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Cable Car Cocktail Recipe

Mar 30, 2018 | Post By Danny Mahoney
1 person voted 5 stars.

Invented in 1996 in none other than San Francisco, the Cable Car single-handedly proves that modern classic cocktails don’t need to have a storied history, necessarily, or in Europe or New York City.

Image of Cable Car   Drink

Tony Abou-Ganim created the cocktail as a tribute to the Starlight Room in the historical Drake Hotel. The name is clever because it is a variant of the sidecar, but named the cable-car, because San Francisco is famously home to the world’s last manually operated cable-car system. The cars are so celebrated that they have become one of the largest tourist attractions of the city, and are listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. The cable-car lines were established in the latter half of the 1800s, and are such an integral part of the city that there is an entire museum dedicated to them. The Cable Car is a cocktail that truly celebrates San Francisco as a city, and shows that a cocktail can still be under a hundred years old and be respected as a bar staple.


  • 1.5 ounces of Captain Morgan spiced rum
  • ¾ ounce of orange curacao
  • ½ ounce of simple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon of cinnamon
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • 1 ounce of lemon juice
  • Ice


  1. Pour the cinnamon and sugar into the bowl, or saucer, and use a stirring spoon to stir.
  2. Lace the rim of the cocktail glass with the lemon juice, then dip the glass in the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
  3. Pour the rum, curacao, and simply syrup over ice in the cocktail shaker, and shake well.
  4. Strain into the aforementioned cocktail glass and enjoy.


  • Cocktail shaker
  • Cocktail glass
  • Bowl or saucer
  • Stirring spoon

If you would prefer a garnish, the go-to garnish for the cocktail is an orange slice. The cocktail pays homage to the Drake Hotel, which was the only hotel built in San Francisco during the Prohibition, and it contained a secret speakeasy. This variation is a way for San Francisco to have its own cocktail, as it is often considered one of the most culturally significant cities in the nation, and possibly the world. It’s only right that it have its own cocktail. If you’re a fan of sidecars and want to try something different, a San Francisco inhabitant, native, or simply a fan of modern cocktails, try out the Cable Car today. It may be a little over twenty years old, but it is a modern classic already!



Photo of Danny Mahoney

Danny is a Melburnian liquor enthusiast and ex bartender turned web developer. Although an avid whiskey drinker he likes to practice the arts of cocktail making and mixing drinks. Danny believes there are always new concoctions just waiting to be explored and enjoyed.


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