Lost Lantern Starlight Bourbon Cocktail: Turf’N’Turf

American Vatted Malt cocktail
Our California state manager Drew Record

To go along with Lost Lantern’s Spring 2024 Collection, the Midwest Collection, our California state manager, Drew Record, has prepared a series of cocktails. There are seven unique releases in the Midwest Collection and Drew has created a cocktail to showcase each one of the releases. Next up in the series is Turf’N’Turf – A Lost Lantern Starlight Bourbon Cocktail. 

Lost Lantern Starlight Bourbon Cocktail: Turf’N’Turf

Turf’N’Turf Cocktail: The Story

St. Elmo Steakhouse, in Indianapolis, is the sort of place you imagine Ron Swanson dreaming about: thick-cut, dry-aged, midwestern raised steaks, served in a century-old brick building on a busy corner of the capital city. The steakhouse, which was named for the patron saint of sailors, introduced the Elmo Cola, their vanilla and cherry soaked bourbon cola about a decade ago. It is now one of the most popular drinks, not just on their menu, but throughout the state of Indiana. There is even a bottled version of the cocktail available now. When we started looking at Midwestern cocktails we couldn’t ignore the appeal of this flavor combination. 

Rather than asking you to make a complicated infusion at home, we have taken the Elmo Cola as inspiration and crafted a Manhattan variation that brings the flavors of dark tart cherries and pungent vanilla beans to the cocktail through the inclusion of some liqueurs you may already have on your bar shelf. Cherry Herring was created in 1818 and is the world’s first cherry liqueur. If you’ve ever had a true Singapore Sling then you’ve had this tart-sweet aperitif before.

Licor 43 is a Spanish liqueur, launched in 1946 and based on an ancient Carthaginian recipe. While there are many secret botanicals in their recipe, the nose is unmistakably dominated by vanilla and citrus. To balance out these two sweet modifiers we’ll rely on cola bitters, which get their bitterness and flavor from the kola nut, the same kola nut originally prized in the creation of early cola recipes. Ironically the major cola brands no longer use kola nuts precisely because of its very bitter flavor.

This bitterness is one of the reasons so much sugar was added to the drink when it was in its patent medicine phase. If you don’t have cola bitters on hand or can’t find them at your local dram shop, Angostura bitters will work in a pinch. As with all cocktails we want to achieve balance. The relatively high proof of the Starlight Bourbon stands up very well to the sweetness of Licor 43 and Cherry Heering but needs some bitterness to further tip the scales away from sweet.

Beside the flavor of the kola nut, cinnamon, nutmeg, citrus oils and vanilla are those most dominant in the iconic cola brands. Knowing this lets you find other bitters that would work well here. You can even play around with adding some of your favorite Amari to the cocktail and dropping out one of the two liqueurs to make a drier cocktail. It really is no wonder why the classic flavor combination of cherry and vanilla (themselves dominant flavors in bourbon) would work so well in a cocktail with cola.

Starlight Bourbon Cocktail
The Turf’N’Turf Cocktail: A Starlight Bourbon Cocktail

1.5 oz Lost Lantern Starlight Bourbon Single Cask 

.5 oz Dry Vermouth 

.5 oz Cherry Heering 

.25 oz Licor 43

4 dashes cola bitters

Combine ingredients in a mixing glass with ice, stir and strain into your favorite small, stemmed cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange peel. 


Learn more about Lost Lantern Starlight Bourbon Indiana Straight Bourbon 




Additional cocktails from our Midwest Collection: