Chrysanthemum – Classic Recipe & History

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Course: DrinksCuisine: British






Total time



Learn how to make a Chrysanthemum.


  • 3 dashes 3 Absinthe

  • 1 oz 1 Benedictine

  • 2 oz 2 Dry Vermouth


  • Technique: Simple Stir
  • Combine all ingredients in the mixing glass.
  • Add ice to the mixing glass.
  • Stir the ingredients for 10 – 15 seconds. Try to avoid over-diluting the drink.
  • Strain into a glass.
  • Garnish:
  • Lemon peel


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What Does The Chrysanthemum Taste Like?

From The 1934 Savoy Cocktail Book, The Chrysanthemum is a beautiful example of the kind of cocktails invented in Europe during American Prohibition. With 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, try the Chrysanthemum. This is not an exaggeration. The taste of this cocktail blew my mind. It’s that good.

A Short History Of The American Bar at the Savoy Hotel In London.

In 1893, The American Bar at the Savoy hotel started serving American-style cocktails in London to the British upper class. The American Bar has always been a high-end bar but what set it on the map was when Harry Craddock became its 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. Still, 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 ended, the hotel realized it should record all of its most famous recipes and the innovations Harry brought to the bar. A year later, they published the Savoy Cocktail Book. Printed in 1934, the Savoy Cocktail Book documents the bar’s 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 Garnish Is Absolutely Important

The most essential ingredient in the Chrysanthemum is the expressed orange peel garnish. There is only one Benedictine so that easy and good dry vermouth is also necessary, but the subtle flavor the orange oil adds makes this a fantastic drink. The garnish is rarely what makes a drink, but with the Chrysanthemum’s case, it’s essential. If you do not have an orange for the peel, orange bitters work well. I think it tastes better with a dash of orange bitters instead, but an expressed orange peel is traditional.

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