Robert Burns, The Savoy Hotel, and the White Lady

Continuing the writeup of the day I spent in London. First post here: Gunnersbury Tube Station

One of the most fun aspects of the trip was chatting with European and UK Bartenders, on the way back from Harry’s grave I piled into a random cab with a couple Spanish Barmen and a Journalist from the national paper.

They quizzed me about what Gins and Cocktails were the most popular in the US, and I asked them about Bartending and Cocktails in Spain.

We pulled in under an overpass and were informed we would be going to the Savoy Hotel, entering through the River Entrance, but first there was a bit of business.

A litle Chivas for Burns Night

As it happened, our tour was taking place on Jan 25th, which while being the anniversary of Harry Craddock’s burial, is also the anniversary of Robert (Rabbie) Burns birth.

Near the hotel, is a statue of Robert Burns, and we stopped there, for a sip of Chivas and a toast to the great Scottish poet.

I include, by way of toast, a video of Camera Obscura, who have set “I Love My Jean” to music.

We arrive at the Savoy Hotel, make our way to the American Bar, Erik Lorincz speaks briefly, welcoming us to the Savoy,

Erik L Speaks

Anistatia Miller then stands up and gives us the low down about a few more details of Harry Craddock’s life.

I’ll quote Jared and Anistatia’s book, “The Deans of Drink” here regarding prohibition and Craddock.

“…for Harry Craddock, Prohibition meant the end of a career that he had built for himself…Harry found himself jobless, supporting a wife and a sixteen-year-old step-daughter who had come to live with them only four months earlier. It was time to head to the greener pastures of home.

“Craddock applied for an American passport, and on 27 April, 1920, he and his family arrived in Liverpool on board the White Star Line’s SS The Baltic. Describing himself as being in the hotel business, Craddock gave their destination address as Devonshire Roast, where his older brother Ernest resided.”

When they built the Savoy Hotel, they wanted the best of everything; August Escoffier, Cesar Ritz, but it also needed an American Bar to serve American drinks. When it opened Frank Wells was the head barman, but by around 1902, two women, Ruth Burgess and Ada Coleman had taken over the bar. They were both immensely popular with the English patrons, but less so with the Americans, who were unaccustomed to seeing women in bars. Harry Craddock joined the Savoy in its dispensary bar around 1921, and by 1925 had succeeded Ruth Burgess and Ada Coleman as the Head Barman of the American Bar at the Savoy Hotel.

ladyinwhiteservingwhiteladies
(Photo by Jared Brown)

It is here that the other aspect of our tour is explained.

When they remodeled the bar at the Savoy Hotel, Harry Craddock placed a shaker in the wall of the building, with a sample of a drink.

As there are currently five living Head Barman, during the course of the day, they will each will be mixing a classic cocktail from the Savoy Cocktail Book and placing a sample into a beaker. These five drinks will be placed in a cocktail shaker and built into the bar at the Savoy Hotel, as a tribute to Harry, and to the recent renewal of the bar at the Hotel.

The first drink, mixed by Erik Loricz, is one Harry invented, The White Lady.

Erik Loricz and Shaker
(Photo of the dashing Erik Lorincz by Jared Brown)

Savoy Cocktail Ingredient List

Using the tags I’ve created for the site, I’ve made a complete list of all ingredients and garnishes used in the Savoy Cocktail Book. I didn’t initially ‘tag’ all the ingredients in the cocktails, so I’ll add more as I find them. Hopefully, eventually, I’ll work it up into a glossary type thing as its own page: Savoy Cocktail Ingredients

One of those things I’ve been meaning to do, you know, just in case someone else wants to hold their own Savoy Cocktail Book Night.

KInd of makes me want to make up some ingredients for U, Y, and Zed.

