Cable Car


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Cable Car_001

Introduction to the Cable Car Cocktail

Welcome to the world of the Cable Car, a cocktail that offers a delightful twist on a classic. With its spiced rum base and citrus highlights, this drink is a modern take on the traditional Sidecar. Its signature cinnamon-sugar rim provides an aromatic allure that’s hard to resist.

The Cable Car cocktail is not just a drink; it’s an experience. Its balance of sweet and sour flavors, coupled with the warmth of spiced rum, makes it a favorite among those who appreciate a cocktail with depth. Whether you’re a cocktail aficionado or a curious newcomer, the Cable Car is sure to captivate your palate.

Let’s embark on a flavorful journey with the Cable Car. Discover its rich history, taste profile, and learn how to craft this exquisite drink at home. It’s time to elevate your cocktail game and impress your guests with this sophisticated mix.

Key Facts About the Cable Car

  • Alcohol Volume: Approximately 20% ABV (40 proof)
  • Calories: Approximately 180 kcal per serving
  • Preferred Glass: Chilled cocktail glass
  • Typical Garnish: Lemon twist

Interesting Facts about the Cable Car

  • The Cable Car was created in the 1990s by renowned mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim.
  • It’s a celebrated variation of the Sidecar, substituting brandy with spiced rum.
  • The cinnamon-sugar rim is not just for show; it adds a complex flavor that complements the cocktail’s profile.

Cable Car Cocktail

Tasting Notes on the Cable Car

The Cable Car cocktail is a symphony of flavors. The spiced rum provides a warm, vanilla-tinged base, while the orange curaçao or triple sec adds a touch of citrus sweetness. Fresh lemon juice brings a zesty sharpness, balancing the sweetness with its acidity.

This cocktail is perfect for those who enjoy a drink with a spicy kick and a citrusy undertone. It’s ideal for sipping on a cool evening or as a sophisticated addition to a dinner party. The Cable Car is versatile, fitting for both casual gatherings and formal celebrations.

With its inviting aroma and complex taste, the Cable Car is a cocktail that promises to take your senses on a memorable journey. It’s a drink that appeals to both the adventurous and the traditionalist, making it a must-try for all.

History of the Cable Car

The Cable Car holds a special place in the cocktail world, with its inception dating back to the 1990s. Created by Tony Abou-Ganim, it quickly rose to fame in the cocktail community. Its name is a nod to the iconic San Francisco cable cars, reflecting the drink’s smooth and adventurous spirit.

Abou-Ganim’s creation was a response to the growing popularity of spiced rum. He sought to craft a cocktail that highlighted the spirit’s unique characteristics while offering a new take on a classic. The result was the Cable Car, a drink that has since become a modern classic in its own right.

The cocktail’s popularity is a testament to its well-crafted balance of flavors. It’s a drink that tells a story, one of innovation and respect for the classics. The Cable Car is more than just a cocktail; it’s a piece of mixology history.

Cable Car Ingredients

  • Spiced Rum (2 oz / 60 ml): The heart of the cocktail, providing a rich and warm flavor with hints of vanilla and spice.
  • Orange Curaçao or Triple Sec (3/4 oz / 22 ml): Adds a sweet citrus note, enhancing the complexity of the drink.
  • Fresh Lemon Juice (1 oz / 30 ml): Offers a bright acidity that cuts through the sweetness, balancing the cocktail.
  • Simple Syrup (1/2 oz / 15 ml): Gives a touch of sweetness to harmonize the flavors.
  • Cinnamon-Sugar: Used for rimming the glass, it provides an aromatic and flavorful edge to each sip.
  • Lemon Twist: Serves as a garnish, adding a zesty aroma and a touch of elegance to the presentation.

Did you know? The Cable Car cocktail’s cinnamon-sugar rim is not only a treat for the taste buds but also for the nose, enhancing the overall drinking experience.

Preparing Cable Car Cocktail

Cable Car Method

Rimming the Glass

Begin by preparing your cocktail glass. Rim the edge with lemon juice, then dip it into cinnamon-sugar. This creates an inviting, aromatic rim that complements the drink’s flavors.

Combining the Ingredients

In a shaker, combine the spiced rum, orange curaçao or triple sec, fresh lemon juice, and simple syrup. The quality of ingredients is crucial, so choose premium brands for the best taste.

Shaking to Perfection

Fill the shaker with ice and shake vigorously. This not only chills the cocktail but also dilutes it slightly, ensuring a smooth sip. Strain the mixture into your prepared glass to keep out ice shards.


Finish by garnishing with a lemon twist. This adds a final touch of citrus aroma, enhancing the drink’s appeal both visually and olfactorily.

