Recipe Comparison – The Fog Cutter

Fog Cutter

According to Dr. Cocktail there is a bit of controversy over who exactly created the Fog Cutter. Tony Ramos remembers it from Edna Fogcutter’s, where it was the signature drink, but everyone else I’ve come across gives the credit to Trader Vic. You’ll see both of their recipes among many others compared below.

This recipe comparison came about after days and days of searching, and I almost gave up hope of finding a cocktail that had sufficient variation. So before we dive in, let me put in a request to all the readers of Kaiser Penguin:

Which cocktail would you like to see compared next?
Let me know in the comments!

Tony Ramos

  • 1oz white rum (Brugal White)
  • 1/2oz gin (Bombay regular)
  • 1/2oz brandy (Chalfonte)
  • 1/2oz sweet and sour mix (I used 1/4oz lemon juice and 1/4oz simple syrup)
  • 2 dashes simple syrup
  • 1/4oz cherry brandy, floated (Cherry Heering)

Blend everything except the cherry brandy with 3/4c crushed ice. Pour into a glass and fill with crushed ice. Float the cherry brandy.

Source: Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails, Ted Haigh

It’s no wonder that Tony was one of Don the Beachcombers original bartenders. His recipe is fresh and light. The cherry brandy takes the place of the sherry seen in other recipes, offering up a more complex and rich experience. I do miss the almond flavor that the orgeat offers in other versions, though.

Gary Regan

  • 1 1/2oz white rum
  • 1/2oz gin
  • 1/2oz brandy
  • 2oz orange juice
  • 1/2oz lemon juice
  • 1/2oz orgeat syrup
  • 1/4oz cream sherry

Shake everything except the sherry with ice, and stain into a glass filled with ice. Float the sherry.

Source: The Joy of Mixology, Gary Regan

When I was mixing this version of the Fogcutter, I had a distinct image in my mind of what I hoped it didn’t taste like. Unfortunately, I was dead on. Orange juice with a hint of almond sums up this drink, and it lacks any sort of complexity that the other contenders have. Even the sherry gets lost in the sea of citrus.

The Internet Cocktail Database

  • 1 1/2oz white rum
  • 1/4oz gin
  • 1/2oz brandy
  • 1 1/2oz orange juice
  • 1/2oz lemon juice
  • 1/2oz orgeat syrup
  • 1/4oz cream sherry

Source: The Internet Cocktail Database

A slight variation on Gary’s version, this one smartly uses less orange juice. Still, the orgeat and the sherry are both nearly lost behind the walls of orange doom. I’d choose this version over the previous, but most likely I’d choose neither.

Emeril and the Internet

  • 1 1/2oz white rum
  • 1/2oz gin
  • 1/2oz brandy
  • 1oz orange juice
  • 1 1/2oz lemon juice
  • 1/4oz orgeat syrup
  • 1 tsp sherry

Source: Food Network, Emeril

Google turns up this recipe more than any other, and even Emeril had it on the Food Network site. It is tart and disgusting. I won’t even remotely think about finishing this… in the sink and on to the next!

Trader Vic

  • 2oz light Puerto Rican rum
  • 1/2oz gin
  • 1oz brandy
  • 1oz orange juice
  • 2oz lemon juice
  • 1/2oz orgeat syrup
  • 1/2oz sherry

Source: Grog Log and Trader Vic’s Bartender’s Guide: Revised, Jeff Berry and Trader Vic

Ah, the Fog Cutter. This is the one I’ve been waiting for. Trader Vic’s recipe is tart, creamy, and showcases the blend of spirits and citrus like none of the others. The sherry really gets a chance to do something in this version, and the orange juice provides only a sublte hint. It is by no means perfect, though; cutting down the lemon juice by 1/4oz would probably bring the cocktail to near perfection.

Overall Decision

Trader Vic’s Fog Cutter is clearly the winner. It’s interesting, packed with flavor and deadly as all hell. Here are a couple of tips for a better drink that I found during this crazy tasting:

  • Shake with cube ice, strain into a glass, and fill with crushed ice.
  • Overpour just a touch on your orgeat, if it’s homemade.
  • As Trader Vic says, don’t drink more than two of these.

18 Responses to “Recipe Comparison – The Fog Cutter”

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18 Comments to “ Recipe Comparison – The Fog Cutter”
  1. LinusNo Gravatar says:

    I’m really enjoying your cocktail comparisons,
    I too have caught the tiki bug and would love too see an Mai Tai or Scorpion comparison.
    Keep up the great work we’re loving it down here in Australia.

  2. jimmyNo Gravatar says:

    Great work. I really like the Fog Cutter. I’ll have to try the trader vic recipe against the way I’ve been making them. Nice photo, again!

  3. AndyNo Gravatar says:

    Monkey Gland might make for a good comparison testing. The recipes vary mostly in amounts and ratios of ingredients, though there is the whole absinthe/pasts vs Benedictine issue.

  4. CraigerNo Gravatar says:

    Awesome. I need to try this as soon as I get some brandy…I don’t own so much as a single bottle, but I’ve noticed several recipes in “Intoxica!” call for various flavors, so I sense a shopping trip in the near future.