Savoy Ingredients

–A–

Absinthe

Abricotine (Apricot Liqueur)

Absinthe Bitters (Wormwood Bitters)

Almonds

Amer Picon

Angostura Bitters

Anis del Oso

Anisette

Apple

Apple Brandy

Apple Jack

Apple Juice

Apricot

Apricot Brandy

Apricot Eau-de-Vie

Apricot Jam

Apricot Pit

–B–

Bacardi Rum

Baked Apple

Batavia Arrack

Beer

Benedictine

Black Pepper

Blackberry Brandy

Blue Vegetable Dye

Bourbon

Brandy

Byrrh

–C–

Calvados

Campari

Canadian Club

Canadian Whiskey

Caperitif

Cassis

Cayenne Pepper

Champagne

Chartreuse

Cherry Brandy

Cherry Heering

Cider

Cinnamon

Claret

Clove

Clove Syrup

Coffee

Cognac

Cointreau

Cream

Crème de Cacao

Crème de Cassis

Crème de Menthe

Crème de Noyau

Crème de Violette

Crème Yvette

Curacao

–D–

Danzig Goldwasser

Dry Gin

Dry Sherry

Dry Vermouth

Dubbonet (Rouge)

–E–

East Indian Punch

Egg

Egg White

Egg Yolk

–F–

Fernet Branca

Fine Ice

Forbidden Fruit Liqueur

French Vermouth

Fresh Cream

Fresh Mint

–G–

Genever

Ginger Ale

Ginger Beer

Ginger Brandy

Gomme Syrup

Gooseberry Syrup

Grand Marnier

Grape Juice

Grapefruit Jelly

Grapefruit Juice

Green Chartreuse

Green Crème de Menthe

Grenadine

Groseille Syrup (Red Currant Syrup)

Guinness Stout

Gum Syrup

–H–

Hard Cider

Hercules

Hollands Gin

Honey

Hooch Whiskey

Hot Water

–I–

Ice

Irish Whiskey

Italian Vermouth

–J–

Jamaica Ginger (Ginger Extract)

Jamaica Rum

–K–

Ketchup

Kina Lillet

Kirsch

Kirschwasser

Kola Tonic

Kummel

–L–

Lemon Juice

Lemon Peel

Lemon Soda

Lemon Syrup

Lillet (Blanc)

Limes

Lime Juice

London Gin

Lump Sugar

–M–

Madeira

Maple Syrup

Maraschino Cherry

Maraschino Liqueur

Milk

–N–

Nutmeg

–O–

Old-Tom Gin

OIives

Orange Juice

Orange

Orange Bitters

Orange Curacao

Orange Flower Water

Orange Marmalade

Orchard Syrup

–P–

Peach Brandy

Peach Eau-de-Vie

Pepper

Peychaud’s Bitters

Pimento Dram

Pineapple

Pineapple Juice

Pineapple Syrup

Plymouth Gin

Port Wine

Powdered Sugar (Superfine)

Pricota (Apricot Liqueur)

Prune Syrup

Prunelle Brandy

Prunes

–Q–

Quinquina

–R–

Raspberries

Raspberry Brandy

Raspberry Syrup

Red Currant Juice

Rose’s Lime Juice (Lime Cordial)

Rye Whiskey

–S–

Santa Cruz Rum

Scotch Whisky

Secrestat Bitters

Sherry

Simple Syrup

Sirop-de-Citron

Sloe Gin

Sparkling Moselle

St. Croix Rum

Strawberries

Sugar

Sugar Cube

Sugar Syrup

Swedish Punch

Sweet Cream

–T–

Tomato Catsup

–V–

Vanilla Extract

Vanilla Ice Cream

Vinegar

Vodka

–W–

White Crème de Menthe

White Grape Juice

White Port Wine

White Wine

Whole Egg

Worcestershire Sauce

–Y–

Yellow Chartreuse

 

Gunnersbury Tube Station

“We hope you have a pleasant trip across the pond and are looking forward to a unique and fun-filled day touring London landmarks in the life of Harry Craddock.”

“Your Journey officially kicks off on Friday, January 25th, when you will meet the team at Gunnersbury Station at 9:00 a.m., at which time you will depart for the first stop of the tour. Please note that the specific destinations of the day will be kept a surprise to all participants so we will only be allowed to unveil the start and finish points at this time.”

