Suffering Bastard Recipe

The Suffering Bastard Recipe: Classic Cocktail

The Suffering Bastard is a classic cocktail that has been around for decades. It was first created in the 1940s by a British bartender named Joe Scialom, who worked at the Shepheard Hotel in Cairo, Egypt. The cocktail was originally intended as a remedy to cure hangovers and other ailments caused by the extreme heat of Cairo.

The original recipe called for equal parts gin and brandy, along with lime juice, ginger beer, and Angostura bitters. The drink quickly gained popularity both in Cairo and beyond.

It was soon adopted by American GIs who were stationed in Egypt during World War II. They brought the recipe back to their home country, where it became a hit among cocktail enthusiasts.


Servers: 1

  • 1 oz gin
  • 1 oz brandy or cognac
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • 4-6 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Chilled ginger ale
  • Mint, (garnish- optional)

Taster’s Guide Tip 236: Suffering Bastard Recipe

The Suffering Bastard cocktail gained its intriguing name due to its reputation as a hangover cure. It was said to have been named by a British officer who claimed that after a night of heavy drinking, the cocktail was the only thing that could alleviate his suffering. The combination of spirits, lime juice, bitters, and ginger ale is believed to provide a refreshing and revitalizing effect, making it a popular choice for those seeking relief from the “suffering” caused by excessive alcohol consumption.


  1. In a shaker or glass with ice, combine gin, brandy or cognac, lime juice, and Angostura bitters.
  2. Shake vigorously for 15 seconds.
  3. Fill a highball glass with ice.
  4. Strain the cocktail into the glass.
  5. Top with chilled ginger ale, leaving about an inch of space.
  6. Gently stir.
  7. Optional: Garnish with mint.
  8. Serve and enjoy!

Explanation of its unique name

The name “Suffering Bastard” is quite unique, and it has an interesting backstory as well. According to legend, Joe Scialom originally came up with the name after seeing some of his customers suffering from hangovers after a night of heavy drinking. He reportedly said that they looked like “suffering bastards,” which inspired him to create a drink that could cure their pain.

Another theory behind the name is that it was inspired by a British army officer named Major General Sir Percy Hobart. Hobart was known for his tough training methods and demanding drills, which earned him the nickname “the old bastard.” When he visited Joe Scialom’s bar in Cairo during World War II, he reportedly enjoyed several rounds of the Suffering Bastard cocktail before retiring to his quarters for the night.

Regardless of its origin story, there’s no denying that the Suffering Bastard is an iconic cocktail with an intriguing name. Its unique combination of flavors and its history make it a must-try for anyone interested in classic cocktails.

Ingredients Info

Explanation of each ingredient and its role in the recipe

Each ingredient used in a Suffering Bastard has a specific role to play in the final taste and texture of the drink. Gin is an essential ingredient because its botanical flavors add depth to the cocktail’s taste profile and complement citrus notes well.

Cognac or brandy brings richness and warmth to the drink with its deep fruity flavor and spicy notes. Lime juice provides tartness which balances out the sweetness of ginger ale and adds a fresh citrus aroma that makes this drink more refreshing.

The use of Angostura bitters enhances complexity by imparting warm spices such as cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and cardamom flavor profile with some bitter notes which brings out all flavors together. Ginger ale brings sweetness while adding spicy kick at end making it more bold flavored than normally sweet cocktails.

The final touch mint garnish can be added for an extra layer of freshness. Each element is crucial for creating this classic cocktail’s unique flavor profile that has worldwide popularity even after so many decades have passed since it was first created.

Tips for Achieving the Perfect Balance of Flavors

One crucial aspect when making any cocktail is achieving the perfect balance of flavors. Here are some tips to ensure that your Suffering Bastard has just the right amount of sweetness, tartness, and kick:

  • Use fresh ingredients: Fresh lime juice is essential in this recipe as it provides a tangy flavor that complements the alcohol’s potent taste.
  • Measure accurately: To avoid overpowering one flavor over another or making your drink too weak or too strong, use precise measurements when adding your ingredients.
  • Balance sweetness: While ginger syrup adds sweetness to this cocktail recipe, you may need to add a little more if you find that it is too sour or bitter. Taste as you go along and adjust where needed.
  • Create contrast: The combination of bourbon and gin provides both a rich depth of flavor and an herbal essence in this recipe. Adding ginger beer brings balanced heat while also providing effervescence to lighten up things.

Following these tips will help you create an exceptional Suffering Bastard cocktail that balances all flavors perfectly.

Suffering Bastard Recipe


As with any classic cocktail, there are several variations of the Suffering Bastard recipe that can be found at different bars and in different regions. One popular variation is the “Dying Bastard,” which is made by swapping out ginger beer for ginger ale. This creates a slightly sweeter version of the drink that still delivers a spicy kick.

Another variation is called the “Dead Bastard,” which includes the addition of bitters to add complexity to the drink’s flavor profile. Some bartenders have even been known to experiment with different types of bitters to create unique variations on this classic cocktail.

