What is a Fog Cutter?
This classic tiki cocktail defines the Trader Vic, Don the Beachcomber era of stolen recipes and bartender espionage of the late 30s and 40s.
These legendary bartenders were alleged to send ‘trainees’ to each other’s establishments to learn and steal recipes.
But this rivalry helped fuel the popularity and the refining of these drinks, especially The Fog Cutter.
Even the mystery of its name is a point of contention. Some say it’s a reference to San Francisco’s famous foggy bay and others declaring it’s named after a type of diving knife.
Tiki drinks tend to be characterful by nature, but the recipe for a Fog Cutter is particularly quirky as it calls for a unique mix of gin, brandy, sherry and the all important sugar cane spirit, rum.
As with many classic cocktails, the recipe itself is a hot topic.
Here at The Cocktail Society we’ve found a version of this drink we really enjoy, so of course it’s only fair that we share it with you.
One of the big debates surrounding a Fog Cutter recipe is: to orgeat, or not to orgeat?
In our humble opinion, it has to be orgeat, the sweet syrup made with almonds.
By all means make sure you omit this sweet ingredient if you have a nut allergy or don’t like nutty notes in your mixed drinks.
But by using orgeat you tap into that iconic tiki taste which has had patrons at bars asking their bartenders “what is that flavour!?” in elation for decades.
You can buy this syrup online or just as easily make some at home.
Don’t worry about making too much as a little bottle of homemade, creamy orgeat makes for a thoughtful gift. We enjoy Sasha Petraske’s orgeat syrup recipe.
Once you’ve got yourself some delicious orgeat it’s time to get shaking and mix up the Fog Cutter recipe.
How to make the Fog Cutter recipe
Fog Cutter Cocktail Recipe Ingredients
15ml Lemon Juice
45ml Orange Juice
15ml Orgeat Syrup
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add all of the ingredients above, apart from the sherry.
Shake these ingredients for 15-20 seconds until the outside of the shaker becomes cold to touch.
Fill your collins or tiki glass with ice. Strain the mix into the glass.
Gently pour and layer the sherry on top of the cocktail.
What garnish goes on a Fog Cutter cocktail?
Choose your rum wisely! A white rum is going to allow the other flavours in the Fog Cutter recipe to shine through. But if you want a more funky rum taste, you can use an aged rum.
Aged rum carries more flavour from the maturation process and tends to be more characterful and punchy. But don’t be afraid to experiment with your measurements!
Do you have a sweet tooth? Add more orgeat!
Do you want a more boozy drink? Just use 10ml less orange juice.
What is a tiki cocktail?
Tiki cocktails come from an era of cocktail history just after World War II. They are characterised by their use of rum, and bold fruity flavours. Learn more about tiki drinks here.
What to Drink Next
After you’ve tried the Fog Cutter recipe it’s important to pay homage to the king of all tiki drinks, the Zombie.
Born in the same era as the Fog Cutter, Zombie shares a contentious origin story as rivals Trader Vic and Don the Beachcomber once again claimed to be its creator.
The Zombie is more rum forward and also features more tropical flavours such as passionfruit.
Morgan Carlton is a writer, bartender and cocktail enthusiast.