“Throughout the tour, we encourage you to engage the various hosts from Pernod Ricard USA and Chivas Brothers, as well as our special guest hosts, for insights into the story of Harry Craddock and the Savoy Cocktail Book, as well as the unparalleled history of Plymouth Gin.”

“‘From Slings to Smashes, Fizzes to Flips,’ we hope you enjoy your gin-inspired tour in memory of Harry Craddock.”

“Cheers!”

…and that was all I knew as I arrived at Gunnersbury Tube Station, January 25, 2013.

Myself and a couple bartenders, along with Camper English, arrived at about the same time and we were shepherded down the street and into a vintage London Black Cab, in this case Geoffrey Canilao and Stuart McCluskey.

Getting into the Cars

They even included Plymouth Gin fleece blankets, a good thing on this chilly winter day.

Plymouth Blankets

We grabbed some coffee and pastries, and as we waited for everyone to show up, it became apparent this would be a rather large group.

Gathering the Troops

Ah, Pook is HERE. I’ve always wondered…

Ah, Pook is Here

But, that isn’t the grave we are looking for…

Dorelli and Miller

Maximilian Warner gets the game going, with a welcome from Plymouth Gin and a summary of the day. Also on the podium are Nigel Barden and Anistatia Miller.

After Max’s introduction, Anistatia gets to the good stuff. In the first place, this IS Harry Craddock’s grave. Everyone had thought, up until very recently, that Harry had been cremated. However, calls to various cemeteries turned up this grave and date of death which matched Harry’s.

21 January 1963 and 24 January 2013; those are awfully close… Yes, this is the 50th anniversary of Harry’s Burial here at the Gunnersbury Cemetery.

It is, however, a shared grave. In his later years, Harry was not well, and did not seek the public light. Embarrassed a bit to end up on national assistance, this is his final resting place.

Harry's Grave

Our second revelation came regarding Harry’s national origin. He claimed to have been the last “American” Bartender to make a drink before prohibition took effect, but it turned out he was as American as John Lennon or Craig Ferguson.

He was born in Burleigh, Minchinghampton in England’s Cotswold’s on August 29th, 1875. The son of a Tailor and a Knitter, his first career was as a clerk. As with many people of that time, the US had its draw, and he took the trip the USA in spring of 1897. He bounced around the country a bit until he ended up in the Hotel trade in Cleveland, Ohio. First a waiter, he soon moved to bartender. With the portability of that trade, he relocated to Chicago, Illinois and landed a job at the Palmer House.

Erik L Pours Cocktail

Above, Erik Lorincz, the current head bartender at the Savoy Hotel, pours a drink for Harry.

Savoy Bartender Toast

Four of the living head Savoy Hotel Barmen, Victor Gower, Peter Dorelli, Salim Khoury, Erik Lorincz, and Anistatia Miller, raise a Lillet Cocktail, one of his favorites, to Harry’s memory.

At HarrysGrave

I’ve stolen this image from Max/Plymouth, as our whole group raises a glasses of Lillet Cocktails, to Harry.

Back in the cars

And with that, we pile back into the cabs and head to our next mystery destination!

A Little Hanky Panky

Well, clearly the first order of business on this trip should be to hie myself to the Savoy Hotel and enjoy a Hanky Panky!

Savoy Hotel Facade, night

Nice chat with personable Savoy Barman, Christian, originally from Northern Italy.

Christian Garnishes

He garnishes the Hanky Panky with a wide swath of Orange!

Enjoying Hankyp

Wonderful, to experience and dedication he takes to the craft, a wonderful Japanese style shake, hand cracked perfectly clear ice for stirred cocktails.

Tequila Drink

For the second drink, he chose to make us a drink he had made for an event matching Tequila with Japanese Food. Beautifully refreshing and light, it contained Matcha Green Tea, Citrus, and Tequila.

Pints at The Harp

Of course, the second priority must be pints of Real Ale! The Harp has a great selection of well kept cask ale, recommended if you are in the neighborhood.

