Cocktail & Other Recipes By Spirit Gin Cocktails


Quill cocktail / Tim Nusog

You would be forgiven for thinking you’ve seen this before. On paper, the Quill looks merely like a plain ol’ Negroni with a rinse of absinthe. Your brain calculates the flavor quickly: the Negroni’s bittersweetness plus a hint of anise-flavored liqueur. But in actuality, this cocktail is far more than the sum of its parts. The absinthe lends both brightness and depth to the drink, taking the classic Negroni into another dimension. 

The drink is included in an edition of Harry McElhone’s classic cocktail book “Harry's ABC of Mixing Cocktails” that was updated in the 1990s, but it doesn’t appear in earlier ones. (The book was originally published in 1930.) The 1996 edition credits Frank C. Payne of New York with creating the drink. It seems Payne was a theatrical press agent who with his peers formed a union in the 1920s to represent their interests. This union published a magazine called The Quill. 

The cocktail by its same name may not possess the sort of literary history as, say, the Green Isaac’s Special or even Vesper, but there’s something fun about drinks inspired by works of the typewriter, pen or even, of course, quill.


  • 1/4 ounce absinthe, to rinse

  • 1 ounce London dry gin

  • 1 ounce Campari

  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth (such as Carpano Antica Formula)

  • Garnish: orange twist


  1. Add the absinthe into a rocks glass and swirl it around to completely coat the inside of the glass.

  2. Discard the excess absinthe and set the glass aside.

  3. Add the gin, Campari and vermouth into a mixing glass with ice and stir until well-chilled.

  4. Strain into the prepared glass over a large ice cube.

  5. Express the oils from an orange twist over the drink and garnish with the twist.