Video: Leonard Cohen, Poet-Singer-Songwriter-Mixologist, Recreates His Red Needle Drink On TV

Leonard Cohen Creates The Red Needle

This is the end of my life in art. I am drinking a Red Needle, a drink I invented in Needles, California, tequila and cranberry, lemon and ice. The full measure. I have not been denied the full measure. It happened as I approached my forty-first birthday…. This is drunken talk. This is Red Needles talking. It is too smooth. I am frightened. I don’t know why. Yesterday I was so frightened that I could hardly hand a Red Needle to a monk on Mt Baldy….1

I prepared a lot of Red Needles. That’s a cocktail I invented in Needles, California, in 1976. It consists of tequila and cranberry juice and Sprite and fresh cut fruit. I prepared pitchers of this cocktail for the musicians and we couldn’t stop playing; most of the takes are twenty-five minutes long, and we kept this one because it’s eight minutes long. I did fall down in it, that’s where the guitar solo occurs. It was a very exuberant, passionate evening, and several musicians told me it was the happiest time they ever spent in a recording studio.2

The Official Red Needle Recipe

Tequila, Cranberry Juice, Ice, Lemon and/or Exotic Fruits


The Video

Update: This specific video segment is no longer available on YouTube, but the entire talk show from which this clip was excerpted can be accessed at Talkshowet – Leonard Cohen.

Update: The entire talk show is now available, at least for the time being, on YouTube. The embedded player below starts automatically at the Red Needles section, but the entire show is well worth watching.

Credit Due Department: I found the link to video of the complete talk show at the Bonanza site in a Leonard Cohen Facebook Group post by Gordana Stupar.

Note: Originally posted May 2, 2011 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric


  1. From Leonard Cohen, ‘My Life in Art,’ from Death of a Lady’s Man []
  2. From Barbara Gowdy Interview With Leonard Cohen A transcript of the full interview was published in 1994 in the book “One on One: The Imprint Interviews” edited by Leanna Crouch and published by Somerville House Publishing []

6 Replies to “Video: Leonard Cohen, Poet-Singer-Songwriter-Mixologist, Recreates His Red Needle Drink On TV”

  1. Coco Éclair

    I shall definitely be serving these to friends this coming Friday! 🙂

    Many thanks!

  2. Harika

    What a wonderful video! Beautiful time spent with my favorite singer /artist. He is soo nice, so kind, so naturAl. Thanks for sharing. 🙏👌🏼

  3. Joyce Stenson

    A completely enjoyable interview. Many oft used quotes of Cohen’s surfaced during this hour or so. Some of his amiable deflection and some genuine experiences shared.