Christmas Dinner Aperitif: Prince of Wales

The „Prince of Wales“ cocktail is generally credited to Queen Victoria’s eldest son, Albert Edward (Edward VII), who held the title of Prince of Wales until he became King of the United Kingdom following his mother’s death in 1901. The recipe was originally made with rye whisky which got replaced with cognac when rye whisky became less available during prohibition, and a number of very different(-tasting) variations exist today using, e.g. Maraschino, Bénédictine or other liquors with the cognac or rye whisky, replacing pineapple with orange or lemon zest or suggesting syrups or icing sugar for sweetening. So whenever I happen to order a Prince of Wales in a bar, I enquire about how it is made – in a way, it could be anything!

The following recipe is based on the recommendation by the handbook „Cocktailian“ which, in turn, is supposedly based on the recipe by Frank Meier, legendary bartender at the Hôtel Ritz Paris in the 1930s.

It is certainly a festive and uplifting pre-dinner cocktail, and the silver cups in which it is served traditionally look elegant and beautiful on any dinner table – all of which makes it the perfect aperitif to be served before your Christmas dinner.


Ingredients (per cocktail):

  • 2 cl Madeira
  • 2 cl cognac (e.g. Hennessy VS or Fine de Cognac)
  • 2 dashes of Angostura bitters
  • 1 BL Orange Curaçao
  • 2 pieces of fresh pineapple
  • Champagner (e.g. Taittinger)


  1. Pre-chill silver cups in your freezer for at least 15 minutes.
  2. Fill ice cubes into a shaker. Add the Madeira, cognac, Angostura bitters, Orange Curaçao and one piece of pineapple. Shake well.
  3. Pour the mix into the pre-chilled cups using a cocktail strainer to hold back the ice.
  4. Fill up with a few dashes of champagne. (Note: Pince of Wales is not meant to be fizzing much and in this sense it is not a (typical) champagne cocktail. So use only a little bit of champagne.)
  5. Serve with a piece of pineapple for decoration. (A fresh piece will look a lot nicer that the one you might be able to retrieve from the shaker.)

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