Suggestions for substitutions or additions

If you’re looking to put your own spin on this classic cocktail, there are several substitutions and additions you can make to customize it according to your preferences. For example, if you prefer a sweeter cocktail, try adding a splash of pineapple juice or honey syrup in place of some of the lime juice.

If you’re looking for a more complex flavor profile, consider experimenting with different types of rum. Dark rum will give your Suffering Bastard a richer flavor, while spiced rum will add an extra layer of complexity and warmth to the drink.

You can also play around with the garnish on your Suffering Bastard by using different herbs and spices. Mint and basil are both great options that pair well with lime and ginger flavors.

Or try adding a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg for an extra kick of spice. By making these substitutions or additions, you can customize your Suffering Bastard cocktail according to your taste preferences and make it truly unique.

Serving and Pairings

Best ways to serve and present the cocktail

The Suffering Bastard cocktail is a refreshing and flavorful drink that can be enjoyed on a variety of occasions. To truly appreciate its unique taste, it is important to serve it properly.

The most common way to serve the Suffering Bastard is in a tall glass filled with ice, but there are other creative ways to present this classic cocktail. For example, some bartenders like to serve the Suffering Bastard in a tiki mug, garnished with fresh mint leaves and a slice of lime.

Another option is to use vintage glassware or colorful tumblers for added aesthetic appeal. When serving this cocktail, it’s important to remember that presentation is key – the more visually appealing the drink looks, the more likely people will want to try it.

The Suffering Bastard cocktail has a unique flavor that pairs well with a variety of foods. One great choice is spicy or savory dishes such as grilled meats or spicy Asian cuisines like Thai or Indian food.

The refreshing aspect of this drink can also work well as an after-dinner drink paired with light desserts such as fruit sorbet. Another great pairing for this classic cocktail is seafood dishes like sushi rolls or ceviche.

The bright citrusy flavors in the Suffering Bastard complement seafood very well, making them an excellent match. For vegetarians or those who prefer lighter fare, pairing this cocktail with salads made from fresh greens, herbs and vegetables is also an excellent option.

One thing to keep in mind when pairing food with Suffering Bastard cocktails is that you should aim for balance – don’t let any one flavor overpower another. With some experimentation, you’ll soon discover which foods pair particularly well with this deliciously complex beverage.

Suffering Bastard Recipe

Fun Facts

The Origin and History of the Suffering Bastard Cocktail

One of the most interesting things about the Suffering Bastard cocktail is how it got its name. It originates from a British officer in Egypt during World War II, who was trying to cure his hangover. This officer combined gin and brandy, added lime juice, ginger beer, and bitters into the mix, and this became known as the Suffering Bastard cocktail.

The unique name comes from the fact that it was supposed to help cure a hangover – so if you were drinking it, you must have been suffering like a bastard! Another fun fact about this cocktail is that it became popular among American servicemen during World War II.

As they traveled around the world fighting in various locations, they would often come across local ingredients or variations of drinks. They brought those influences back home with them after the war ended, introducing new flavors and recipes to their communities.

Little-Known Details About Its Ingredients or Preparation Process

While many people think of gin or brandy when they think of the Suffering Bastard cocktail, there are actually many variations that use different base spirits. For example, some recipes use bourbon instead of brandy; others might use vodka or rum instead of gin. Another important ingredient for making a great Suffering Bastard is ginger ale or ginger beer.

These carbonated beverages add an effervescence to the cocktail that balances out its strong flavors. However, not all ginger ale or beer is created equal!

Some brands are sweeter than others; some are spicier than others; some might have additional flavor notes like lemon or lime. One little-known detail about preparing this drink is that it can be served over ice or blended with ice for a frozen version.

The ice can help mellow out the flavors and make it easier to drink. Plus, a blended version can be a fun way to mix things up for your guests!


The Suffering Bastard cocktail is a classic that has stood the test of time. Despite its unusual name and somewhat complex recipe, it remains a beloved drink among cocktail enthusiasts and casual drinkers alike. So why is it still popular today?

One reason is undoubtedly the unique blend of flavors that the Suffering Bastard offers. It’s both sweet and sour, with a hint of spice from the ginger beer.

This makes it a versatile cocktail that can be enjoyed in different settings – as a refreshing summer drink or as a warming winter tipple. Another reason for its popularity could be the history behind the cocktail.

The Suffering Bastard has been around for over 70 years, and during that time it has been enjoyed by travelers, soldiers, and civilians alike. Its roots in wartime Egypt give it an air of intrigue and adventure that adds to its appeal even today.

Encouragement for Readers to Try Making It Themselves

If you haven’t tried making your own Suffering Bastard yet, we highly recommend giving it a go! While there are many variations on the recipe out there, we believe that our version strikes just the right balance of flavors.

Don’t be intimidated by some of the ingredients – once you’ve got everything together, making this cocktail is actually quite simple. And if you’re not sure where to start when it comes to sourcing some of the more obscure ingredients (like Pimm’s No. 1 or Angostura bitters), don’t worry – most liquor stores should stock them.

So what are you waiting for? Gather your ingredients, grab your shaker, and get ready to enjoy one of the most delicious cocktails out there!

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