Dorchester and the Manhattan

Continuing the writeup of the day I spent in London celebrating the life and legacy of Harry Craddock.

Previous Posts:

Gunnersbury Tube Station

Robert Burns, The Savoy Hotel, and the White Lady

Simpson’s-in-the-Strand and the Sidecar

Cafe Royal and The Bronx Cocktail

We arrived at the Dorchester Hotel, where we were escorted, of course, to The Bar.

“The delights of cocktail hour have returned to London with The Bar at The Dorchester. Established as one of the places in the capital to see and be seen, The Bar at The Dorchester is renowned as much for its rich, opulent interior as for its menu of new and classic cocktails, devised by world-renowned expert alchemist Giuliano Morandin and his team, whose awards are too many to list.

“A rich palette of black, browns and aubergine combine with luxurious lacquered mahogany, mirrored glass, velvet and dramatic red glass-spears, to create the perfect night-time atmosphere. The long, sexy, curved bar offers one of the finest selections of spirits, champagnes and wines in London with a menu to match.”

Gotta love press releases and advertising copy.

Dorchester Bar

Glassware was already chilling, waiting to be filled with Manhattans.

I just like the sequence of expressions on Anistatia, the barman, and Peter Dorelli’s faces in these next three photos.

Peter and Anistatia One

Peter and Anistatia Two

Peter and Anistatia Three

Ahem, moving along…

Pouring Manhattans at Dorchester

(Photo by Jared Brown)

The interesting thing about Harry’s tenure at the Dorchester, is that for a long time neither the hotel nor Jared and Anistatia could find any actual evidence, in print or otherwise, of Harry’s time there.

From Wikipedia:

“The Dorchester Hotel was created by Malcolm McAlpine, a partner in the building company Sir Robert McAlpine & Sons and the managing director of Gordon Hotels Ltd, Sir Frances Towle, who shared a vision of creating the ‘perfect hotel’: ultramodern and ultra-efficient, with all the conveniences modern technology could supply. So, in 1929 their two companies jointly bought the Dorchester House, a large 19th-century building, and quickly had it demolished. Sir Owen Williams & William Curtis Green were commissioned to design the new hotel, using reinforced concrete to allow the creation of large internal spaces without support pillars.. The construction was carried out by Sir Robert McAlpine, with the upper eight floors erected in just 10 weeks, supported on a massive three feet thick reinforced concrete deck that forms the roof of the first floor.

“During the Second World War, the strength of its construction gave the hotel the reputation of being one of London’s safest buildings. Cabinet Ministers, such as Lord Halifax and Duff Cooper, stayed there during this time, as did Winston Churchill, who had a wall built to add privacy to his balcony, which still exists. General Dwight D. Eisenhower took a suite on the first floor (now the Eisenhower Suite) in 1942 after previously having stayed at Claridge’s. Diners at the Dorchester from cultural circles during this period included Cyril Connolly, T. S. Eliot, Harold Nicolson, and Edith Sitwell.”

If Harry was at the Dorchester, he was serving quite the clientele!

Dorchester Letter Explained

(Photo by Jared Brown)

However, a letter recently came to light. Giuliano Morandin, manager of the Dorchester bar, explained he had a guest come in who said he had a letter from Harry Craddock which had been addressed to his father. Apparently, the guest’s father was something of a regular, and Harry felt it necessary to send him a letter, reassuring the father that he was not retiring, and he would be able to find him behind the bar at the Dorchester, “every day”. Ah, regulars.

Harry retired from the Dorchester in April of 1947, at age 74. He would help open one more bar, the bar at Brown’s Hotel, in 1951, before completely retiring from bartending.

Magic Shaker and Manhattan

(Photo by Jared Brown)

Salim Khoury and Giuliano Morandin placed the sample of the Manhattan Cocktail into the shaker time capsule.

Dorchester Group Shot

(Photo by Jared Brown)

Our group gathers for one last shot, in front of the Dorchester.

Once more, to the cabs, and back, I believe, to the Savoy Hotel, for the final cocktail.

Into the cars once more!

Cafe Royal and the Bronx

Continuing the writeup of the day I spent in London celebrating the life and legacy of Harry Craddock.

