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Easy Clara Bow Cocktail

The Clara Bow cocktail is a delicious twist on the classic whiskey sour cocktail that has a delicate, fruity flavor. If Bourbon cocktails are your thing, you’ll love this easy to make drink. 

clara bow cocktail

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The Clara Bow Cocktail

clara bow cocktail

Clara Bow was a popular American actress born on 29 July 1905 in Brooklyn. She rose to stardom during her filming career in the 1920s. 

She is also known as the “It” girl because of her role in the famous movie “The It Girl.” Her filming career consists of 46 silent films and 11 talkies, including popular ones such as Wings (1947) and Mantrap (1926).

A notable fact about Cara Bow is that she was named the first box-office draw in 1928 and 1929 and the second box-office draws in 1927 and 1930. She passed away in1965 at the age of 60.

Origins Of Clara Bow Cocktail

So how did the Clara Bow cocktail come about? The New York Sour inspired the Clara Bow cocktail. The New York Sour is an early twentieth-century cocktail with a float of red wine on top of a classic Whiskey Sour.

Mixologist Lynnette Marrero created the Clara Bow cocktail alongside bartender Jim Kearns at Rye House in New York City in 2009. The drink creator’s house is No. 11 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10001.

Marrero is the beverage director at Wonderbar in Beacon, New York. Marrero says that he took inspiration from the speakeasies of the Prohibition era when creating this cocktail. 

 Clara Bow Cocktail Ingredients

Here I’ve given the steps to mix up your Clara Bow cocktail. This recipe uses Bourbon and homemade Grenadine for a refreshing cocktail. 

The Grenadine used in this recipe is made with pomegranate juice and sugar. You can add lemon zest or zests of your favorite citrus to the final mix. More on this later.


  • St. Germain elderflower liqueur
  •  Grenadine (store bought or see directions below to make your own).
  •  Bourbon
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Mint leaves
  • Mint sprig for garnishing

How to make Grenadine:

Use homemade Grenadine in the Clara Bow cocktail recipe for best results. Here is how you can make Grenadine.

  1. Combine 16 ounces of pomegranate juice with 8 ounces of sugar.
  2. Place in a saucepan and heat it over medium to high heat.
  3. Keep stirring until the sugar completely dissolves, which could take about 5 minutes.
  4. Once sugar is completely dissolved, set the pan aside to cool.
  5. Express the zest out of lemon or any citrus fruits of your choice into the pan and drop the peels into the liquid.
  6. Once it cools, remove the peels from the liquid and refrigerate the Grenadine for upto one month in an airtight container.

Homemade Grenadine is easy and an excellent way to mix your cocktails whenever you want.

How To Make A Clara Bow Cocktail

Clara bow cocktail recipe

  1. If you don’t have Grenadine, prepare homemade Grenadine according to the instructions below.
  2. Combine all of the above ingredients in a shaker. 
  3. Add 4 – 5 ice cubes to the mix.
  4. Shake the mix well.
  5. Pour the resulting mix into a coupe glass using a Hawthorne strainer and fine mesh strainer.
  6. Garnish your Clara Bow cocktail with a mint sprig.
  7. Serve your Clara Bow cocktail.

How To Serve Your Clara Bow Cocktail

Clara Bow cocktail recipe

Remember to serve any cocktail as soon as you make it. The same applies to serving the Clara Bow. Keeping a cocktail for too long can dilute it, and the ingredients won’t be mixed correctly.

You can use a coupe glass to serve the Clara Bow. Remember to lay a cloth on the tray to prevent the mix from spilling and creating a mess.

Start serving women first, starting from the right-hand side.

Recipe Variations

You could do a few variations to this Clara Bow cocktail recipe. However, the original recipe gives the best results in terms of taste.

  • Replace Bourbon with whiskey, cognac, or rum.
  • Replace St. Germain elderflower liqueur with gin.
  • Replace lemon with other citrus fruits like lime, orange, or grapefruit.

If you love the Clara Bow, you may like these other classic cocktails:

Peach Whiskey Sour

Clover Club Cocktail With Fresh Raspberries

Blueberry Whiskey Smash Cocktail

How To Store Leftovers

You can store leftover cocktails chilled in the refrigerator. If you’re storing them in cocktail glasses, make sure they are not made of very fine crystal, which could easily break when exposed to freezing temperatures.

