Though considered a classic cocktail, the Army & Navy is often neglected in the conversation of canonical drinks that have shaped the craft as we know it. The orgeat-sweetened gin sour (sans egg white) seems to be perennially present, hiding in plain sight — camouflaged, if you will. Still, its impact is far from insignificant. As one of the earliest cocktails to employ orgeat as a key ingredient, this drink inadvertently helped to inspire tiki culture, Gimlet variations, and the ever-expanding sour category.

Joining us to talk through this underrated classic is Ben Brown, beverage director of New York’s Porchlight. An orgeat expert himself, Brown schools us on the myriad nuts that can be used to make the sweet syrup, absinthe rinses, Chartreuse Végétal de la Grande, and the challenges of making an attractive cocktail without a garnish.

Listen in for tips on how to make your own orgeat and Army & Navy, Brown’s ideal sour specs, and a general chat about David A. Embury’s curmudgeonly nature. It’s all right here on the “Cocktail College” podcast.

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Ben Brown’s Army & Navy Recipe


  • 2 ounces London Dry gin
  • ¾ ounce orgeat
  • ¾ ounce lemon juice
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters


  1. Combine all ingredients in a shaker tin with ice.
  2. Shake until cold and strain into a chilled coupe glass.
  3. Serve without garnish.