20th Century Cocktail – Gin Classic with Dutch Cacao

20th Century Cocktail - Gin classic with lemon twist with creme de cacao and white wine aperitif.


50 ml | 1 3/4 › oz Gin
30 ml | 1 oz › Crème de Cacao White
30 ml | 1 oz › White Wine Apéritif
10 ml | 1/3 oz › Lemon Juice

Method: Shaken
Garnish: Lemon zest
Glass: Coupe

Shopping list

  1. Sipsmith London Dry Gin
    or Gin Sul

  2. Cocchi Americano Bianco Aperitivo

  3. Dutch Cacao

The 20th Century Cocktail – gin, lemon and white fortified wine. Plus a créme de cacao. A classic cocktail that has made it into my personal top 5. It’s not loud, has no fancy decorations, no green, no red. It is simply the result of classic cocktail art.

It was 2020 when I ordered a „20th Century Cocktail“ for the first time. And not just anywhere. It was at the bar of Le Lion in Hamburg. I’d previously had an excellent Singapore Sling and thought it couldn’t get any better. I remembered an episode of Jörg Meyer’s podcast „Trinkabenteuer“, which was about the „20th Century Cocktail“ and he talked so highly of this specific cocktail… After a quick order, Le Lion bartender Janine Quandt served it to me.  „A good choice,“ she said, nodding at me. A wow effect with the first sip. The rest of the evening is history…


A British bartender named C. A Tuck invented the „20th Century Cocktail“ around 1937, naming the drink after a train, the „Twentieth Century Limited“. This train connected New York City and Chicago from 1902 to 1967 and was the most luxurious and fastest scheduled train of its time. Its appearance was also a popular advertising motif for Art Deco-style advertisements and posters of the time. W.J. Tarling published the cocktail in the „Café Royal Cocktail Book“ in 1937.


Preparing the „20th Century Cocktail“ is a bit of a balancing act. Both in the quantities given in the recipe and in the choice of bottles to use. Let’s start at the beginning…

The gin: As with many classic gin cocktails, the choice of a London Dry Gin is usually a good one. The bar „Le Lion“ uses Celery Gin from Rutte for several of its cocktails. We also use it for our recipe. Other good results are achieved with Sipsmith London Dry Gin or, with a little more citrus, Brooklyn Gin and Gin Sul.

The Crème de Cacao: There are several manufacturers of Crème de Cacao on the market. But there is a special variety among the clear cocoa liqueurs. And Le Lion Chef Meyer comes into play again. Together with the Dutch company De Kuyper, he has created the Dutch Cacao liqueur. Meyer himself would be lying if the Dutch Cacao was not born out of his own fondness for the „20th Century Cocktail“.

The white liqueur wine: You can use the well-known Lillet. But! A Cocchi Americano makes the drink even finer and gives it more depth. I also like it very much in the 20th Century Cocktail. 

More classic cocktails?!

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