The Story Behind The Cameron’s Kick
Acidic, sweet, and suffering no lack of punch, the Cameron’s Kick is a split-base cocktail that celebrates the dual delights of two types of whiskey. Lemon juice and orgeat syrup play accomplished supporting roles, evoking notes of citrus and fresh marzipan, and complementing the smoky, nutty flavors of the whiskeys.
Similar enough to a Whiskey Sour to be considered something of a riff, this drink combines Irish whiskey, characterized by its rich caramel and vanilla notes, with blended Scotch whisky, which packs more spice than the Irish counterpart.
The Cameron’s Kick first appeared in print in Scottish bartender Harry MacElhone’s “ABC of Mixing Cocktails” in 1922, showing up as a recipe with no accredited author or explanation for its name.
Unfortunately, the cocktail’s popularity took a major hit in 1935 when “Mr. Boston Official Bartender’s Guide” published a misprinted Cameron’s Kick recipe, listing the orgeat syrup as orange bitters. Lacking the sweetness provided by that almond-based syrup, it became a rather misunderstood cocktail. It also didn’t help that the annual “Mr. Boston Guide” continued to print the “orange bitters” version of the recipe for 70 years.
The Cameron’s Kick’s legacy took a turn for the better in the early aughts when David Wondrich discovered a copy of the original, accurate recipe and began including it in cocktail books and bar programs wherever he consulted. Thanks to his efforts, the drink has made a well-deserved comeback, showing up on more and more menus in recent years.