|IBA official cocktail|
|Primary alcohol by volume|
|Served||On the rocks; poured over ice|
|Standard garnish||Long spiral of lemon zest|
|Standard drinkware||Highball glass|
|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 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 a "Stiff Horse's Neck". The non-alcoholic version was still served in upstate New York in the late 1950s and early 60s, but eventually it was phased out.
In the 1934 film The Captain Hates the Sea, Alison Skipworth's character craves a Horse's Neck, when Fred Keating's character tries to stop her, she says, "...I'm a lone wolf and it's my night to howl" then tells the waiter "...be sure to add a big horse, Charley". The disgruntled bartender then takes a lemon and begins to peel it, muttering “...around, and around, and around, for that cocck-eyed Horse’s Neck.”
In the 1935 film No Limit, starring George Formby as George Shuttleworth, George accidentally orders a Horse's Neck at the bar in the steam packet ferry en route to the Isle of Man. He originally tries to order a lemonade but becomes confused and begins to repeat the orders of other passengers in a bid to be noticed by the barman who is studiously ignoring George at the busy bar.
The non-alcoholic version of the drink is referenced in at least two film noir movies from 1950: In a Lonely Place with Humphrey Bogart, 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;" and Outside the Wall, in which Dorothy Hart tells Richard Basehart the two ingredients that compose the cocktail.
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?"
At the end of the 1988 film Return of the Living Dead Part II the character Doc Mandel asks the pre-teen character Jesse Wilson if he's ever had a horse's neck, to which he replies "no."
- Morgenthaler, Jeffrey (June 3, 2014). The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique. Chronicle Books. ISBN 1452130272.
- Felten, Eric (March 1, 2009). How's Your Drink?: Cocktails, Culture, and the Art of Drinking Well. Agate Publishing. p. 88. ISBN 1572846127. Retrieved 27 June 2017.