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  • The Rusty Bartender

Hollywood Glamour in a glass / The history and recipe of the Brown Derby Cocktail

In the golden age of Hollywood, the Brown Derby cocktail emerged as a symbol of glamour and sophistication, enjoyed by stars under the glimmering lights of the iconic Brown Derby restaurant. Join us as we take a trip down memory lane to explore the history of the Brown Derby cocktail and discover how to craft this cinematic elixir at home.

The Birth of the Brown Derby Cocktail:

Named after the famous Brown Derby restaurant in Los Angeles, the Brown Derby cocktail rose to prominence in the 1930s. This iconic establishment was known for its distinctive hat-shaped building and its status as a popular haunt for celebrities and movie industry insiders. The cocktail, a tribute to the glitz and glam of Hollywood, became a signature drink at the Brown Derby, showcasing the creativity of the era's master mixologists.


To create your own piece of Hollywood history, gather the following ingredients:

  • 2 oz Bourbon

  • 1 oz Grapefruit juice (freshly squeezed)

  • 1/2 oz Honey syrup (1:1 ratio of honey to water)

  • Grapefruit twist (for garnish)


  1. Start by chilling your cocktail shaker with ice.

  2. Add 2 ounces of your favorite Bourbon into the shaker, setting the stage for the cocktail's rich and robust flavor.

  3. Squeeze 1 ounce of fresh grapefruit juice, adding a zesty and citrusy element to the mix.

  4. Incorporate 1/2 ounce of honey syrup, a sweet and luscious addition that balances the tartness of the grapefruit.

  5. Shake the ingredients vigorously for about 10-15 seconds to ensure they meld harmoniously.

  6. Strain the mixture into a chilled cocktail glass, embracing the elegant simplicity of the classic glassware.

  7. Garnish your Brown Derby cocktail with a twist of grapefruit, expressing its oils over the drink for a fragrant finish.

The Brown Derby Experience:

With its delightful combination of bourbon, citrusy grapefruit, and honey sweetness, the Brown Derby cocktail offers a refreshing and well-balanced drinking experience. The cocktail's simplicity allows each ingredient to shine, creating a taste reminiscent of Hollywood's golden era.


The Brown Derby cocktail stands as a testament to the allure and sophistication of 1930s Hollywood. Whether you're a cinephile, a cocktail enthusiast, or simply someone looking to enjoy a taste of classic Hollywood glamour, the Brown Derby is a must-try. So, channel your inner movie star, gather your ingredients, and savor the elegance of this timeless cocktail. Cheers to the magic of the Brown Derby!

Cheers Rusty

Watch me make it here.

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