The 909 Cocktail Recipe

Posted on Mar 13, 2017

The 909 Cocktail Recipe

A couple of weekends ago we returned to Los Angeles, one of our hometowns, for the sad reason that our last remaining grandparent had died. As is always the case with these occasions, it was a potent mixture of sad and sweet. We had to say goodbye to a loved one, but also got to hear great stories of her long and rich life. We were grieving, but it brought us together with friends and family that we don’t see often enough. It was a time of mourning, but over excellent food and drinks.

It just so happened that on the way out to LA I was reading Robert Simonson’s A Proper Drink, his recount of the key players in the 21st century cocktail renaissance. He was talking about the differences between the New York version of the renaissance, which involved spirit-heavy drinks and reviving classic recipes, and the California one, which involved more creativity and fresh juice. Sure enough, one evening as we were sitting around the house, my father-in-law came in with some blood oranges from the tree in their backyard and asked, ‘What’s a good cocktail to make with these?’ Well, I consider myself more of a New York guy, but what can you do when your grieving father-in-law asks you for a drink? Plus, I don’t often get the chance to work with a fruit right off the tree; there’s a reason California cocktails developed the way they did.

I’ve, of course, made plenty of cocktails with standard oranges. My first step was discovering just how different a blood orange would be. It turns out that it’s actually quite different. I tried blood orange juice in combination with pretty much every bottle in the in-laws’ bar, and discovered to my delight that the less sour and more full-bodied flavor of the blood orange mixed surprisingly well with the more herbal residents of the liquor cabinet. I immediately put that to use in this Last Word variant.

The 909 Cocktail Recipe


  • 3/4 oz gin
  • 3/4 oz St. Germain
  • 3/4 oz Galliano
  • 3/4 oz blood orange juice
  • slice of blood orange twist, for garnish


  • Add all liquid ingredients to a mixing glass.
  • Fill with ice up to the level of the liquid.
  • Stir until the ice is well-melted.
  • Strain into a cocktail glass.
  • Add blood orange garnish.