The Story Behind The Army & Navy

The Army & Navy is a Gin Sour riff with a tiki twist, courtesy of orgeat and Angostura bitters. Gin provides a floral, botanical backbone while lemon juice and orgeat evoke notes of lemon squares, fresh-baked pignoli cookies, and marzipan. The almond-based syrup smooths out the citrus pucker while Angostura bitters and a grapefruit twist garnish subdue the drink’s sweetness.

The Army & Navy’s exact origins are unknown, though there are two running theories regarding its creation. Some say it was invented to honor the annual football match between members of the U.S. Army and Navy military branches. Others claim that the drink was born at Washington D.C.’s Army & Navy Club, a members-only officers’ club where the Daiquiri was reportedly first introduced in the U.S. The club has no recorded history of coining the Army & Navy, but likely helped popularize it, as it’s still on the menu to this day.

The first official documentation of the cocktail appears in David Embury’s 1948 book “The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks,” where Embury slanders the drink’s original spec. “I have given the original recipe which to my mind is horrible,“ he writes. Well, we tried a few different recipes at the VinePair HQ, and unanimously decided that the original still holds up. While most recipes dial down the orgeat, we find that its texture imparts a fuller body to the cocktail. For those who have never had an Army & Navy, it’s time to get acquainted. The drink holds a spot on the list of the world’s 50 most popular cocktails. Now, read more about the other 49


  • 2 ounces London Dry gin
  • 1 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1 ounce orgeat
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Garnish: grapefruit twist


  1. Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. Shake until chilled.
  3. Strain into a chilled coupe glass.
  4. Garnish with a grapefruit twist.

Rate This Recipe:

(23 votes)

Yield: 1
Calories: 226
Updated: 2024-05-06

Army & Navy Recipe Video