Classic 1950s Cocktails – Shaken Not Stirred

Delicious classic 50s cocktails to serve on your wedding day…

With the end of the war attitudes in the 1950s became more relaxed and fashion became more glamorous. Drinking culture evolved in the same way, and the 1950s saw the explosion of the cocktail. Indeed even on my grandparents’ wedding invite they had cocktails instead of champagne. Cocktail parties were popular ways of entertaining friends and added an air of sophistication. For a full-on 50s wedding then you might want to indulge your guests in some authentic fifties liquid treats.

Some of my favourite classic 1950s cocktail recipes are below:

The Vesper:

This is the cocktail James Bond asked for in the 1953 novel Casino Royale by Ian Fleming.

  • 3 measures of gin (James Bond asks for Gordon’s)
  • 1 measure of vodka
  • 1/2 measure of Kinna Linnet Blanc – or 2 drops of bitters (angostura orange) & 1/2 measure dry white wine
  • Shake with ice and serve with lemon zest peel

Classic Champagne Cocktail:

This is a tasty recipe though you can’t go wrong also with cassis & champagne for a classic Kir Royale.

  • 1 glass champagne
  • Dash of Angostura bitters
  • Dash of brandy
  • 1 sugarcube (placed in the bottom of the glass)


Favoured by Ernest Heminway in the 50s in Cuba, along with the Mojito.

  • 1 1/2 oz light rum
  • 3/4 oz lime juice
  • 1/4 oz sugar syrup
  • Add a handful of pureed strawberries to make it a strawberry daquiri

Ernest Heminway

Apple Pie Vodka Martini:

Vodka Martini is classic 50s (& classic James Bond), but it’s a bit too dull for me. I love apples so this recipe is right up my street, and the vanilla gives it that little sweetness.

  • 3-ounce Absolut Vanilla Vodka
  • 1 ounce Brandy
  • 1 teaspoon of Dry Vermouth
  • A few silvers of green apples


Of course you’ll have to serve canapes with your 1950s cocktails, but I’d opt for a modern nibble since I wasn’t too impressed by the 50s recipes for canapes!

The Mary Martin McBride Encyclopedia of Cooking (1959) says the following…

Canapes are simply hors d’oeuvres served on a bread or other edible base. Fried or toasted bread cut in small fancy shapes, crackers, canape wafers, and pastry bases, are spread with or support a wide variety of highly seasoned foods. Tiny finger rolls, biscuits, and puff paste shells may be substituted for the usual bread or cracker base.

Canapes included things like olives, vegetables wrapped in bacon, pickles…not wetting my appetite that much. For some truly scrumptious recipes you have to check out Tastespotting – my favourite recipe website on the net and one that I use all the time.

Funny that…I quite fancy a cocktail this evening now!!

Have a great weekend everyone.

Also can I just say I have been thinking lots about the awful events happening in Japan & Libya at the moment. I don’t normally write about the news but like everyone I’m sure we are all thinking of those in that part of the world.

Charlie x

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