Gin Crusta Cocktail – Vintage 1860s Cocktail Recipe

History Of The Crusta

First printed in the 1862 Bartenders guide by Jerry Thomas, the Gin Crusta is a variation of the brandy crusta and is as old as it is delicious. The brandy crusta is considered one of the oldest fancy sours and is named for decorative sugar crusted rim. It was invented in the 1850s by Joseph Santini in New Orleans Louisiana, USA and was made to try and improve the taste of the standard sour cocktail. You can spot a crusta by its oversized decorative lemon peel that imparts that this is a special elevated sour cocktail.

How Do Crustas Taste

These are fantastic cocktails that taste light and delicate while not being overly sour or overly sweet. While the standard sour is more flavorful and benefits from sharper more intense spirits this one is different a nicer top shelf spirit actually works better. This is because you are not overwhelming the base spirit with a whole ounce of sweetener and citrus and the more subtle finer qualities of a better base spirit can still come through. Make this with the perspective that you are not making a strong flavorful cocktail but rather adding subtle flavor and complexity to an already delicious spirit.


There isn’t any one important ingredient in this cocktail but instead all the ingredients coming together in the proper balance. but if I tried to narrow it down I would say the genever, orange liqueur and gum syrup are the most important parts of this cocktail to get right. You want to use a good base spirit for this cocktail as none of the other ingredients are made to mask the flavor of a lower quality spirit. So what ever the quality of the base spirit you use will make a meaningful difference in the final product. The orange liqueur matters too because cheap orange liqueurs are typically not very good. I love buying on value, but I’ve never found a cheaper orange liqueur that also tasted good and with how this drink is structured you will notice a cheap orange liqueur. Lastly the gum syrup. You can use a standard simple syrup if you prefer and what that will change is the texture of the cocktail. Gum Syrup has gum arabic in it and gives the cocktail a velvety texture similar to what egg whites provide. A smooth, meringue-y, velvet, dessert like texture. Standard simple syrup will not add this texture and make for a thinner liquid texture cocktail, but you may prefer that. If you like your sours without egg whites then opt for using standard simple syrup but if you like sours with egg whites then buy a bottle of gum syrup and give it a go.


Gin Crusta Cocktail – Vintage 1860s Cocktail Recipe

4 from 1 vote
Course: DrinksCuisine: American






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An amazing cocktail that is as delicious as it is beautiful


  • 2 tsp Lemon Juice

  • 2 tsp Gum Syrup

  • 1 tsp Orange Liqueur

  • 2 dashes Cardamom Bitters

  • 2 oz Genever


  • Combine all ingredients in the shaker.
  • Add ice to the shaker and vigorously shake till the shaker is ice cold and frosted.
  • Strain into glass to remove ice shards.
  • Garnish with a whole lemon peel that circles the rim of the glass.

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