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Written By cocktailflavors.com

Introduction to the Rattlesnake Cocktail

Step into the world of classic cocktails with the Rattlesnake. This pre-Prohibition favorite offers a symphony of flavors, from the boldness of whiskey to the zesty tang of lemon. Its creamy texture and hint of absinthe make it a unique experience for cocktail enthusiasts.

Whether you’re a seasoned mixologist or a curious beginner, the Rattlesnake cocktail is a must-try. Its rich history and complex flavor profile are sure to captivate your senses. Let’s explore what makes this drink a timeless classic.

Join us as we unravel the secrets behind the Rattlesnake’s allure. Perfect for a sophisticated evening or a casual gathering, this cocktail promises to deliver a memorable experience. Ready to shake things up?

Key Facts About the Rattlesnake

  • Alcohol Content: Approximately 22% ABV (44 proof)
  • Calories: Approximately 220
  • Glass Type: Chilled coupe or martini glass
  • Garnish: Bitters-swirled foam

Interesting Facts about the Rattlesnake

The Rattlesnake cocktail is not just a drink; it’s a piece of history. Its name is as intriguing as its taste, hinting at a drink with a real ‘bite’. The inclusion of egg white is a nod to vintage cocktail craftsmanship, creating a silky foam that’s both traditional and trendy.

Did you know that the Rattlesnake was a favorite among the literary elite? It’s said that authors would sip on this concoction to find inspiration. The absinthe rinse, although subtle, adds a layer of complexity that was highly appreciated in the golden age of cocktails.

Rattlesnake Cocktail Preparation

Tasting Notes

The Rattlesnake cocktail is a harmonious blend of spicy, sweet, and sour. The rye whiskey provides a warm, peppery base, while the lemon juice adds a refreshing citrus kick. The simple syrup balances the flavors with a touch of sweetness.

For those who appreciate a drink with depth, the Rattlesnake delivers. The creamy froth from the egg white offers a luxurious mouthfeel, and the absinthe brings a hint of herbal mystique. It’s a cocktail that’s both invigorating and comforting, ideal for any occasion.

Whether you’re hosting a sophisticated soiree or enjoying a quiet night in, the Rattlesnake fits the bill. Its versatility and rich flavor profile make it a hit with a wide audience. It’s a drink that tells a story with every sip.

History of the Rattlesnake

The Rattlesnake cocktail hails from an era when drinks were crafted with care and precision. Originating before Prohibition, it was a time when bartenders were considered artists of their trade. The Rattlesnake was a testament to their skill.

As with many classic cocktails, the exact origins of the Rattlesnake are somewhat murky. However, it’s believed to have been a popular choice in the speakeasies of the 1920s. The drink’s potency and flavor made it a standout among its contemporaries.

Anecdotes suggest that the Rattlesnake was a symbol of rebellion during Prohibition. Its strong flavor and intoxicating effects were a form of resistance against the era’s restrictions. Today, it remains a symbol of the enduring spirit of cocktail culture.

Rattlesnake Ingredients

  • Rye Whiskey (2 oz): The backbone of the cocktail, providing a robust and spicy flavor.
  • Fresh Lemon Juice (1 oz): Adds a bright, acidic component that cuts through the whiskey’s richness.
  • Simple Syrup (1 oz): Offers sweetness to balance the tartness of the lemon juice.
  • Egg White (1): Creates a frothy texture and smooth mouthfeel, elevating the cocktail’s elegance.
  • Bitters (3 dashes): Introduces a layer of complexity and depth to the flavor profile.
  • Absinthe Rinse: Imparts a subtle anise flavor that complements the cocktail’s other ingredients.

Did you know? The Rattlesnake cocktail’s frothy head, created by the egg white, is not just for show. It also serves to soften the drink’s ‘bite’, making it more approachable.

Rattlesnake Cocktail Ingredients

Rattlesnake Method

Absinthe Rinse

Begin by preparing your glass with an absinthe rinse. This foundational step is crucial for imparting the cocktail’s signature herbal hint.

Emulsifying the Egg White

Next, focus on the egg white. Dry shaking it with the other ingredients is key to achieving the Rattlesnake’s iconic foam.

Shaking with Ice

After the dry shake, add ice and shake again. This dual-shaking technique ensures a well-chilled drink with a perfect texture.

Straining and Garnishing

Strain the mixture into your glass and finish with a few dashes of bitters. For an artistic touch, swirl the bitters into a pattern on the foam.

Serving Suggestion

The Rattlesnake cocktail is traditionally served in a chilled coupe or martini glass. The wide brim allows the drink’s aromas to tantalize the senses before each sip.

Garnishing with bitters not only adds flavor but also visual appeal. A few dashes on the foam create a beautiful contrast and enhance the drinking experience.

