As legendary barman Harry Craddock put it, drinking a Rattlesnake cocktail with either cure a rattlesnake bite, kill a rattlesnake or make you see rattlesnakes. A classic whiskey drink, the Rattlesnake cocktail dates back to the Savoy Hotel in London in the 1930s and is found in Craddock’s famous book, “The Savoy Cocktail Book.” For this strong cocktail, sweet and sour flavors smooth out the pronounced rye whiskey and egg white gives it a light and frothy foam finish.

Things You'll Need

Squeeze the juice from 1 lemon into a glass. Strain through a fine mesh sieve, which will remove the seeds from lemon juice, into a cocktail shaker.

Add simple syrup to the cocktail shaker, to your taste. Add a 1/2 teaspoon to the cocktail shaker at a time until it reaches your desired level of sweetness.

Crack open a fresh egg and separate the yolk from the white. Add the egg white to the cocktail shaker.

Pour in 2 to 3 parts rye whiskey to the cocktail shaker. You can use any rye whiskey you would like, such as Wild Turkey, Sazerac or Rittenhouse. If you can’t find rye whiskey, use any bourbon, which is more widely available.

Add a dash or two of absinthe, or a similar anise-flavored liqueur, such as Herbsaint and Pernod.

Seal the shaker tightly with the lid and shake vigorously for at least 30 seconds, which will allow the egg white to get foamy. Fill the cocktail shaker with ice, seal and shake again, for another 30 seconds.

Hold a fine mesh strainer over a chilled cocktail glass and strain the drink into the glass. This double-strains the drink, first through the cocktail shaker’s sieve, then the fine mesh strainer, resulting in a very smooth cocktail. Serve with a lemon peel twist for garnish.


  • Make simple syrup by heating equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan on the stove, bringing it to a low boil. Reduce heat to medium-low for about 5 minutes, then remove from heat. Allow the syrup to cool completely before using.

  • Use powdered sugar in place of simple syrup if you don’t have any on hand.

  • Some Rattlesnake cocktails call for maple syrup instead of simple syrup, giving it more flavor. Use a high-quality grade B maple syrup.