How Does The Chrysanthemum Taste
From The 1934 Savoy Cocktail Book, The Chrysanthemum is wonderful example of the kind of cocktails being invented in Europe during American Prohibition. Heavier use of European liqueurs and favoring more complex herbal flavors over the more American spirit forward cocktails, the Chrysanthemum is a beautiful, herbal, bright, and both lightly sweet and dry cocktail. If you are looking for something new that will become one of your favorites, then try the Chrysanthemum. This is not an exaggeration. The taste of this cocktail absolutely blew my mind. It’s really that good.
The American Bar at the Savoy Hotel In London
Opened in 1893 The American Bar at the Savoy hotel started serving American style cocktails in London to the British upperclass. The American Bar has always been a high end bar but what really set it on the map was when Harry Craddock became it’s head bartender in the 1920s. Harry Craddock was a British born bartender who immigrated to the United States, eventually becoming a US citizen and head bartender of several high end hotel bars, but Harry found himself out of work with the start of prohibition in 1920. He then immigrated back to England and became head bartender of the Savoy Hotel’s Bar. Harry transformed The American Bar from a high end bar to one of the seminal cocktail bars of the 20th century. As the american prohibition was coming to an end the hotel realized it should record all of its most famous recipes and the innovations Harry brought to the bar and a year later they published the Savoy Cocktail Book. Printed in 1934 The Savoy Cocktail Book documents all of the bars best recipes from the 1890s to the 1930s and stands as the pillar of prohibition-era, European cocktail innovation. If Jerry Thomas’s Bartenders Guide is the best cocktail book the 1800s gave us, then The Savoy Cocktail Book is the best cocktail book of the first half of the 1900s. I don’t think I will ever be able to drink there though. A cocktail cost around $250 there and they have one that’s almost $1000, and I’m not the Amazon guy, so good thing we have their recipe book.
The Most Important Ingredient
The most important ingredient in the Chrysanthemum is actually the expressed orange peel garnish. There is only one Benedictine so that easy, and a good dry vermouth is important too, but the subtle flavor the orange oil adds is what makes this an amazing drink. Very rarely is the garnish what makes a drink but with the Chrysanthemum’s case its essential. If you do not have an orange for the peel then orange bitters work well too. I actually think it taste better with a dash of orange bitters instead but an expressed orange peel is traditional.