The Widow’s Kiss Cocktail Recipe: A Sweet and Herbal Brandy Cocktail

The Widow’s Kiss Cocktail Recipe: A Sweet and Herbal Brandy Cocktail
A decadent combination of apple brandy and herbal liqueurs.

When it comes to cocktails, nothing says “decadence” more than the Widow’s Kiss. It is sweet, and herbal, and incredibly boozy. If you make your drinks big, beware! It’s a perfect cocktail for kicking back by a fire on a cold autumn night and sipping slowly.

The consensus is that this drink was invented by George Kappeler for his 1895 book Modern American Drinks. At least, that seems to be the first mention of it. While it was one of many drinks that largely disappeared from the cocktail landscape during Prohibition, cocktail historians like Ted Haigh have helped bring it back to people’s attention. It’s a good thing, too, because this combination of apple brandy and herbal liqueurs really hits the spot.

If you don’t have calvados, you can use applejack as a simpler, less expensive substitute. They’re not quite the same, but they’re close enough that it’ll work. My recommendation, though, is to get a decent bottle of the French apple brandy. It’s also excellent for drinking neat!

This article is a modified and enhanced version of a post that ran on my nightly cocktail blog, DrinkShouts. Liquors in parentheses are what I used when I made this recipe, and are included as suggestions.

widows kiss cocktail recipe

The Widow's Kiss Cocktail Recipe

A sweet and herbal brandy cocktail
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Drinks
Servings 1 Drink




  • Combine all ingredients in a pint glass over ice and stir thoroughly.
  • Strain into a chilled cocktail coupe. Garnish with a Luxardo maraschino cherry.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Christopher Buecheler

Christopher Buecheler is a novelist, a web developer, an award-winning amateur mixologist, a brewer, a guitarist, a drummer, and an NBA enthusiast. He lives a semi-nomadic life with his wife and two cats, currently residing in Providence, RI. You can learn more at his website,