Elevating the Rattlesnake

  • Quality Ingredients: Use premium rye whiskey and fresh lemon juice for the best flavor.
  • Proper Technique: Master the dry shake to ensure a stable, frothy head on your cocktail.
  • Attention to Detail: Take the time to swirl the bitters artistically for a visually stunning presentation.

For those looking to truly elevate their Rattlesnake cocktail, consider experimenting with different types of bitters. Each variety can add a new dimension to the drink.

Elevated Rattlesnake Cocktail

Substitutions and Alternatives for the Rattlesnake

If you’re missing an ingredient or prefer a different flavor profile, there are several substitutions you can make. For example, bourbon can replace rye whiskey for a sweeter taste.

For a non-alcoholic version, consider using a whiskey-flavored syrup. And if you’re vegan or allergic to eggs, aquafaba is a fantastic alternative for the egg white.

Similar cocktails that share the Rattlesnake’s spirit include the Whiskey Sour and the New York Sour. Both offer a balance of whiskey and citrus, with their own unique twists.

Add a Twist

Consider infusing your simple syrup with herbs or spices for an added flavor kick. Rosemary or cinnamon can complement the whiskey beautifully.

Another twist is to use a flavored bitters, such as chocolate or orange, to add an unexpected note to the cocktail. This small change can make a big impact on the overall taste.

For a visually stunning variation, float a thin lemon wheel on the foam before adding the bitters. This garnish adds both beauty and a hint of extra citrus.

Preferred Liquors for the Rattlesnake

When it comes to choosing a rye whiskey for your Rattlesnake, look for one with a good balance of spice and smoothness. Brands like Rittenhouse or Sazerac are excellent choices.

For the absinthe rinse, a traditional French absinthe like Pernod or Lucid will provide the authentic flavor that this cocktail deserves.

Remember, the quality of your ingredients will greatly influence the final taste of your Rattlesnake, so choose wisely.

Similar Cocktails to the Rattlesnake

If you enjoy the Rattlesnake, you might also like the Sazerac, another classic cocktail with rye whiskey and absinthe. Its rich history and complex flavor are similarly captivating.

The Corpse Reviver #2 is another pre-Prohibition cocktail that features absinthe. It’s lighter and more citrus-forward, making it a refreshing alternative.

For a simpler option, the classic Whiskey Sour shares the Rattlesnake’s whiskey and lemon juice base, but without the egg white or absinthe.

Food Pairings to go with the Rattlesnake

The Rattlesnake pairs well with savory appetizers like bacon-wrapped dates or blue cheese-stuffed mushrooms. The cocktail’s bold flavors stand up to rich, umami tastes.

For a more adventurous pairing, try spicy Asian-inspired dishes. The heat from the food will complement the whiskey’s warmth, while the citrus notes will cut through the spice.

Rattlesnake FAQs

Can I make a Rattlesnake without egg white? Yes, the egg white is optional. It adds texture but can be omitted if you prefer.

Is there a non-alcoholic substitute for rye whiskey? Yes, non-alcoholic whiskey alternatives or whiskey-flavored syrups can be used.

What can I use instead of absinthe? If absinthe is unavailable, Pernod or another anise-flavored liqueur can provide a similar flavor profile.

How can I ensure the egg white is safe to consume? Use fresh eggs and consider pasteurized egg whites to reduce the risk of salmonella.

Can I make the Rattlesnake in advance? It’s best made fresh due to the egg white and the chilled nature of the drink.


Rattlesnake Cocktail

The Rattlesnake is a classic cocktail known for its potent bite and creamy texture. It's a pre-Prohibition drink that combines the warmth of whiskey with the softness of egg white and the tang of lemon juice, rounded off with a hint of absinthe.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Cocktail
Cuisine American
Servings 1 cocktail
Calories 220 kcal


  • Cocktail shaker
  • Jigger
  • Coupe or martini glass
  • Strainer


  • 2 oz Rye whiskey
  • 1 oz Fresh lemon juice
  • 1 oz Simple syrup
  • 1 Egg white
  • 3 dashes Peychaud's or Angostura bitters
  • Absinthe rinse


  • Rinse a chilled coupe or martini glass with absinthe by swirling a small amount around the inside of the glass to coat it, then discard the excess.
  • In a shaker, combine the rye whiskey, lemon juice, simple syrup, and egg white.
  • Dry shake (shake without ice) vigorously for about 15 seconds to emulsify the egg white.
  • Add ice to the shaker and shake again until well-chilled.
  • Strain the mixture into the prepared glass.
  • Add a few dashes of bitters on top of the foam.
  • Optionally, use a toothpick to swirl the bitters into a decorative pattern.


The use of egg white is optional, but it gives the cocktail its classic frothy head. Always use fresh eggs and ensure proper handling to reduce the risk of salmonella. A vegan alternative can be used, such as aquafaba (chickpea brine).
Keyword absinthe, Classic Cocktail, Creamy Texture, Egg White, lemon juice, Pre-Prohibition, Rattlesnake, Shaken Cocktail, Whiskey

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