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History of the El Diablo Cocktail in Trader Vic's Books

I was trying to find the first reference to the El Diablo cocktail recently.

Mexican El Diablo

1/2 lime
1 ounce tequila
1/2 crème de cassis
Ginger Ale

Squeeze lime juice into a 10-ounce glass; drop in spent shell. Add ice cubes, tequila, and crème de cassis. Fill glass with ginger ale.

Searching the web, the earliest reference I read to it was from Trader Vic's books of 1946 and 1947.

I asked tiki expert Martin Cate, who has these books, if he knew if the drink was a Trader Vic original. After his research it's still not entirely clear, but the research is interesting in itself.

Martin says:

IT IS in the 1946 TV Book of Food and Drink- It is called a "Mexican El Diablo" and it IS singled out as an original cocktail.
IT IS in the 1947 TV Bartender's Guide again as a "Mexican El Diablo", but does not declare it an original- although that book does not specify.
It's not in the TV Kitchen Kibitzer 1952
IT IS in the TV Pacific Island Cookbook of 1968, but now called "El Diablo" only
IT IS in the TV Bartender Guide Revised 1972 as an "El Diablo", but does not say it's his.  This edition DOES call out original drinks.

Thanks Martin!

If anyone finds an earlier reference to the El Diablo or Mexican El Diablo, please let me know.


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Blair Frodelius


I haven't found anything earlier, but I did come across the recipe in the 1986 edition of Harry's ABC of Mixing Cocktails. I'm assuming that Andrew MacElhone added it to the book.

El Diablo
In a tall tumbler:
2 oz tequila
juice of 1/2 a lime
1/2 oz creme de cassis
Fill up with ginger ale, stir, decorate with slice of lime.


Good Spirits News

Ryan Kelley - Tequila Examiner

In the 1972 revised Trader Vic's the drink appears as "El Diablo" AND as "Mexican El Diablo." The ingredient list is identical, but the directions differ slightly (when the ice is added...and El Diablo is served with a straw). Neither is called out as an original Trader Vic's recipe.

Dinah Sanders

It does not appear in the two mid-1960s Argentinian bar guides of which I have digital copies.

Searching Google Books with results from all languages I don't find anything for it (the Trader Vic books are 'no preview' of course) until a 1980 magazine for Mexican Americans.

(I have had some luck with tidbits from Mexican bar guides, e.g. ads for them, coming up in Google Books so I tend to interpret this non-result as slightly supportive of it being a U.S. drink, but would love to have our south of the border cocktail friends weigh in.)

Camper English



Just heard about it in a 1935 movie, Girl Who Came Back. The guy called it Cafe Diab.

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