Liberal cocktail

Liberal cocktail
The Liberal cocktail is a classic cocktail that dates back to the 1900s. A Liberal cocktail contains rye whisky, sweet vermouth and Amer Picon liqueur, although the proportions of these have changed throughout the history of the drink.
The Liberal cocktail is a strongly sweet blend of flavours, but the presence of Amer Picon helps balance the taste with its bitter-sweet orange flavour. Amer Picon is a dark amber, bitter aperitif from France made from a base of dried oranges that are distilled then enhanced with the addition of more sugars and caramel.
Whilst Amer Picon is easy to find in its native France, Americans are advised to use Torani Amer if they cannot find Amer Picon.
Total Time: 5 minutes


  • martini glass


  • 45 ml rye whisky
  • 15 ml sweet vermouth
  • 10 ml Amer Picon (Or Torani Amer)
  • 2 dashes orange bitters
  • orange twist (to garnish)


  • Fixing a mixer with ice and pour in all the ingredients.
  • Stir vigorously and strain into a chilled martini glass.
  • Garnish with an orange twist.


What does Amer Picon taste like?

Amer Picon has a complex taste; it is made from dried oranges, once distilled it is mixed with sugar, syrup and caramel flavourings. The liqueur is bitter, but with some lingering sweetness from the oranges. Before completion, Amer Picon also has gentian (A white wine made from Gentiana flowers) and quinquina (A wine made from bark that contains quinine) added.

Amer Picon is used in several classic French drinks including the Liberal cocktail.

What is Amer Picon?

Amer Picon was created in 1837 by the Frenchman Gaéton Picon whilst performing his military service in North Africa. As a result of contracting malaria (which was commonplace) he sought to make a drink which made consuming quinine palatable. Quinine is used in the treatment of Malaria.

What is an aperitif?

The word Aperitif was originally used by the French to refer to an alcoholic drink to be consumed before dinner. Other than the Liberal cocktail, some other popular examples of an aperitif are; the French Martini, Dubonnet, Vesper Martini, Negroni, Aperol Spritz and the Cardinale cocktail.

Sweet vermouth is traditionally known as Italian, while dry vermouth is considered French, based on their origins, although both are made from dry white wine.

Please note that the units field is an estimation, and will vary depending on the type and quantity of alcohol used. Please drink responsibly and legally.