Previous Posts:

Gunnersbury Tube Station

Robert Burns, The Savoy Hotel, and the White Lady

Simpson’s-in-the-Strand and the Sidecar

Cars

Our cars deposited us outside the
Cafe Royal Hotel and we were escorted through the very modern new bar and restaurant, where I believe I spotted Rowan Atkinson, to the recently remodeled, and at that time not yet quite open, The Grill Room at the Cafe Royal.

“The iconic Grill Room (originally established in 1865) has been exquisitely restored to its original Louis XVI detailing and is now the place to enjoy Champagne, cocktails and a light menu.

“Nestled between the elegance of Mayfair and the creativity of Soho, the Grill Room is where great minds came together to change the world. It is in this very room that Oscar Wilde fell in love with Lord Alfred Douglas, Aubrey Beardsley debated with Whistler, David Bowie retired Ziggy Stardust and Mick Jagger, the Beatles and Elizabeth Taylor danced the night away.

“The Grill Room is open from 6pm Monday to Saturday and has a regular programme of entertainment throughout the week.

“Reservations are required after 9.00pm. Please send details of your request to grillroom@hotelcaferoyal.com

“We will do our best to accommodate your request and will respond within 24 hours.

“Please note, admittance will always be at the discretion of the host.
“Dress code: celebrative and sophisticated.”

Well, so far this day had proved itself both “Celebrative” and “Sophisticated”, hopefully they will let a bunch of slightly tipsy bartenders, booze industry insiders, and journalists into this rather posh establishment! I mean, if Mr Bean can get in…

Dorelli Pours Bronx

(Photo by Jared Brown)

It was Peter Dorelli’s turn to make a drink for the cocktail shaker time capsule, in this case, the Bronx Cocktail. Some banter was exchanged regarding Italian Bartenders and their prominence in the English Bar Trade, not to mention how odd it was that they managed to maintain the strength of their Italian accent, even after years, nay decades, of living in England. I’m sure it has nothing to do with tips and charming the ladies.

Anistatia Speaks

(Photo by Jared Brown)

One thing that was most interesting about this trip, was to catch some glimpse of Harry Craddock, the man. There is so little of Craddock’s personality in the Savoy Cocktail Book, just a couple quotes and a picture, that he has always been something of a cipher to me. I’ve also not spent much time researching him, much more time on tracking down the origins of the recipes he compiled in the Savoy Cocktail Book.

This, I suppose, is the wrong way to go about it, something Anistatia Miller and Jared Brown have gone a long way to rectify in their book, “The Deans of Drink: The Amazing Lives & Turbulent Times of Harry Johnson & Harry Craddock as Seen in a New Light.” If you can’t tell, I am leaning heavily on the text of their book for some of these articles, but there is much, much more detail in the book itself.

“Being a narration of the Golden Eras of American & British cocktails as told through the careers & persona lives, with sundry historical notes & observations as well as cameos of other who made their mark, most notably Willy Schmidt, Ada Coleman, Paul Henkel Jr, James B Regan, Ruth Burgess, & William J Tarling; with rare photos & drawings; plus relevant walking tours of New York & London. Recipes herein are not only of historic import, the reader will find formulas created by leading bartenders of today who are influenced by these masters.”

Whew!

So, yes, Mr Tarling was the head honcho here at the Cafe Royal and the president of the United Kingdom Bartender’s Guild. Tarling’s book, “The Cafe Royal Cocktail Book” is one of the gems of that gilded age of cocktails. The Cafe Royal was the place where American spirits, even native American spirits like Tequila, came together with European liqueurs and aperitifs in astounding ways that reflected the glamor and decadence of pre-war England.

Sidecar Cocktails

(Photo by Jared Brown)

We enjoy our Bronx Cocktails, snap some more photos, and off we go, back into the cars to head to another unknown destination.

Taxis at Cafe Royal

(Photo by Jared Brown)

Street Glassware

Walking the dog the other morning, I noticed someone had put out a box of glassware on the sidewalk. This is not uncommon, I guess people are cleaning their garages. Spring Cleaning.