Serving Suggestion for the Cable Car

The Cable Car is traditionally served in a chilled cocktail glass. The shape of the glass showcases the drink’s color and allows the aroma to reach the nose, enhancing the tasting experience.

Garnish preparation is key. A well-crafted lemon twist not only looks elegant but also releases essential oils that add to the cocktail’s aroma. Take the time to create a perfect garnish for the full Cable Car experience.

Elevating the Cable Car

  • Use Fresh Ingredients: Freshly squeezed lemon juice and homemade simple syrup can make a significant difference in the cocktail’s quality.
  • Chill Your Glass: A chilled glass keeps the drink colder for longer, providing an optimal sipping experience.
  • Experiment with the Rim: While cinnamon-sugar is traditional, experimenting with other spice blends can add an exciting twist to the cocktail.

Cable Car Cocktail Served

Substitutions and Alternatives for the Cable Car

If you’re missing an ingredient or want to try something new, consider these substitutions:

  • Replace orange curaçao with another orange-flavored liqueur if unavailable.
  • For a less sweet version, reduce the amount of simple syrup or omit it entirely.

Similar cocktails include the classic Sidecar or the Brandy Crusta, which share a citrus-forward flavor profile with the Cable Car.

Add a Twist to the Cable Car

Here are a few ideas to put a new spin on the Cable Car:

  • Infuse your simple syrup with herbs like rosemary or thyme for an aromatic twist.
  • Try a flavored rum to add another layer of complexity to the drink.
  • Use a smoked cinnamon stick for garnish to introduce a smoky element.

Preferred Liquors for the Cable Car

When it comes to the Cable Car, the choice of spiced rum is crucial. Brands like Captain Morgan and Sailor Jerry are popular choices that provide the desired spice profile. For a premium experience, seek out artisanal spiced rums with a more nuanced flavor.

Similar Cocktails to the Cable Car

If you enjoy the Cable Car, you might also like:

  • Sidecar: The inspiration behind the Cable Car, featuring brandy instead of spiced rum.
  • Brandy Crusta: A classic cocktail with a similar citrus profile and a sugared rim.
  • Dark ‘n’ Stormy: Another rum-based cocktail, but with ginger beer and lime, offering a spicy and refreshing taste.

Food Pairings to Go with the Cable Car

The Cable Car pairs well with a variety of foods. Consider these options:

  • Classic bar snacks like nuts and olives complement the cocktail’s spiced notes.
  • For a more substantial pairing, try spicy Asian dishes that mirror the cocktail’s warmth.

Cable Car FAQs

Can I make the Cable Car without a cocktail shaker? Yes, you can stir the ingredients with ice in a glass, but shaking is recommended for the best texture.

Is there a non-alcoholic version of the Cable Car? Yes, you can substitute the rum and orange liqueur with non-alcoholic alternatives and adjust the sweetness to taste.

How can I make my Cable Car less sweet? Reduce the simple syrup or use a drier orange liqueur to cut down on sweetness.

What’s the best way to get a perfect lemon twist? Use a channel knife or vegetable peeler to create a long, thin strip of lemon peel, avoiding the white pith.

Can I use bottled lemon juice? Fresh lemon juice is preferred for its bright flavor, but bottled can be used in a pinch.

Cable Car_001

Cable Car

The Cable Car is a modern classic cocktail with a smooth, spiced flavor profile. Created by Tony Abou-Ganim in the 1990s, it's a variation of the classic Sidecar. Instead of using brandy, the Cable Car is mixed with spiced rum and set apart by its unique cinnamon-sugar rim.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
0 minutes
Course Cocktail
Servings 1 cocktail
Calories 180 kcal


  • Cocktail shaker
  • Jigger
  • Strainer
  • Cocktail glass


  • 2 oz spiced rum
  • 3/4 oz orange curaçao or triple sec
  • 1 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup
  • Cinnamon-sugar for rimming
  • Lemon twist for garnish


  • Rim a chilled cocktail glass with lemon juice and dip it into cinnamon-sugar to coat the rim.
  • In a shaker, combine the spiced rum, orange curaçao or triple sec, fresh lemon juice, and simple syrup.
  • Fill the shaker with ice and shake vigorously until well-chilled.
  • Strain the mixture into the prepared glass.
  • Garnish with a twist of lemon.


For a less sweet version, adjust the simple syrup to taste. The cinnamon-sugar rim adds an aromatic touch that complements the citrus and spiced rum flavors.
Keyword Cable Car, Cinnamon, Citrus, Classic Cocktail, Cocktail, Mixed Drink, Sidecar Variation, Spiced Rum, Sweet and Sour

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