The Jasmine: The Complex Gin Cocktail You Should Try

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We're living in an American cocktail renaissance. It's possible that the art of a well-mixed drink hasn't been given this much attention since the prohibition era.

Punch reports that in the late 1990s and early 2000s, bartenders in the trendiest cities of the country began reaching back to the so-called "Golden Age" of cocktails that came 100 years earlier. Drinks like the Sazerac, Gin Sling, Old Fashioned, and Caipirinha started to pop up on drink menus of hip establishments. Dale DeGroff, Julie Reiner, Peggy Boston, and other bartenders became newly minted celebrities in some circles as just some of the pioneers reviving these classic drinks.

One drink that also rose to prominence in this era was the Jasmine, though it didn't have the same all-star pedigree as the others. According to Difford's Guide, the Jasmine is a bittersweet and rosy pink cocktail that was invented by Architecture student and part-time bartender Paul Harrington. The Seattle Times says that Harrington is a full-time architect now and has gotten out of the bartending game, but the cocktail he made back in the 90s has stuck around.

History of the Jasmine

As the legend goes, the Jasmine was created by Paul Harrington while he was working at an establishment called The Townhouse in Emeryville, California (via Punch). Harrington was tending bar on a slow night when his friend Matt Jasmin asked him to whip up something new. Harrington was still exploring the art of mixology, so he decided to riff on a classic cocktail called the Pegu Club. The Seattle Times says that Harrington subbed lemon juice for lime and introduced the bittersweet Italian liqueur Campari in place of Angostura bitters. Harrington named his new creation in honor of his friend and would go on to include the recipe in his book "Cocktail: The Drinks Bible for the 21st Century."

From there, Harrington and Jasmin would go on to mostly forget about the drink, per Punch. It continued to persistently pop up on restaurant and bar menus throughout the "cocktail renaissance," though. This is possibly due to the inclusion of Campari, which was appearing in all sorts of cocktails at the time. It's viewed today as a staple drink in the bartending world. The Seattle Times says the Jasmine was even dubbed a "modern classic" by New York Times cocktail writer Robert Simonson.

How to make the Jasmine

Like many of the resurging classic cocktails, the Jasmine is a remarkably simple drink to construct. Difford's Guide says that the Jasmine is made by mixing lemon juice, Campari, gin, and triple sec together in a shaker with cracked ice. It's then strained and served neat into a coupe glass with a lemon rind garnish.

According to, the resulting drink is a bright pink delight with citrusy and sweet notes. Punch reports that its color often brings comparisons to its contemporary The Cosmopolitan. Early Jasmine evangelist Evelyne Slomon would even dub the Jasmine "the cosmo for grown-ups." The color of the drink would also draw fitting comparisons to grapefruit juice, with one early test taster Evan Shively saying, "Congratulations! You've invented grapefruit juice," after first trying the drink (via Punch).

The Jasmine is a modern cocktail greater than the sum of its parts and only requires a few commonly found bottles that any cocktail fan should try at least once.