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.
Use A Nice Brandy For This Cocktail.
This isn’t often the case, but a top-shelf base spirit will improve this cocktail. Spirits that are good for sipping are not suitable for mixing. You add so many other intense flavors when mixing a drink, like liqueurs, juice, sweeteners, bitters, etc. A subtle and refined spirit 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, 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, the better the Brandy, the better the cocktail; this cocktail is like 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 a rum for a rum and coke.
Download The Official Vintage American Cocktails App
Discover what classic cocktails you can make right now with the ingredients you have. Check out the Vintage American Cocktail app.
Make Cocktails Like A Pro
If you have ever struggled with a recipe or wonder why yours are not turning out like they do at the bar then check out my simple step-by-step videos. I will walk you through how to expertly build each drink so you get consistently great results.
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- Tips and tricks from years of experience.
- Historically accurate and balanced recipes.