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|IBA Official Cocktail|
|Primary alcohol by volume|
|Served||On the rocks; poured over ice|
|Standard drinkware||Highball glass|
|IBA specified ingredients*|
|Preparation||Pour brandy and ginger ale directly into highball glass with ice cubes. Stir gently. Garnish with lemon zest. If desired, add dashes of Angostura Bitter.|
|* Horse's Neck recipe at International Bartenders Association|
It is made with brandy (or sometimes bourbon) and ginger ale, with a long spiral of lemon peel (zest) draped over the edge of an 'old-fashioned' or highball glass. When made with Ale-8-One and Maker's Mark this drink is commonly referred to as a Kentucky Gentleman. A similar Canadian drink, the Rye & Ginger, is made with Canadian whisky and ginger ale.
Dating back to the 1890s, it was a non-alcoholic mixture of ginger ale, ice and lemon peel. By the 1910s, brandy, or bourbon would be added for a 'Horse's Neck with a Kick' or ~ Stiff. The non-alcoholic version was still served in upstate New York in the late 50s or early 60s, but eventually it was phased out.
The non-alcoholic version of the drink is referenced in the 1950 Humphrey Bogart film noir In a Lonely Place, in which Martha Stewart—playing the hat-check girl—states that adding a twist of lemon to ginger ale is called a "Horse’s Neck".
A "Horse's Neck" is prescribed as a hangover cure in Noël Coward's 1951 play Relative Values. It is described as a glass of brandy and some ginger-ale, and is to be sipped after taking three aspirin.
Horse's Neck became popular in the wardrooms of the Royal Navy in the 1960s, displacing Pink Gin as the officers' signature drink. An early reference to this is made in the 1957 film Yangtse Incident, in which a Naval Officer is shown drinking a Horse's Neck in 1949. At naval cocktail parties (CTPs), it used to be served by the Mess Stewards ready-mixed in glass jugs, alongside similar jugs of mixed gin and tonic, with the request "H-N or G&T, Sir?"
On season 2, episode 38 of the TV series “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” titled "A Little Sleep" (1957), the main character “Barbie” asks her boyfriend to fix her a “Horse’s Neck” alcoholic beverage at a party.
- Coward, Noël (1952). Relative Values - a Light Comedy. Samuel French.
- Robert Cross, The Classic 1000 Cocktails (1996), ISBN 0-572-02161-5
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