I looked a little closer, and noticed it was cocktail glasses, mostly Martini Vs, but there were a few prizes in the box.

Nick and Nora

Wow, a true Nick and Nora size Martini Glass! Also, as a bonus, from Harolds Club in Reno.

On his twenty-fifth birthday, February 23, 1935, Harold Smith Sr. opened a tiny gambling club in Reno, Nevada. He had come to “the biggest little city” because California was cracking down on the carnival games his family ran in the Bay Area, and in 1931 Nevada had legalized gambling. Smith called his place “Harold’s Club”—with an apostrophe—and it was to become one of the most famous gambling place of its day and one of the first modern casinos. (The apostrophe later disappeared from the name.) The new club measured only 25 feet by 150 feet, and featured one roulette wheel. It lost money, and after a few months Harold’s father, Raymond I. “Pappy” Smith, arrived to turn things around as general manager. In the meantime Harold had been joined by his brother, Raymond A., who during the Great Depression could not find work in his banking profession.

Pappy soon developed a reputation for trying anything, including letting players bet on which hole a scampering field mouse would enter. The stunt gained Harolds its first national publicity. It was a prime example of Pappy’s genius for promotion that gave the club a major advantage over its rivals, which were dingy, unappealing places leery of advertising their business. The most famous promotion involved “Harolds Club or Bust” roadside billboards erected worldwide, and other advertising took the same adventurous tack, publicizing the club anytime and anywhere it could.

California Cocktail

I think Patrick Gavin Duffy calls this a California Cocktail Glass, it is seriously thick and heavy. Can’t wait to freeze this glass and pour in a Manhattan!

Tiny Coupe

This tiny coupe is kind of cool, with the yellow stem, though I’m not even sure if it will hold an ounce.

Larger Coupe

This larger classic coupe is better, with its fancy stem.

Gin Fizz Glass

Awesome, a Gin Fizz, aka Irish Coffee, glass! I actually wanted to track one of these down during the “Fizz” section of the Savoy Stomp, but it proved elusive, unless you wanted to spend a lot of money for one branded with Buena Vista. I prefer “Harolds”.

Beer-Fashioned #4

One of the classic combinations in certain regions of France is Picon Biere, that is a Pilsener or Wheat beer with a splash of Amer Picon poured in.

Unfortunately, we don’t get Amer Picon here in these United States.

However, even if Diageo refuses to send us Amer Picon, we do get a lot of other Amaros…

With this series of posts we shall explore the possibilities we do have available.

Beer-Fashioned

2008 Goose Island Bourbon County Stout & Angostura Bitters

To be honest, I’m not over fond of most examples of beers aged in spirits barrels. They are usually too alcoholic and too sweet. If you want a beer and a shot, pour yourself a beer and a shot.

Brewer’s Notes:
Brewed in honor of the 1000th batch at our original Clybourn brewpub. A liquid as dark and dense as a black hole with thick foam the color of a bourbon barrel. The nose is an intense mix of charred oak, chocolate, vanilla, caramel and smoke. One sip has more flavor than your average case of beer.

Recipe Information:
Style: Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout
Alcohol by Volume: 14.5%
International Bitterness Units: 60
Color: Midnight
Hops: Willamette
Malt: 2-Row, Munich, Chocolate, Caramel, Roast Barley, Debittered Black

The Goose Island Bourbon County Stout is a well regarded example of the style, but I still find it cloying and over alcoholic.

What do bartenders do when they find things cloying and alcoholic? Why, we add water (ice) and bitters.

Angostura Bitters is one of the two bitters brands which survived both prohibition and the great cocktail drought of the 50s through the 80s, the other being Fee’s. Angostura is made in Trinidad, my famous writer friend Camper English visited and wrote about them in detail on his website Alcademics in the article, “The History and Production of Angostura Bitters.”

