Bourbon Meets Cachaça in This Lion’s Tail Riff

The Tiger's Tail Cocktail at Bar Beau in New York City.
The Tiger's Tail Cocktail at Bar Beau in New York City.

Some drinks in the cocktail canon just never get their due. And surely, the Lion’s Tail qualifies to be counted among their number. It’s a whiskey sour that doesn’t quite follow the standard path, making use of lime instead of lemon, and with allspice dram to add a layer of rich, warming spice.

At the coffee shop-meets-cocktail den Bar Beau in Brooklyn, owner Claire Chan has taken the Lion’s Tail and made it her own—the “Tiger’s Tail,” if you will—with aged cachaça and a salted honey syrup for depth and body. “This drink has yummy spice and everything nice,” she says.

Avuá is beloved in the bartender community for their premium cachaças, many aged in native Brazilian wood casks, including ones made from the Amburana tree. On its own, it has sweet vanilla notes that play beautifully with American whiskey. “It adds spice and earthiness to the drink,” says Chan. “There are notes of cinnamon, cardamom, and of course, amburana wood.”

Bright with citrus but weighty with allspice and whiskey, it’s the perfect cocktail for any season—including a season that can’t make up its damn mind.

Tiger’s Tail
Use whatever bourbon you like, though Chan recommends Heaven Hill. “It’s a general crowd-pleaser—the most robust and smooth well bourbon in the game, in our opinion.”

1 1/2 oz. bourbon
1/2 oz. Avuá Amburana
3/4 oz. lime juice
1/2 oz. allspice dram
1/4 oz. salted honey syrup*
1 dash Angostura bitters

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well and strain into a chilled coupe.

*Salted honey syrup: Mix 1/2 cup of honey and 1/2 cup hot water and stir until honey is completely dissolved. Add salt to taste, approx. 1/4 tsp per cup of syrup.

Carey Jones is a San Francisco-based food, spirits, and travel writer. She is the co-author, with her husband John D. McCarthy, of Be Your Own Bartender, to be released in November 2018. She frequently contributes to Food & Wine, Travel + Leisure, Saveur, and many others, and formerly served as managing editor at the James Beard Award-winning food site Serious Eats.