Twain partying in NYC (Courtesy Museum of the City of New York)

Mark Twain knew how to party, and possibly did it too well, having once declared: "Sometimes too much to drink is barely enough." But anyone who says that surely has something good in his glass, and in 1874 that something good was a whiskey drink.

According to this Savory post, he penned a letter to his wife Olivia in 1874, while he was in London, telling her about his new favorite drink:

“Livy my darling, I want you to be sure and remember to have, in the bathroom when I arrive, a bottle of Scotch Whiskey, a lemon, some crushed sugar, and a bottle of Angostura bitters. Ever since I have been in London I have taken in a wine glass what is called a cock-tail (made with those ingredients) before breakfast, before dinner, and just before going to bed.”

Here's that recipe for you... serve it in a wine glass for authenticity.

Mark Twain Cocktail

  • 1.5 oz Scotch Whiskey
  • .75 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1 oz Simple Syrup
  • 2 Dashes Angostura Bitters
  • Lemon Twist for Garnish
  • Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with a Lemon Twist.

And wash it all down with some wisdom from Twain himself, who had plenty to say about the New Year:

  • "New Year's Day: Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual."
  • "Yesterday, everybody smoked his last cigar, took his last drink and swore his last oath. Today, we are a pious and exemplary community. Thirty days from now, we shall have cast our reformation to the winds and gone to cutting our ancient shortcomings considerably shorter than ever."
  • "A new oath holds pretty well; but... when it is become old, and frayed out, and damaged by a dozen annual retryings of its remains, it ceases to be serviceable; any little strain will snap it."
  • "New Year's is a harmless annual institution, of no particular use to anybody save as a scapegoat for promiscuous drunks, and friendly calls and humbug resolutions."