Brown Derby – Original Recipe & History

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Brown Derby
Brown Derby

The History Of The Brown Derby Cocktail.

The Brown Derby cocktail first appeared in the 1933 book “Hollywood Cocktails.” The Brown Derby was the house cocktail of the Los Angeles-based Brown Derby, a chain of formal high-end restaurants shaped like derby hats. Wilson Mizner opened the Brown Derby in 1926 to coincide with the release of the 1926 silent film “The Brown Derby,” starring Johnny Hines, Ruth Dwyer, and Edmund Breese.

Although this cocktail is commonly known as the Brown Derby, the exact recipe for the Brown Derby first appeared in the 1930 “Savoy Cocktail Book” as the “De Rigueur.” It could be a coincidence, but chances are the Brown Derby got the recipe from the Savoy. We will never know for sure, but two whiskey cocktails with the exact same proportions of grapefruit juice and honey being developed independently seem unlikely to me. But maybe they did.

Recipe Resources


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Brown Derby

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Course: DrinksCuisine: American




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How to make the Brown Derby


  • 1 oz Grapefruit Juice

  • 1 oz Honey Syrup

  • 2 oz Bourbon


  • Combine all ingredients in the shaker. Add ice to the shaker.
  • Vigorously shake till the shaker is ice cold and frosted.
  • Strain into a glass.

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