Many drinks and cocktails are a mixture of different spirits with or without additional tastes introduced by juices, concentrates and/or other ingredients that create their special taste.

My personal experience is that less components a cocktail has more specific the character of the drink seems to be. However, are there spirits (don't mention other ingredients) that never should be combined?

1 Answer 1


Are there any spirits that never should be combined in a cocktail or drink?

The short answer is no.

But that said, there are some spirits that some might want to think twice about since they have an overpowering taste. On the top of my list would be absinthe and chartreuse (especially the green).

Absinthe traditionally has a natural green colour but may also be colourless. It is commonly referred to in historical literature as "la fée verte" (the green fairy). Although it is sometimes mistakenly referred to as a liqueur, absinthe is not traditionally bottled with added sugar; it is therefore classified as a spirit. Absinthe is traditionally bottled at a high level of alcohol by volume, but it is normally diluted with water prior to being consumed. - Absinthe (Wikipedia)

Chartreuse has a very strong characteristic taste. It is very sweet, but becomes both spicy and pungent. It is comparable to other herbal liqueurs such as Galliano, Liquore Strega or Kräuterlikör, though it is distinctively more vegetal. Like other liqueurs, its flavour is sensitive to serving temperature. If straight, it can be served very cold, but is often served at room temperature. It is also featured in some cocktails. Some mixed drink recipes call for only a few drops of Chartreuse due to the assertive flavour. It is popular in French ski resorts where it is mixed with hot chocolate and called Green Chaud. - Chartreuse (Wikipedia)

Personally I drink chartreuse and bénédictine straight, while I will drink absinthe with water and ice. Absinthe is too overpowering for me to use in a cocktail or mix.

In the end, whether or not to use a particular spirit in a cocktail or as a mix is personal choice and there are no fixed rules on the subject, so one must be aware of what a particular spirit might do to your recipe.

  • 1
    both absinthe and chartreuse are used in classic cocktails, including (but not limited to) corpse reviver #2, sazerac, death in the afternoon (absinthe) and last word, greenpoint (chartreuse)
    – joe p
    Commented Jul 4, 2018 at 16:27
  • 1
    @joep Ken has said that it's up to the user but that there are some you "might want to think twice about". I think most people would agree that they are overpowering and would be avoided in a cocktail unless you want the cocktail to taste overwhelmingly of that
    – Gamora
    Commented Jul 30, 2019 at 14:13

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