Jimmie Special Cocktail Recipe

Jimmie Special Cocktail Recipe

Jimmie Special Cocktail Recipe

We recently found ourselves with a limited bar, but with just as much of an appetite for cocktails as usual. One of the things we happened to have on hand, a bit unusual for us, was champagne–left over from our batch of Boston Club Punch. Remembering that Hemingway was a big Champagne fan, we thumbed through our handy copy of To Have and Have Another to see if he had any ideas for us. Nothing involving Champagne caught our eye, but the Jimmie Special did. It just happens to involve all of the modifying ingredients from the Boston Club, and we had leftovers of them too.

Jimmie was a Montparnasse bartender in the 1920s when a young Hemingway, a young F. Scott Fitzgerald, and others were in Paris, attending Gertrude Stein’s salons, learning to write, and learning to drink. I’ll let Philip Greene tell you about the Montparnasse gossip and Jimmie’s wild claims about the powers of this drink.

The drink itself is intensely flavored, tasting stronger than it actually is by alcohol content. The cherry brandy and Cognac form a deep, richly sweet base. While the anise brings in some light notes, the heavier spicing of the amaro dominates. This is a dark drink, in the way that dark chocolate is dark.

The recipe calls for mandarin liqueur, which we didn’t have on hand when we first mixed it. We used Curacao, but we were curious what mandarin liqueur tastes like; so we picked some up later. The mandarin was sweeter and brighter. We ended up liking our Curacao version better, but we’ll probably talk more about mandarin liqueur in another post.


  • 3/4 oz Cognac
  • 1/2 oz anise liqueur
  • 1/2 oz Amer Picon–not available in the US. We used Amaro Ramazzotti, which we’ve heard is an adequate substitute
  • 1/2 oz mandarin liqueur–or Curacao
  • 1/2 oz sweet cherry brandy
  • soda to taste


  • Combine everything but the soda in a cocktail shaker.
  • Fill the shaker with ice to above the level of the liquid.
  • Shake for 20 seconds.
  • Strain into cocktail glass.
  • Gently float soda on top of the drink to taste.

Roberts & June