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How to Make a Classic Horse’s Neck Cocktail

Written by MasterClass

Last updated: Apr 7, 2020 • 1 min read

Simple to make and appealing to the eye, the Horse's Neck is a classic cocktail made with either brandy or bourbon, ginger ale, bitters, and a long lemon twist garnish that elegantly wraps around the inside of the glass.



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The Origins of the Horse's Neck Cocktail

The Horse's Neck was originally a nonalcoholic cocktail made with ginger ale, bitters, and a long, spiral lemon twist that runs inside the glass and hangs out the top. In the 1910s, bartenders added brandy or bourbon to the mixture. To avoid confusion between the soft and hard versions of the drink, bar patrons ordered the alcoholic version by requesting a "Horse's Neck with a kick." Today, the Horse's Neck cocktail includes alcohol by default, so it's no longer necessary to order it "with a kick."

Horse's Neck Cocktail Recipe

1 cocktail
Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min


  • Lemon peel, for garnish
  • 2 ounces brandy or bourbon
  • 3 ounces ginger ale
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  1. Use a channel knife to peel your entire lemon, creating a long spiral lemon twist.
  2. Twist the lemon peel around your finger or a bar spoon to make it curly, then drop the peel into a highball or rocks glass. Hang one end of the peel over the top of the glass to secure it in place. The other end should settle on the bottom of the glass.
  3. Fill the glass with ice cubes.
  4. Pour brandy or bourbon into the glass, then top it off with ginger ale.
  5. Add 2 dashes of Angostura bitters and stir well.

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