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Income Tax Cocktail Recipe – Takes The Edge Off

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Ah, cocktails named after things no one likes are a great way to poke fun…but there are two things you can never escape: death, and taxes. Maybe this drink will make it hurt less, and maybe you’ll find a new favorite. 

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Income Tax

What is the Income Tax?

The Income Tax is a chilled cocktail that’s more of a sipper, and its key elements are gin and vermouth. It uses two types of vermouth and some version use three, so this could be a bit tough to love if you’re not a vermouth fan. The orange will help things along tho, so it should be fine for most people.

For such an interestingly named cocktail, its origins and the idea behind the name are pretty much lost to time. However you could posit that since this is a very old cocktail (1920s) it could be a nod to the Prohibition. That’s just my guess though, not fact.

income tax 1

Income Tax Cocktail

Ioana Ciuraru
It might just make filing taxes feel a little less annoying.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 1


  • 1.5 oz gin
  • 0.5 oz sweet vermouth
  • 0.5 dry vermouth
  • 1 oz orange juice
  • 2 dashes aromatic bitters
  • star anise for garnish
  • granulated sugar for garnish


  • Wet the rim of a Martini glass with orange, dip into granulated sugar.
  • In a shaker combine gin, vermouths, orange juice, bitters, and ice. Shake well.
  • Strain into Martini glass, add star anise to float.


  • The star anise won't impart flavor, but it smells great. Feel free to skip it if you want.

When is this drink best ?

The Income Tax probably works best on tax filing day, or after a looong day when you want to forget about the world for a few minutes. IT’s not a simple, plain drink you can drink without giving it a second thought. The vermouths will have you savor them and there isn’t much sweetness here, so this is something to ponder and understand as you drink. 

My thoughts on Income Tax

Well… it’s not to my taste since I can easily feel the gin. The vermouth does well, both the blanc and sweet work well with the orange, and so does the orange bitter. Gin was a very popular alcohol when this cocktail emerged, but I think it would work well with something like white rum or just more vermouth blanc instead of gin.  

income tax making

If you like Income Tax, you might also like…

The Bronx – same ingredients as the Income Tax, minus the bitters

Notes, substitutes, and tips

Fresh orange juice is key here, and anywhere else it may be asked for. Store-bought is fine too, but it lacks the zest and flavor a fresh one has. If your fresh orange juice isn’t very sweet, you can always add a bar spoon of simple syrup. 

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