Fuck Russia, Drink a Horsefeather

posted in: Cocktails

horsefeather cocktail recipeThis is the Horsefeather cocktail. And it’s the reason I write about drinks. I was introduced to it nearly a decade ago when I was working on my very first cocktail story for a now-defunct in-flight magazine (but long before I was actually considered a drinks writer). Five years later, with very little booze knowledge and no photography skills to speak of, I somehow managed to land a weekly column after sharing the recipe. I mean, sure, I incorrectly identified the Horsefeather as a “classic cocktail” at the time. But I guess technically it’s a classic here in Kansas City — about as classic as the Macarena or Nokia’s candy bar phone. The best any of us local drinks people can figure out is that it originated sometime in the 90s in the nearby college town of Lawrence, KS and according to Robert Simonson, it never really caught on anywhere else. (LOLZ to the time I drunkenly shamed a surly Brooklyn bartender for not knowing this “classic cocktail.” Oops.)

It’s kind of a shame the Horsefeather hasn’t gotten more love nationally, because it’s a damn fine drink. In fact, it’s like a Moscow Mule, but better. Instead of vodka, it’s made with whiskey (I usually opt for rye, but bourbon works, too), spicy ginger beer, a dash or four of bitters, and a squeeze of lime. Think of it like the Moscow Mule’s tastier American cousin — drinking it is an act of patriotism and a middle finger to Drumpf.

Depending on your bartender, the Horsefeather can be served in an old-fashioned glass, collins glass, or a copper mug. Since the ratios aren’t super strict, anything goes, really!

The Horsefeather Cocktail


2 to 3 ounces whiskey
Cold ginger beer
Angostura bitters
Lime wedge


Fill an old-fashioned or collins glass, or a copper mug at least halfway with ice, then add the whiskey and top it off with ginger beer. Add a couple dashes of bitters and a squeeze of lime, then give it a quick stir. Garnish with the lime wedge and enjoy!

NOTE: When buying ginger beer, be sure to get a good one, like Gosling’s, Fentiman’s, Reed’s or Cock’n Bull, and definitely don’t try to substitute ginger ale — unless you want your drink to taste like some, sad watered-down version of patriotism.

P.S. Regarding my headline: I have no ill will toward the good people of Russia. But that Putin — he’s a real dick, huh?

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  1. LL
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    There’s a similar drink here in Baltimore but instead of lime they muddle orange in the glass. Always with rye, which has a long history in Maryland. The Old Hamilton at Hamilton Tavern.

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