SPIN: The Annie Londonderry Cocktail

SPIN: The Annie Londonderry Cocktail

Peter Zheutlin’s “SPIN” Annie Londonderry Cocktail

The Annie Londonderry Cocktail celebrates the publication of Spin and toasts the 126th anniversary of the beginning of Annie Londonderry’s extraordinary ‘round the world journey by bicycle. Like Annie, this whiskey-based cocktail is bold, brash, and colorful. In SPIN, Annie meets the imperious bicycle magnate Colonel Albert Pope hoping to make a strong impression so he will choose her to settle a high-stakes wager he has made about whether a woman could make it around the world on a wheel, as bicycles were often called in the 1890s. Annie is clever and as she writes to her granddaughter in SPIN many years later, “I knew to a certainty that what he was looking for was a woman in form and biology, but one with just enough of the masculine characteristics men of his station so prized in other men but disdained in women—audacity, ingenuity, resourcefulness, fortitude, toughness, determination, combativeness, cunning, and even ruthlessness.”

So, when Colonel Pope offers her a glass of water as their meeting begins, Annie accepts and quips that she supposes it’s “too early for whiskey.” That was a cheeky retort for a young woman of twenty-three speaking to an older gentleman of Colonel Pope’s status!

The Annie Londonderry features an Irish whiskey because Londonderry is a quintessentially Irish name, though Annie used the pseudonym “Londonderry” not because she was posing as Irish, but because her first corporate sponsor was the Londonderry Lithia Spring Water Co. of New Hampshire. And who can resist a whiskey called Writer’s Tears to celebrate the publication of a novel?

There’s another nod to Annie’s journey in the recipe in the Sri Lankan Tea Syrup. Annie was briefly in Sri Lanka (called Ceylon then) during her journey, one of the world’s most famous tea-producing countries.

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Annie Londonderry Cocktail

The Annie Londonderry Cocktail celebrates the publication of SPIN and toasts the 126th anniversary of the beginning of Annie Londonderry’s ‘round the world journey by bicycle.

Andrew Safian-Demers, formerly of Brooklyn’s Dirty Precious, creates cocktails based on patrons' stories and anecdotes and creates this commemorative cocktail in Annie’s honor.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 1x
  • Category: Drinks
  • Cuisine: American



For the cocktail

  • 1.75 ounces Writer’s Tears Irish Whiskey ((or another Irish Whiskey of your choice))
  • .5 ounces Sri Lankan Tea Syrup (The Du Sri Lanka) ((see recipe))
  • .5 ounces fresh lemon juice
  • .5 ounces orange juice
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • .25 ounces Islay Scotch 

For the syrup

  • 1 bag Ceylon cinnamon black tea
  • 5 ounces demerara sugar 


To make the cocktail

  1. Combine whiskey, tea syrup, lemon juice, orange juice, and bitters in a cocktail shaker. Shake well, and strain over rocks in a rocks glass. Float Scotch by gently pouring over the back of a spoon.

To make the syrup

  1. If the tea is loose leaf, follow instructions on the product for quantity for a single serving (approximately two grams) and strain before adding sugar. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Chill for 30 minutes. 

Keywords: Annie Londonderry, Cocktail

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