Bronx Cocktail | Classic Waldorf Astoria Pre-Prohibition Recipe

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History of the Bronx Cocktail

The Bronx cocktail obviously named after the famous neighborhood in New York. There are three classic versions of this cocktail. The Oldest version is from William Boothby’s 1908 book “The World’s Drinsk and how to mix them”. He credits a man named Billy Malloy of Pittsburg, PA for inventing this cocktail. The second is the Waldorf-Astoria’s recipe (this one) and its like Boothby’s recipe just minus the orange juice. The Third is from Hugo Ensslin of the Hotel Wallick, which is also like the Boothby recipe but minus the orange bitters.

The original Boothby recipe is 1 oz each of gin, dry vermouth, sweet vermouth, 1/2 oz of orange juice and a couple dashes of orange bitters, but if you look online today most recipes are the Hugo Ensslin recipe. The Hugo Ensslin recipe turns the cocktail into a kind of medium martini with orange juice, and the Waldorf-Astoria recipe is just a medium martini with a different name. I do like this recipe a lot though and while all three recipes are good, this one maybe more appealing to people who like stronger drinks and enjoy the taste of alcohol more.

History Of The Original Waldorf and Astoria Hotel

The original Waldorf Hotel was opened in 1893 by William Waldorf Astor of New York. Named after the town of Waldorf, Germany, the Astor Families ancestral home, the Waldorf was the apex of luxury New York hotels at its opening. A few years later in 1897, as a bit of humorous rivalry William’s cousin, John Jacob Astor IV, would open the Astoria Hotel right across the street. John built the Astoria in the same renaissance revival style and even commissioned the same architect, but made sure to make his hotel just a little bit bigger than William’s Waldorf Hotel. Named after the town of Astoria, Oregon, The town founded by John Jacob Astor senior in 1811, the Astoria Hotel was an even more beautiful version of the Waldorf. Fun facts: Astoria, Oregon is the oldest American settlement west of the Rocky Mountains, and the location of the film Kindergartner Cop staring the great Arnold Schwarzenegger. Also John Jacob Astor IV, helped develop early versions of the turbine engine, wrote sci-fi books, and was one of the most famous Americans to perish with the sinking of the Titanic in 1912.

The rivalry was short lived though and the two hotels joined together almost immediately forming the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in 1897. Opened on the Waldorf side of the hotel the Waldorf-Astoria bar was one of the top bars in New York serving to wealthy socialites. From 1897 to 1919 the Waldorf-Astoria bar stood as a testament to the pre-prohibition elite bar scene and helped solidify many of the American classics we know today. With the closing of the bar in 1919 and many of the New York elites moving further north the image of the hotel became dated and its current structure and location needed to change too. In 1929 the company sold its hotel on 5th and 34th to Empire State Inc. and began construction of the more modern Waldorf-Astoria on Park Avenue. The Original hotel was demolished and replaced by the Empire State Building. Hoping to preserve the legacy of the original bar, the companies publicist, Albert Crockett, managed to collect and publish most of the bars classic cocktail recipes in part IV section A of “The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book”. He added popular present day (1934) cocktails in Section B, but maintained that section A of the book had all the original recipes from the old days of the Hotel.


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Bronx Cocktail | Classic Pre-Prohibition Waldorf Astoria Recipe

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Course: DrinksCuisine: American






Total time



Learn how to make a Bronx Cocktail. This is the Waldorf Astoria variation of the classic pre-prohibition cocktail.


  • 2 dashes

  • Orange Bitters
  • 1 oz

  • Dry Vermouth
  • 1 oz

  • Sweet Vermouth
  • 2 oz

  • Dry Gin


  • Add Ice To Mixing Glass and combine all ingredients in the mixing glass.
  • Stir the ingredients for 20 – 30 seconds to properly chill and dilute the drink.
  • Strain into glass.


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