Dukes Martin[i,ez]

“You gotta have the Dukes Martini! It’s a thing. They have a cart.”

Martini Cart

When famed journalist and international traveler Camper English tells you, you have to try a thing, you probably should, at least once!

Well, if it is drink related, anyway.

So, yes, the Dukes Hotel Bar has a Martini Cart. This system, I believe originated when Salvatore Calabrese was the head barman at the Dukes Bar.

When you order a Martini, (or Martinez,) the bartender, in this case the wonderful Alessandro Palazzi, rolls the cart out to your table with what he will need to make your cocktail, including frozen glassware, Vermouth, and very, very chilled Gin.

Alesandro Mixes

His first step is to dash into your glass a little custom vermouth, “made with English wine”. If you desire your Martini or Martinez “Wet” he will leave the dashes of vermouth in the glass. Otherwise, it is just a rinse. Next he raises a frosted bottle of Gin and pours a health measure into the glass. Finally, he finishes the Martini by cutting a wide swath of peel from a lemon and squeezing it over the glass.

Dukes Martinez

Just don’t have more than one, if you have plans for the rest of your evening!

London’s Calling

As you may recall, there was some chance I might go to London for a celebration of the life and legacy of legendary barman Harry Craddock.

With the help of many friends, especially including Trevor Easter, H. Joseph Ehrman, Brian MacGregor, Steven Liles, Jared Brown, Anistatia Miller, Pernod Ricard, and the San Francisco chapter of the United States Bartender’s Guild, I will be able to attend that function.

I promise to represent our community with as much style, grace, and honor as possible.

I will also take as many notes as I can muster and lots of pictures.

Thanks again to all of you, it is truly humbling to find so many good people wishing you well and supporting your dreams.

Downton Abbey & Savoy Hotel

The other day I received an invitation to an event in London celebrating the life and legacy of Harry Craddock and the launch of Jared Brown and Anistatia Miller‘s new book, “The Deans of Drink“.

As a blogger, my usual response it, “Gee, thanks for the invite, but I live in San Francisco and am not independently wealthy.”

Thinking about it a bit more, it seemed like it was something I should at least try to get to, so I contacted a friend, Trevor Easter, who worked for the liquor company sponsoring the event, and he said he would talk to his superiors.

Unfortunately, the company had made the decision that they weren’t sending anyone from the West Coast to the event.

I was bummed.

But, Trevor Easter, being the swell guy that he is, said, well, I can’t give you money, but I have lots of Gin. Maybe we can do an event, and you can make some tips toward the ticket.

Couple hours later, I get a text, a phone call, and an email. “Quick, get back to me, I think we can do something. H is doing a thing for the Downton Abbey premiere at Elixir and an English Gin event would be perfect. You can make some Savoy Cocktails with Plymouth Gin and some money towards your ticket.”

Righto! Tally Ho! Carry Forth Jeeves!

So I’ll be making some Plymouth Gin Cocktails at Elixir on Sunday after 8 PM and hopefully making a little money towards the ticket to London.

Stop by and enjoy a Gin Cocktail or two and help me get there!

Savoy Sunday, Dec 2012

Hercules

I love the smell of Hercules* in the morning!

Stop by Alembic bar tonight, Dec 30, 2012 for the last savoy night of the year.

I promise, my drinks are better than my sketches…

*Hercules #5d

1 Stick Cassia Cinnamon, crushed
2 tsp. Coriander Seed, crushed
3 Cardamom Pods, crushed
8 Whole Cloves, crushed
1 tsp. Quinine Powder
1 tsp. Gentian Root
1 tsp. Peppermint Leaf
1/4 Cup Yerba Mate
Zest 2 Tangerine
1/2 cup Raw Sugar
750ml Quady Elektra
1/4 cup Apple-Ation California Apple Brandy

METHOD: Combine spices, peel, yerba mate and wine. Heat to 160 degrees. Filter through chinois and add Brandy. Let stand for at least a day and then enjoy chilled or where “Hercules” is called for.