American Star Cocktail

When planning our Fourth of July celebrations this year Alice and I knew we wanted a cocktail that didn’t just celebrate American independence, but something that was a little different, but also classic. We didn’t want it to scream America (we have the Captain America Shot for that). So I dove into some cocktail research — always a great pastime. Which lead me to George J. Kappeler’s 1895 bartending guide “Modern American Drinks” and the perfect Fourth of July cocktail, the American Star Cocktail.


Fireworks! Stars! Excitement! See, totally works with the American Star Cocktail.

Well, ok, I guess I should clarify. In his original tome, Kappeler actually described the “Star Cocktail.” We’ve taken that basic solid drink and made it a Modified Star Cocktail. That, however, has less of a spectacular bombastic feel of a celebratory name. Hence, we’re sticking with calling this the American Star Cocktail.

How is this one different from the original? It’s different in two small ways.

Firstly, the original calls for Angostura bitters. While those are nice, I thought we’d upgrade it with orange bitters. I wanted to celebrate the American apple brandy-ness. Because ‘Murca.

vermouthshake shake

The second change was that the original calls for gum syrup. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with gum syrup, if you have it, go ahead and use it in this cocktail. However, as I suspect, if you’ve (probably) never even heard of it, then feel free to replace it with simple syrup like we did. (Alright, here’s your old school lesson for the day: gum syrup is simple syrup with gum Arabic in it to act as an emulsifier. If you have it, it’ll give your drink a slightly thicker mouthfeel and consistency.)

Ignoring those two small changes, everything else is perfectly intact!

Oh, listen, between you and me. I know that some people out there might think, “Hmm, I wanna fancy this up a bit and use Calvados.” Cool, you can go right ahead and do that! It won’t be the American Star Cocktail though, that’ll slide you right back into the Star Cocktail — not that there’s anything wrong with that.

This, however, is about America and apple pie and American booze, so go Applejack. Because ‘Murca.

Now, let’s get our American Star Cocktail shining brightly!

garnish american star cocktail with lemon

American Star Cocktail
Recipe type: Drinks
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
  • 2 oz. sweet vermouth
  • 2 oz. apple brandy
  • ½ oz. simple syrup
  • 3 dashes orange bitters
  • Star lemon garnish of awesomeness
  • Glass type: coupe
  1. Put vermouth, apple brandy, simple syrup and bitters in your cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. Shake.
  3. Pour into your coupe.
  4. Garnish with lemon star of awesomeness.
  5. For 'Murca.
  6. For glory.
  7. For good taste.