An important, and somewhat arbitrary, distinction in bitters, and a relic of prohibition, is the difference between “potable” and “non-potable” bitters. During prohibition, if your bitters were considered “non-potable”, that is, undrinkable, you could continue to sell them, while “potable” bitters fell under the same bans as regular booze. In modern times, the difference comes down to, if your bitters are “non-potable”, you can sell them in grocery stores, and if they are “potable”, they have to be sold in liquor stores. Gary “Gaz” Regan tells the story that the early iterations of his Regan’s Orange Bitters were just too damn tasty and the TTB sent him back to the drawing board to make them less drinkable. Not that I don’t know people who drink Angostura bitters shots, but then, I do sometimes run with a rough crowd. On the other hand, Angostura bitters are a lot more intense than most Amari, so I will slightly reduce the amount I am using in this version of Amaro and Beer.

METHOD: Place a large ice cube into the mason jar or glass of your choosing. Pour in a quarter ounce of Angostura Bitters. Pour over a Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout. Stir briefly. Garnish optional.

Tasting this, sacrilege though it may be, I don’t think it is a horrible idea to serve the Bourbon County Stout on the rocks. The spice and bitterness from the bitters are kind of interesting, too. I skipped the fruit salad, aka garnish, probably best if you do too.

I still couldn’t finish the whole bottle.

Amaro Bomb #3

One of the classic combinations in certain regions of France is Picon Biere, that is a Pilsener or Wheat beer with a splash of Amer Picon poured in.

Unfortunately, we don’t get Amer Picon here in these United States.

However, even if Diageo refuses to send us Amer Picon, we do get a lot of other Amaros…

With this series of posts we shall explore the possibilities we do have available.

Amaro Beer 3

Hangar 24 Chocolate Porter and Fernet Branca

A while ago the folks from Hangar 24 were nice enough to send me a few of their beers in the mail. Not quite sure what I did to start receiving beer in the mail, but OK. One of the beers they sent was their chocolate porter. Fairly light, on the scale of extreme American Stouts and Porters, it’s pretty nice drinking.

Rich and decadent. This strong porter is perfect for sipping at the end of the day or to accompany full-flavored foods. The intense, roasty flavor comes from two types of chocolate malt and raw cocoa nibs. Whole vanilla beans introduced post fermentation add complexity and enhance the dessert-like qualities of this full bodied beer. Indulge yourself!

Ahem, I knew I wanted to use Fernet in one of these beer and amaro beverages, but how would the extreme menthol notes of that amaro work with a beer?

Mint Chocolate Cookies, that’s how!

METHOD: Pour a beer into the mason jar or glass of your choosing. Pour in a half shot (2cl) of Fernet Branca.

All Fernet menthol up front, the middle flavors are the chocolate and dark malt from the beer, and then lingering bitter notes.

Another keeper, I think.

Amaro Bomb #2

One of the classic combinations in certain regions of France is Picon Biere, that is a Pilsener or Wheat beer with a splash of Amer Picon poured in.

Unfortunately, we don’t get Amer Picon here in these United States.

However, even if Diageo refuses to send us Amer Picon, we do get a lot of other Amaros…

With this series of posts we shall explore the possibilities we do have available.

Amaro Beer 2

Amaro Ciociaro & Gordon Biersch Zwickel Bock

Gordon Biersch isn’t exactly a small craft brewer, more of a semi-large producer of beers. This beer has been staring at me from the shelf at Canyon Market for a while. With its attractive motto, “Never Trust a Skinny Brewer,” and resealable bottle. Who can resist an unfiltered lager?

This special unfiltered Hellerbock (Blonde Bock) was made by tapping directly into an aging tank of Blonde Bock via the Zwickel (German for “sample valve”). This unfiltered version is extraordinarily fresh and smooth creating a drinking experience previously only available at the brewery.

Regarding the whole “Amer Picon” controversy, a while ago, well regarded cocktail and spirits wordsmith David Wondrich tasted through his entire stock of Amaros, looking for the single Amaro which most closely resembled Amer Picon. At the time, he chose Amaro Ciociaro as closest, maybe being just a tad more herbal and needing a touch of extra bitter orange zest. His recommendation, Amaro Ciociaro with a dash of bitters.

METHOD: Pour a beer into the mason jar of your choosing. Pour in a half shot (2cl) of Amaro combined with a dash or two of Orange Bitters (I used Miracle Mile Orange Bitters).

I think I have gotten lucky again with this combination.