Take them out of the freezer 30 minutes before the time you intend to serve them. I find it perfect for storing my cocktails in a mason jar, and it seals well and can be frozen without any worries!

Recipe Tips

Here are a few tips to help you mix and serve your guests the best Clara Bow cocktail.

  • Don’t use ice in the shaker more than once. If not, you could be diluting your cocktail mix.
  • Mix about three times after adding ice. Too much mixing could also dilute the cocktail and make it taste different.
  • Shake up, down, forwards, and backward with elegance. Once you feel the cold temperature of the metal, that’s when your Clara Bow cocktail is ready to be poured into the glass and served.
  • Taste your cocktail first before serving your guests. Remember, you are always your best critic.

Alternative Cocktails To Try

The Star is another popular cocktail made with Applejack. Here’s how to mix it up before your next party.


  • 1-ounce applejack
  • 1-ounce sweet vermouth
  • 2 dashes of gum syrup
  • 3 dashes Peychaud’sPeychaud’s bitters or Angostura


  1. Mix all ingredients in a shaker. 
  2. Strain the mix.
  3. Garnish with a lemon twist.
  4. Serve in cocktail glasses.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who Created The Clara Bow Cocktail Recipe?

Mixologist Lynnette Marrero, alongside bartender Jim Kearns, created the Clara Bow cocktail at Rye House in New York City in 2009. Marrero is the beverage director at Wonderbar in Beacon, New York. 

Can You Make Non-Alcoholic Clara Bow Cocktails?

No. The main ingredients of the Clara Bow cocktail are elderflower liqueur and Bourbon, which are essential to get the true flavor.

What Can You Replace Lemon Juice With In A Clara Bow Cocktail?

You can replace lemon juice with citrus fruit such as lime, orange, grapefruits, etc.

The Use Of Fruits In Cocktails

Cocktails are often made using one or more fruits or fruit zests. Apart from these, bartenders use fruits and herbs as garnishing in cocktails. 

One of the main reasons for this is to add freshness to the cocktails. Add ripe fruits to your Clara Bow cocktail, adding the most flavor and sweetness.

Fruits also add great color to your drink, which makes it more appealing. Fruits like cherries, strawberries, etc., can brighten up a cocktail any time of the day. 

The appealing look combined with the taste of the cocktail is surely what makes these drinks extra special.

Here are some great combinations of fruits and liquor to produce amazing drinks.

  • Gin flavored with lemon, orange, grapefruit, juniper berries, cardamom, anise, coriander, lavender, rose, cucumber, jalapeno, mint, etc.
  • Rum paired with coconut, pineapple, lime, mint, etc.
  • Tequila paired with mango, pineapple, passionfruit, lemon, lime, grapefruit, orange, mint, sage, rosemary, cucumber, jalapeno, cilantro, chipotle chiles, etc.
  • Vodka paired with cranberry, tomato, grapefruit, orange, lemon, basil, lavender, rosemary, etc.
  • Whiskey & Bourbon paired with lemon, mint, cherries, peaches, blackberries, rosemary, thyme, etc.

The use of fruits cannot be underestimated with their many health benefits. Many individuals also take up diet plans consisting of fruits like the 5-day apple diet plan or the lemon water diet plan etc.

As the saying goes, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”!

Clara Bow Cocktail: Final Thoughts

These seven easy steps to make Clara Bow Cocktail are made according to the original recipe from its creator, Lynnette Marrero. As given above, there are a few variations that you could try, but the taste could vary greatly.

Don’t forget to store an extra batch of Grenadine in your refrigerator so that you can take it out whenever you want to mix up a Clara Bow cocktail. You can also freeze pre-made Clara Bow cocktails for later use.

clara bow cocktail
Yield: 1

Clara Bow Cocktail

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

This fruity and delicious Bourbon cocktail is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. If you are a fan of classic sour cocktails, you will love the Clara Bow!


  • ½ ounce St. Germain elderflower liqueur
  • ½ ounce Grenadine
  • 1 ½ ounces Bourbon
  • ¾ ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 5 - 6 mint leaves
  • Mint sprig for garnishing


  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a shaker
  2. Add 4 - 5 ice cubes to the mix.
  3. Shake the mix well.
  4. Pour the resulting mix into a coupe glass using a cocktail strainer
  5. Garnish your Clara Bow cocktail with a mint sprig.
  6. Serve your Clara Bow cocktail.


You can make your own grenadine easily or buy it from the store

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how to make a Clara Bow cocktail

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