A Modern Hometown Classic

There’s “Classic” cocktails (which often overlaps with “Pre Prohibition” cocktails), and there are “modern” cocktails. And then there’s that middle ground – those cocktails that are well established and a decade or two old but not that classic. I like to call them “modern classics” but it’s all totally subjective and frankly doesn’t really matter… because what matters is what you like! And this is a cocktail I like.

Tastes like Starlight

Created in 1996 by now well-known startender Tony Abu-Ganim, this cocktail is considered a take on a Sidecar (ahem) and supposedly commemorates the Starlight Room bar where he worked at the time. The bar overlooks Union Square and much of the city. And back in the 90’s it was the place to be in San Francisco. This cocktail is named for SF’s famous Cable Car mode of transportation and nowadays is about as “San Francisco” as a cocktail can get.

Like the sidecar, it’s very citrus-forward, with the combination of lemon juice and orange liqueur. I do find it a bit on the tart side for me (but the sugar rim helps a lot – and I suspect maybe that’s what Tony had in mind all along!) If you’d like it sweeter, just kick up the simple syrup a bit. After all – taste is in the eye of the beholder! (err.. mouth?)


The Cable Car

5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Drinks


Cocktail Ingredients

  • 1.5 oz Spiced Rum
  • 0.75 oz Orange Curaçao
  • 0.5 oz Simple Syrup
  • 1 oz Lemon Juice

Cinnamon Sugar Rim Ingredients

  • 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup White Sugar


Cocktail Instructions

  • Rim the edge of a chilled cocktail glass with the cinnamon-sugar mixture and set aside.
  • Add all other ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake well.
  • Strain into prepared glass.
  • Garnish with an orange spiral.

Cinnamon-Sugar Rim Mixture Instructions

  • Mix cinnamon and sugar and use for rimming the glass.