    And speaking of which, has anyone else had trouble getting “The Grog Log” through Amazon? I ordered it in mid-August, and they just sent me notification of a second delay in shipping. This is the first time I’ve ever had anything from Amazon take this long, and it’s all the more strange considering I ordered “Intoxica!” at the same time and got it immediately.

  5. erik_flannestadNo Gravatar says:

    I ordered the three Berry books from

    Looks like they are currently sold out of “Grog Log” there, as well. Perhaps that is why Amazon is out.

    Though, they do promise to have more in stock soon…

  6. PaulNo Gravatar says:

    This may be small consolation when you’re really jonesing for a tiki fix, but reputable sources have told me that “Grog Log” and “Intoxica!” will be re-released next spring in an actual book format, without the spiral binding. Perhaps with that in mind, the publishers are letting the existing stock run out, so they don’t get stuck with a bunch of the old printing when the new version comes out (and by “new,” I don’t mean to imply that they’ll be different from the current version, aside from the way they’re printed and packaged).

  7. I’d love to see a pina colada comparison.

  8. RickNo Gravatar says:

    Jimmy, Did you give Trader Vic’s version a try? I have yet to try your version – perhaps this evening.

    Andy, The Monkey Gland is just a beautiful drink. I’ve found recipes The Joy of the Cocktail, The Craft of the Cocktail, Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails, and two on The Internet Cocktail Database. My cocktail book collection is not yet enormous, so any varying recipes from books not listed here would be wonderful!

  9. AdamNo Gravatar says:

    Yes, I was waiting on a Grog Log from Amazon for months. I finally cancelled and ordered direct from the publisher, Slave Labor Graphics: (search for “Grog Log”). Price is the same as Amazon.

    On another look, it looks like Amazon is saying its in stock again now.

    One interesting note: When I finally got angry enough with Amazon to Google their customer service phone number and rant, the friendly rep informed me that anything listed on the site saying “Usually ships in 4 to 6 weeks” has a high probability of never arriving.

    I think the lack of spiral binding will be a big loss–I find it totally convenient to lay flat on the bar or table while I’m mixing.

  10. PaulNo Gravatar says:

    While the spiral binding makes it convenient for keeping the book open while mixing a drink, it’s also the reason why you have to wrestle with Amazon rather than stroll down to your local bookstore and pick up a copy — many bookstores won’t stock the book simply because it has the spiral binding, which (I’m told) makes it more difficult to handle and display. This information comes to me from someone with intimate knowledge of the distribution of these books, and who is excited that they’ll see greater availability with the new format.

  11. erik_flannestadNo Gravatar says:

    re: recipe comparison

    Cocktails like the Martini and Manhattan have certainly evolved over time. It’s always interesting to compare the formulations of these coctails from earlier cocktail books with the various versions as they evolve through time until how they are made now.

    For example, from, Jerry Thomas’ version of the Manhattan had more vermouth than whiskey!

    Manhattan Cocktail.
    (Use small bar-glass.)
    Take 2 dashes of Curacoa or Maraschino.
    1 pony of rye whiskey.
    1 wine-glass of vermouth.
    3 dashes of Boker’s bitters.
    2 small lumps of ice.

    Shake up well, and strain into a claret glass. Put a quarter of a slice of lemon in the glass and serve. If the customer prefers it very sweet use also two dashes of gum syrup.

  12. KurtNo Gravatar says:

    I ordered Grog Log from Amazon a week or two ago as part of a “buy 3 get one free” deal they were running on stuff (mostly) under $10. The order showed up last weekend. Dunno why y’all are having so much trouble getting your copies. It may be worth giving Amazon another shot.

    Speaking of the Grog Log and recipe comparisons, if you’re open to suggestions I nominate the Singapore Sling. The Baker, DeGroff and Grog Log recipes are significantly different though all claim some relationship to the original (despite the original recipe being generally acknowledged to be lost to the mists of time).

    Keep up the good work. Your writing and the photos are terrific.


  13. RickNo Gravatar says:


    You have just etched the next recipe comparison in stone. I have found eight recipes, all different. This might take a while…

  14. […] a note, Kaiser Penguin also has a great post on the Fog Cutter, and its many variations.  This drink has been through a few remixes in its time, and is currently on most Trader […]

  15. Dave WilliamsNo Gravatar says:

    2oz orange juice
    1/2oz lemon juice
    3t triple sec

    1/2oz vodka
    1/2oz gin

    1/2oz white rum
    1/2oz brandy

    1/2oz 151 rum

    Pour in the juices and triple sec, then vodka and gin, then rum and brandy, and carefully on top, the 151 rum. Drink with the straw at the bottom of the glass.

  16. […] Fogcutter’s” in Hollywood. There are a number of recipes out there and I found a good comparison of them that rates the one from Trader Vic’s higher than the one presented here. I plan to […]

  17. […] Having just received my Fee Brothers Orgeat Syrup I decided to try The Fogcutter again, using the recipe from Trader Vic’s: […]

  18. […] important both the quality of the ingredients and the ratios are to the perfect cocktail. In the Fogcutter comparison I read, every recipe has pretty much the same ingredients, just with differing amounts. Per the […]

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Kaiser Penguin is a cocktail blog featuring original recipes, homemade ingredients, classic cocktails, and tiki drinks.

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