Angel Face Cocktail Recipe Classic

The Angel Face classic cocktail perfectly balances the blend of fruit and herb notes, and it’s easy to make, too. The only trick is to find the right apricot brandy.

Angel Face cocktail in martini glass

The History of the Angel Face Cocktail

The Angel Face cocktail has uncertain origins, like so many old school drink recipes. It was probably invented during the Prohibition era in America, between 1920 to 1933, when alcohol was illegal.

The most likely beginning for it is that it was created by legendary bartender Harry Craddock at the Savoy Hotel in London. He published it in his Savoy Cocktail Book in 1930.

Another story says it was named for mobster Abe “Angel Face” Kaminsky. “Angel Face” could certainly be a reference to a criminal with an innocent looking face. And it would fit, given how this cocktail appears sweet and innocent at first glance but packs a potent punch.

Key ingredients

The Angel Face combines gin, apple brandy, and apricot liqueur for a flavor that’s a tiny bit fruity, not very sweet at all, and with herbal notes from the gin you choose.

Choosing your brands is important here. While many of them will taste great, there are a couple of things to note.

Apricot Brandy. In many cases, I recommend the real deal actual brandy over the liqueurs that are also called “apricot brandy” but aren’t really brandy at all. In this case, you want the liqueur. There’s so little sweetness to this drink that a dryer brandy just doesn’t taste as nice.

Gin. Lots of gins will taste good in this. Pick one you like. But I suggest picking a slightly less dry gin, maybe one with floral or citrus notes. Again, there are no sweeteners in this drink, so you don’t need to pick dry spirits.

Apple brandy. You can’t go wrong with Calvados, but if it’s not available, other brands are fine. It will add a touch of fruitiness to complements the gin.

How to Make the Angel Face drink

This one is so easy. You just shake all the ingredients together in a shaker and them strain it into a chilled glass with no ice. You don’t even need to garnish it, although you can.

The Taste of the Angel Face

This is a smooth cocktail that balances fruit and citrus notes very nicely. You may get hints of apple or apricot, and you will definitely taste the gin notes. All the ingredients come together in harmony. 

Why the Angel Face Cocktail is a Classic that Never Goes Out of Style

The Angel Face’s is simple and versatile, and that’s why it’s still around in an era of much more complicated and fancy drinks. It’s great to sip at home or to serve at a party.

The flavors are complex and delicate, making it perfect for people who like their cocktails less sweet, but still a little fruity.

Elevating Your Angel Face Cocktail Recipe

This is a very old, tried and true recipe. You know it works, or if would have changed over time, like so many drink recipes do.

That said, you might want to play around with the ratio of ingredients. For example, you could try question and more apricot brandy, especially if you like it a little bit sweeter. You can also try different brands of spirits to see which ones you like best. And finally, 

You might also want to see how it turns out if, instead of using a cocktail shaker, you stir the ingredients in a mixing glass with a spoon and then strain them into your glass. It makes a difference which some prefer.

Angel Face Cocktails for Parties

The Angel Face isn’t one of those fruity cocktails that lose the taste of alcohol in all the juice and sweetness. You do taste the alcohol in it, and the flavors are not as strong as they are in some fruity or cocktails.

Because of that, this cocktail isn’t for everyone, just like the classic martini isn’t for everyone. If you’re hosting a party with guests who love cocktails featuring lots of fruit juice or liqueurs, they may not love this drink.

But if you want to impress guests who love cocktails without mixers, this chic and elegant drink will be perfect. It’s so easy for a host or hostess to make. You can even make it in advance in a pitcher.

And it goes well with most any foods you might be serving.

Add the Angel Face Cocktail to Your Home Bar

The Angel Face Cocktail is a classic cocktail that never fails to impress. With its perfect balance of flavors, it’s an ideal drink to serve at any occasion.

If you want to take it up a notch and truly elevate your cocktail game, get creative with your garnishes. The recipe doesn’t call for any garnish. But a simple twist of lemon peel or a sprig of fresh rosemary can add a whole new dimension of flavor and aroma to your drink.

Also think about your presentation. You could serve your Angel Face Cocktails in martini glasses, coupes, goblets or elegant stemless martini glasses.

Pairing the Angel Face Cocktail with Your Favorite Dishes

For savory dishes, the Angel Face cocktail pairs very well with grilled seafood and meats. The fruity notes from the drink complement the salty flavors of seafood and add depth to grilled meats. A wonderful pairing would be a dish like seared scallops or grilled ribeye.

It’s also great with desserts. The subtle sweetness of the drink works well with fruit tarts, pies and cheesecake.

The Ultimate Cocktail for a Wonderful Evening

In conclusion, the angel face cocktail is a classic drink that has been enjoyed for generations. With its blend of gin, apple brandy and apricot brandy, it offers a unique flavor profile that is sure to please even the most discerning of palates.

Whether you’re hosting a party or simply looking to elevate your cocktail game, the angel face cocktail is an excellent choice.

Angel Face cocktail in martini glass
Yield: 1 drink

Angel Face cocktail recipe

Prep Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 3 minutes

The Angel Face classic cocktail perfectly balances the blend of fruit and herb notes, and it's easy to make, too. The only trick is to find the right apricot brandy.


  • 1 ounce gin
  • 1 ounce Calvados
  • 1 ounce apricot brandy liqueur


  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. Add gin, apple brandy, and apricot brandy into the shaker.
  3. Shake the mixture well for at least 10 seconds.
  4. Strain the mixture into a chilled cocktail glass or coupe.

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