The Millionaire is a traditional sour that arose during Prohibition. To confuse matters (a common occurrence with classic drinks), several cocktails have claimed the Millionaire moniker over the past century. One version contains Jamaican rum, sloe gin and apricot brandy. But this bourbon-based recipe has persevered over time and is the iteration you’re most likely to find today.
In addition to bourbon, the Millionaire features Grand Marnier (a French orange liqueur made from cognac), lemon juice, grenadine, absinthe and egg white. Use fresh lemon juice and homemade grenadine for the best results. The former is easy enough—just squeeze some lemons. The grenadine is almost as simple and can be concocted by merging pomegranate juice with sugar.
If you’re unable to find absinthe, pastis works equally well. This liqueur is made with star anise, which provides its trademark licorice flavor, while absinthe employs wormwood and green anise. And don’t forget the egg white: It adds a silky texture that brings a rich, luxurious note to the drink in keeping with its rich and luxurious theme.
The Millionaire may be one of many, but it has inspired some variations of its own. The Billionaire cocktail from New York bar Employees Only skips the egg white and orange liqueur and calls for absinthe bitters. FYI in case you want to take your aspirational drinking to the next level.
- 2 ounces bourbon
- 3/4 ounce Grand Marnier
- 1/4 ounce absinthe or pastis
- 1/2 ounce lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 1/2 ounce grenadine
- 1/2 ounce egg white
- Garnish: nutmeg, freshly grated
Add the bourbon, Grand Marnier, absinthe, lemon juice, grenadine and egg white into a shaker and dry-shake (without ice) vigorously.
Add ice and shake again until well-chilled
Double-strain into a chilled coupe glass.
Grate nutmeg over the top of the drink.
Raw Egg Warning
Consuming raw and lightly cooked eggs poses a risk of food-borne illness.