While the Zwickel Bock on its own might have been a tad sweet for my taste, the astringency of the Amaro and Orange Bitters cuts it a bit and lingers on in the aftertaste. Tasty.

Beer & Amaro #1

One of the classic combinations in certain regions of France is Picon Biere, that is a Pilsener or Wheat beer with a splash of Amer Picon poured in.

Unfortunately, we don’t get Amer Picon here in these United States.

However, we do get a lot of other Amaros…

With this series of posts we shall explore the possibilities we do have available.

Amaro Beer No 1

First up!

Amaro Nardini and Anchor California Lager

Amaro Nardini is a strongly flavored rich Amaro. Strong flavors of chocolate and a little menthol. Not super bitter, it is super delicious.

DESCRIPTION Digestive after-dinner liqueur with a pleasant and distinctive liquorice finish. Can be served straight, chilled or with ice.
INGREDIENTS Grain alcohol, bitter orange aroma, peppermint and gentian.
APPEARANCE Intense color of dark chocolate.
NOSE Perfect balance of aromatic components, intense scent of liquorice and mint.
PALATE Bitter, with an excellent fruit and herbal balance. A fresh impact of mint, the gentian offers a pleasurable finish of liquorice.

Anchor California Lager is a relatively new beer for Anchor Brewing. Similar in character to their Liberty Ale, it is a little lighter than that beer with a slightly different hop character.

CURRENTLY AVAILABLE IN CALIFORNIA ONLY

Anchor Steam’s® roots go back to the Gold Rush, long before icehouses and modern refrigeration made traditional lagers a viable California option. In 1876, thanks to an ice pond in the mountains and a belief that anything is possible in the Golden State, a little brewery named Boca created California’s first genuine lager. Anchor California Lager® is our re-creation of this historic beer.

Made in San Francisco with two-row California barley, Cluster hops (the premier hop in 19th-century California), and our own lager yeast, this all-malt brew is kräusened and lagered in our cellars. Its golden color, distinctive aroma, creamy head, balanced depth of flavor, and smooth finish make Anchor California Lager® a delicious celebration of California’s unique brewing heritage.

Method: Pour a half a beer into the mason jar of your choosing. Pour in a half shot (2cl) of Amaro.

I was afraid the Amaro would be too strong for the beer, but this is actually quite a pleasant combination, with the sweetness of the Amaro complementing nicely the beer.

Apple Ginger Tea Toddy

“Say there Erik, all these non-alcoholic drinks and beverages are awesome, but have you noticed the weather outside? It is F-ing C.O.L.D.”

(Or, well, as cold as it ever gets in San Francisco, which is to say, not very cold.)

“How about a seasonally appropriate drink?”

OK, then, here’s a spiced cider toddy, enlivened with a little smoky Lapsang Souchong tea.

(Sorry for the sloppy pour, you might want to remove the peels before straining into a glass.)

Apple Ginger Tea Toddy
(for two)

1 Cup Apple Juice.
1 Cup Ginger People GingerGizer (An extra spicy Ginger, Lemon, and Honey Beverage.)
1 Whole Star Anise.
1 Cinnamon Stick, plus extra for garnish.
2 Whole Cloves, plus a few extra reserved for garnishes.
3 Whole Green Cardamom Pods, Crushed.
Peel 1/2 Orange (or other citrus, I used tangerine.)
1 Lemon Peel, plus an extra reserved for each garnish.
1 teaspoon Lapsang Souchong Tea (Lapsang Souchong is kind of the Islay Scotch or Mezcal of tea. It is smoke dried over burning pinewood fires, giving it a distinct ‘campfire’ flavor. Like Islay Malt and Mezcal, it tends to provoke a strong positive or negative response among people who try it.)

METHOD:
To create garnish, stud a lemon peel with whole cloves for each serving.
Bring all Apple Juice, GingerGizer, and spices to a simmer on stove or in the microwave. Turn off heat and add Tea. Cover and brew for 4 minutes. Strain into a warmed glasses and garnish with clove studded lemon peels and cinnamon sticks.

You could add booze, but with the heat from the ginger and astringency from the tea, you might be happy with this virgin Toddy without any booze at all.

AppleGingerTeaToddy