Pleasantly Sour Army & Navy Cocktail 

Published June 13, 2022
army navy cocktail



  1. Chill a martini glass or coupe.
  2. In a cocktail shaker, add ice, dry gin, lemon juice, orgeat, and bitters.
  3. Shake to chill.
  4. Strain into chilled glass.
  5. Garnish with a small edible flower.

Army and Navy Cocktail Variations and Substitutions

This dry cocktail can withstand a few changes before losing sight of its roots.

  • The recipe calls for a dry gin, and you can use London Dry or Plymouth, but still clear of Old Tom, and skip genever entirely. The latter will be far too sweet.
  • Include a splash of simple syrup to add a little sweetness.
  • Experiment with how much lemon juice you add to personalize just how sour you want your cocktail to be.
  • If you don't have orgeat on hand, you can use amaretto, almond syrup, or falernum.

Garnishes for the Army and Navy Cocktail

It's understandable if you don't have an edible flower garnish on hand, but these are a few easy alternatives.

  • Include a lemon slice, wheel, or wedge. If you use a lemon wheel, float the wheel on top of the martini; otherwise, perch the garnish on the side of the glass.
  • Instead of a fresh citrus garnish, use a dehydrated citrus wheel. You can use a lemon, lime, orange, or grapefruit.
  • Go with a softer citrus touch by using a lemon peel, ribbon, or twist.

A History of the Army and Navy Cocktail

Nothing beats a classic gin cocktail, especially one as dry yet flavorful as the Army and Navy cocktail. However, this cocktail and its ingredients aren't a foreign idea, as it's quite similar to a gin sour. The Army and Navy cocktail isn't a product of tailgating before a storied Army-Navy game. It comes from the Army and Navy Club, a cocktail bar located in none other than Washington, D.C.

Or, then again, maybe not. The bar itself doesn't claim to own the drink's origins, and it first appeared in a cocktail book in 1948 written by David Embury. Before that, the Army and Navy cocktail belonged to the imbibers.

Keeping It Classic

With a game as classic as the Army-Navy football match, there needs to be a cocktail that can withstand time and tradition. Thankfully, you have the Army and Navy cocktail. So even if you don't tune the dial to the game, you have a cocktail recipe in your pocket for any regal occasion.

Pleasantly Sour Army & Navy Cocktail