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
This isn’t often the case but a top shelf base spirit will make this cocktail better. Spirits that are good for sipping are not really good for mixing. When mixing a drink you add so many other strong flavors, like liqueurs, juice, sweeteners, bitters, etc, that a subtle and refined spirit just gets overpowered and lost. don’t get me wrong, you don’t want to use crap spirit, but a less mellow and subtle spirit that does not lend itself to being an easy sipper will make for a better cocktail more balanced cocktail. Except in the case of cocktails like this one.
Since this cocktail is almost all brandy with just a few dashes of absinthe and orange liqueur then the better the Brandy, the better the cocktail. This cocktail is basically sipping straight brandy, so treat it that way. Treat this and pick a brandy for this cocktail the same way you would whiskey for an old fashioned and not rum for a rum and coke.