cocktail is mezcal. Mezcal is a famous Mexican alcohol made from the agave plant. If you’ve had a drink at a bar in the last 5 years, you’ve probably tried something with mezcal in it! It’s absolutely worth adding to your collection. Here are some notes on this special liquor:

How to make a Naked and Famous cocktail

Once you’ve got all those ingredients assembled, the rest of it is cake! All you have to do is shake and strain. Here’s how to make a Naked and Famous:

  • Shake: Add the ingredients to a cocktail shaker. Fill it with ice and then shake until very cold. (Don’t have a cocktail shaker? Use a mason jar with a cover instead.)
  • Strain: Strain the drink into a cocktail glass. (Don’t have a cocktail strainer? Use a fine mesh strainer instead.)
  • Garnish: If you’d like, a lime wedge makes the glass more festive.

And that’s it! We hope you find this drink as stunning and fresh as we do. Let us know in the comments below!

Naked and Famous cocktail

When to serve a Naked and Famous cocktail

The Naked and Famous cocktail is a fancy cocktail that’s modern and fresh. It requires a few special ingredients, but they’re absolutely worth the purchase. Serve it as a:

  • Happy hour drink
  • Dinner party drink
  • Guys or girls night drink
  • Cocktail hour drink
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Naked and Famous cocktail

Naked and Famous Cocktail


5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

4 from 2 reviews

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

Try the modern classic Naked and Famous cocktail! This mezcal and Aperol drink balances with smoke, sunshine, spice, and citrus with layers of unexpected complexity.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 ounce* mezcal
  • 1 ounce yellow or green Chartreuse
  • 1 ounce Aperol
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice

Instructions

  1. Add the mezcal, Chartreuse, Aperol, and lime juice to a cocktail shaker. Fill it with 2 handfuls ice and shake it until cold.
  2. Strain into a cocktail glass. If desired, garnish with a lime wedge.

Notes

*1 ounce = 2 tablespoons

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Shaken
  • Cuisine: Cocktail
  • Diet: Vegan

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 and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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7 Comments

  1. Vanessa McCauley says:

    Great! Herbally and bright. I had a drink recently that was too citrusy (for me) so I took the recommendation to dial back the lime and it was spot on for me. Will make this again. Thank you!!






    1. Sonja Overhiser says:

      So glad you enjoyed it!

  2. Laurie says:

    I made this without the mezcal since I personally don’t care for it. I used Hendrix’s instead and It was delicious! I also substituted Avion silver Tequila and that worked too!

  3. Wes John-Alder says:

    This is a pretty cocktail that uses some of the more interesting ingredients in my liquor cabinet. I love the smokiness. This will surely be a summer standby. I might even try it with Campari.

    I found the lime juice a bit overpowering. It masks some of the subtle herbal flavors in the Chartreuse and the Aperol. Next time I make this I’ll dial the lime down to 1/2 oz.






  4. Brooke P says:

    Hi!
    No worries here just wanted to offer a small correction! It says this cocktail is vegan in the gray area under the title. I just wanted to note that Aperol is not technically vegan the dyes in it are made from bugs.
    Some vegans truly do not mind that, but some may!

    Thanks

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      Thanks for pointing this out!

    2. John D says:

      To be clear, neither the Yellow #6 nor the Red #40 dye in Aperol are made from Bugs.
      Historically, Aperol was colored with Cochineal, but that isn’t the practice in Modern Aperol production.

      There are craft Bitter and Apertif makers that still use Cochineal in their production, so be aware of that if that’s the lifestyle choice you’re making.