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Cocktail Stories: The Fogcutter

Invented by one of the tiki movement’s founding fathers, Trader Vic, The Fogcutter has been shaken into the 21st century by Chicago’s Lost Lake.

Lost Lakes’ partner Paul McGee

When you’re talking tiki, two names come to mind – Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic. The two American bartenders are widely credited with bringing the Polynesian-themed tiki style to the masses.

Although there is debate about who should be named the father of tiki, there are few who would doubt Trader Vic’s claim to the creation of the Fogcutter cocktail. First mixed in the 1940s, the blend of rum, gin, brandy and tropical flavours has been served in countless bars around the world, and is a staple drink in the tiki cocktail world.

Polynesian-­inspired drinking den Lost Lake in Chicago has been serving the tiki classic since it opened – offering a twist on the drink using an oversized seashell. “Guests really love this drink,” says Lost Lake partner Paul McGee. “It’s a really interesting drink that is complex, a bit dry and with a pleasant nutty finish.”

Traditionally made with orange, lemon and orgeat, in addition to its three staple spirits, at Lost Lake the recipe has been tweaked to include curaçao to boost its citrus flavours. The bar also swaps the brandy for Cognac and incorporates a traditional Sherry float into the cocktail in an attempt to marry the flavours.

McGee says: “It was difficult to make all of the flavours come together with the original recipe. The citrus was dominating the other flavours in the cocktail. I decided to make it a little more rum-centric and have the Cognac take more of a complementary role.”

At Lost Lake, agricole rhum and Pierre Ferrand Cognac are mixed with Fords Gin, curaçao, Sherry, lemon and orgeat. McGee and the team have also made interpretations of the drink with calvados in place of Cognac and another that “makes the gin the focus”. “It’s always fun to play with variations of this drink,” says McGee.

Click through to the next page for a list of ingredients and how The Fogcutter is made.

Lost Lake’s The Fogcutter cocktail


30ml Neisson Élevé Sous Bois Rhum

15ml Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac

15ml Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao

15ml Fords Gin

15ml Lustau Amontillado Sherry

30ml Lemon juice

20ml Orgeat


Method: Add all the ingredients into a blender with a cup of crushed ice, flash blend for three seconds. Pour the drink into a tiki mug and top with more crushed ice before garnishing with a mint sprig, orange floret and orchid.

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