Lemongrass Collins

A lemongrass collins takes a little time, but you will end up with a delicious, refreshing cocktail that will also knock you on your arse.

Lemongrass CollinsThis unbelievably delicious Lemongrass Collins recipe comes from Barnum Cafe in Rome. Have Matt and I ever been to this darling-looking place? Um…no. But we know people.

Important people.

Our dear friends, Rickey and Barbara, went to Italy and, being the most fun people that ever lived, managed to convince the bartender from Barnum Cafe to give them the recipe. I then harassed them into giving it to me. And I am now giving it to you, the internet.

Quick aside: Matt and I recently spent the weekend with them, drinking these cocktails and watching a marathon of the first season of The Knick. For me, one of life’s greatest pleasures is spending time with people who make me laugh, cooking great food, drinking delicious drinks, and watching Clive Owen do creepy things to Bono’s daughter.

Lemongrass Collins

For a Lemongrass Collins cocktail, you will need Lemongrass infused vodka which is incredibly easy to make but takes a couple of weeks. Believe me, it is worth it. My advice is start now and make enough for the whole summer.

Lemongrass and Lemon-Peel Infused Vodka

The other ingredient in the lemongrass Collins – and something new to me – is a Spanish liqueur called Licor 43. It’s main note is vanilla but it also has herbs and fruit in it which give it a very distinctive flavor. Of course having the memory of a flea, I walked into my favorite liquor store and promptly asked them for Licor 42. The salesman handed me the bottle and said, “that last Licor’s on me.” Cheeky monkey.

Nerd Tips:
  • To make simple syrup, add equal parts water and sugar to a saucepan and heat until the sugar is fully dissolved. Let it cool then pour it into a clean jar or bottle and it will keep for weeks. It’s very useful for sweetening cold drinks because sugar crystals need heat to dissolve.
  • Different brands of ginger beer vary greatly in sweetness so taste your mix to see what you like. We tend to favor drinks on the less-sweet side and didn’t end up adding any simple syrup to ours.
  • When you zest lemons, try to remove as little of the white pith as you can. That’s the bitter part.
  • If you’re making this for a crowd, you can mix a batch in advance but don’t add the ginger beer until the last minute or it will go flat.
  • You could top it with a little club soda if you want it less strong.
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Lemongrass Collins

Servings: 1 cocktail


  • 1-1/2 oz. Lemongrass infused vodka
  • 3/4 oz. Licor 43 vanilla liqueur
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1-2 tablespoons simple syrup optional, to taste
  • 4 oz. ginger beer or more, to taste
  • Lemon slices for garnish
  • Lemongrass for garnish


  • Shake lemongrass-infused vodka, vanilla liqueur, lemon juice and simple syrup with ice in a cocktail shaker. Strain into a Collins or highball glass full of crushed ice.
  • Top with ginger beer (to taste) and garnish with lemon slices and a stick of lemongrass.
Tried this recipe?Mention @NerdsWithKnives or tag #nerdswithknives!


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