5 of Our Favorite Tax Day Cocktail Recipes

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Everyone has enemies. And the natural enemy of cocktail-loving folk everywhere is taxes.

In 1913, the 16th Amendment was ratified, empowering the government to collect income tax from citizens. Congress then decided that this added revenue meant the government might no longer need to rely on taxing alcohol sales.

But rather than take the honorable course of action and make alcohol tax-free, they went ahead and passed the 18th Amendment, prohibiting the sale and production of alcohol in the United States. This turn of events pleased somewhere between 10 and 15 Americans while the rest of the country set about heroically drinking as much black market booze as possible.

To celebrate — what am I saying — to recover from Tax Day this year, here are some cocktails to ease you back down to your normal levels of anxiety and frustration.

Death and Taxes

“[I]n this world, nothing is certain except death and taxes,” Benjamin Franklin famously said in 1789. Five months later, he died at 84 years young, leaving behind an impressive legacy as a writer, inventor, diplomat and kite enthusiast.

Bartender Michael Madrusen came up with this one while at legendary NYC watering hole Milk and Honey. I know, I know — gin and scotch in the same drink? It sounds like an appropriately punitive tipple for Tax Day, but the Benedictine and bitters help tie it all together. 

  • 1 oz. Dewar’s 12-year scotch
  • 1 oz. dry gin
  • .75 oz. Punt y Mes
  • .25 oz. Benedictine
  • 2 dashes of orange bitters
  • Stir with ice, strain into a chilled coupe glass

Recipe adapted from Difford’s Guide.

The IRS Cocktail

Widely beloved by rich and poor alike, the Internal Revenue Service has been processing 1040 forms since 1913. This drink is obviously meant to conjure up the breezy tropical resort vibes of the Internal Revenue Service Building in Washington, D.C.

  • 1.5 oz. coconut rum
  • 2 oz. orange juice
  • 1 oz mango nectar
  • .5 oz. lime juice

Recipe adapted from The Kitchen Prep.

Income Tax Cocktail

The concept of income tax is simple: You make money, then the government takes some of that money to build bridges and fighter jets. Yet there are no great novels or films about income tax, no passionate ballads or Broadway shows.


What we have instead is this weird cocktail. You might not like it, but you’ve got to hold your nose and swallow it anyway. Actually if you use freshly squeezed orange juice, which of course you should, it’s perfectly fine. Just pretend you were so blitzed at breakfast that you spilled some OJ in your martini.

  • 1.5 oz. dry gin
  • .75 oz. dry vermouth
  • .75 sweet vermouth
  • 1 oz. freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 dashes of angostura bitters
  • Shake with ice, strain into a chilled coupe glass

Recipe adapted from Harry Craddock’s The Savoy Cocktail Book.

The Millionaire

Thurston Howell III, seen here reacting to Ginger’s admission that she regularly pays her taxes. Photo Courtesy: CBS via Getty Images

On Tax Day, it’s important to remember that an entire class of people don’t get to enjoy the pleasure of paying taxes, and these unfortunate souls are called millionaires. No matter how much they make, the government won’t take their money. As Thurston Howell III would have said if he were real, “Taxes are for the little people.”

There are several different Millionaire recipes dating back to 1930ish. Ted Haigh (aka Dr. Cocktail) arrived at this modern take after much experimentation, balancing out the excess sweetness with more rum and lime juice.

  • 1.5 oz. Myer’s Original Dark Rum
  • .75 oz. sloe gin
  • .75 oz. apricot brandy
  • 1.25 oz. lime juice
  • Shake with ice and strain into a chilled coupe glass
  • Garnish with a lime wedge

Adapted from Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails by Ted Haigh.

The Liberal

According to a 2014 study published in the Journal of Wine Economics, liberals drink more spirits than conservatives, so it’s only fair they get their own cocktail to help advance their tax-and-drink-and-spend agenda.


This is another of Ted Haigh’s unearthed discoveries. The original recipe calls for Amer Picon, which is unavailable in the United States for no sensible reason, but the ramazzotti is a close substitute that’s much easier to find.

  • .75 oz. 100-proof rye
  • .75 oz. sweet vermouth (Carpano Antica works best for this one)
  • 1 bar spoon of ramazzotti
  • 1 generous dash of orange bitters
  • Stir with ice, strain into a chilled coupe glass
  • Garnish with a maraschino cherry

Adapted from Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails by Ted Haigh.