An Excuse to Drink – August 17, 1893: Happy Birthday Mae West!

photo by no-frills marilyn via

Mae West, the controversial movie star, playwright, and screenwriter was born today in 1893.  After a scandalous stage career, West eventually moved to the silver screen where she first debuted in Night after Night and by 1935 was second only to William Randolph Hearst in annual salary.

Oddly enough, Mae West didn’t drink, but she does have several cocktails bearing her name.

Mae West Cocktail#1

  • Yolk of 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. Powdered Sugar
  • 1 oz Brandy

Glass: Highball

Garnish: cayenne pepper

Shake well and strain into an ice-filled highball glass. Top with a dash of cayenne pepper.

Mae West Cocktail #2

  • 1 oz Gin
  • 1/2 oz French Vermouth
  • 3/4 oz Apricot Brandy
  • 3/4 oz Lime Juice

Glass: Cocktail or Martini Glass

Garnish: Lemon Peel

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon peel.

Mae West Martini

recipe from Difford’s Guide vol 6.

  • 2 oz Ketel One Vodka
  • 1/2 oz Luxardo Amaretto di Saschira liqueur
  • 1/2 oz Midori Melon liqueur
  • 1 1/2 oz Cranberry juice

Glass: Cocktail or Martini

Garnish: Melon wedge on rim

Shake with ice and strain into chilled cocktail glass

Mae West Royal Diamond Fizz

recipe by LeNell Smothers, originally posted at Slashfood

Serves two

  • 2 oz Goji-Infused Bourbon*
  • ½ oz Pama pomegranate liqueur
  • 1 oz fresh grapefruit juice
  • 1 whole egg
  • Brut Champagne
  • Hot sugar**

Chill two saucer glasses. Shake all ingredients, except Champagne and hot sugar, to emulsify. Add ice and shake hard, at least 30 seconds. To rim the glass with sugar, take a slice of grapefruit and moisten the outside of the glass. Dip half the rim into the hot sugar. Pour cocktail into glass. Top with Champagne to make a foamy head right up to the rim of the glass. Garnish with two Goji berries left over from the infused bourbon. Put them on a toothpick to the side of the glass, shaping them like two lips.

*Macerate 4 ounces of dried goji berries in a 750ml Four Roses Single Barrel 100 proof Bourbon bottle. Let sit overnight, at least. Strain the leftover liquid through a gold coffee filter.

**Hot sugar is made of 4 tablespoons granulated sugar, ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper and a pinch of unsweetened cocoa.

As a final treat, here’s a classic from the birthday girl herself:



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