Martini (Medium) | Classic 1935 Waldorf-Astoria Recipe

Medium Martini AKA The Perfect Martini

The last of the 3 main martinis, the medium martini is actually really good and combines the flavors of both the sweet and dry martini. The oldest printed martini recipe I could find is in the the 1888 edition of Harry Johnson’s New and Improved Bartender’s Manual. His original 1882 edition does not provide a recipe for the Martini. The original martini recipe begins to appear between the late 1880s and 1890s and is essentially a pre-prohibition style Manhattan with Old Tom Gin instead of whiskey. Harry Johnson’s recipe is half Old Tom Gin, half sweet vermouth, a dash of orange liqueur, 2 dashes Boker’s (cardamom) bitters, 2 dashes gum syrup. If you look at my original pre-prohibition style Manhattan recipe they are almost the same, save for the Old Tom Gin. But the recipe begins to change over the next decade until it settles on the more generally accepted 2 oz Old Tom, 1 oz sweet vermouth, and a dash of orange bitters with an expressed lemon peel. This is the standard martini up until the 1910s when the dry variation of the martini is invented and starts to get very popular. The original martini then becomes known as a sweet martini and a medium sweet version is also made that combines the two.

Now while most bartender by the 1910s through to prohibition know of the sweet and dry martini (Not all though, even books like Hoffman house from 1912 and Jack’s Manual from 1916 only have the sweet martini), not all seemed to do medium martinis. Hugo Ensslin’s 1917 book Recipes for Mixed Drinks only list the sweet and dry versions. It’s not till the mid 1920s that you start to see the medium martini recipe being printed. Starting in 1925 its books like L’art du Shaker by Dominique Bristol that begin printing medium martinis. The recipe for the medium martini is exactly the same regardless of the book. 1/2 dry gin, 1/4 dry vermouth, 1/4 sweet vermouth and most do not have a garnish for this drink. The exception to this is the Waldorf-Astoria’s recipe which has an expressed lemon peel and Spanish olive like the dry martini.

I chose to go with the Waldorf-Astoria recipe because I like the lemon oil and olive as a garnish. I think it makes the drink better. If you ignore the garnish the recipe for this cocktail is the exact same from the 1920 to the 1970s (I don’t own a cocktail recipe book from the 1980s). Somewhere after the 1970s this started to be called a perfect martini. I can’t find exactly when or by who but the name perfect martini is just as common today as a medium martini. For all 3 of my martini recipes I chose to go with the Savoy naming structure for martinis because it is the most clear and concise.

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Martini (Medium) | Classic 1935 Waldorf-Astoria Recipe

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Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

1

servings
Calories

163

kcal
ABV

29%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make a classic medium/perfect martini

Ingredients

  • 2/3 oz Dry Vermouth

  • 2/3 oz Sweet Vermouth

  • 1.5 oz Dry Gin

Directions

  • Add Ice To Mixing Glass. Combine all ingredients in the mixing glass.
  • Stir the ingredients for 15 – 20 seconds to properly chill and dilute the drink.
  • Strain into glass, express an lemon peel over the top, and garnish with an Spanish olive

Notes

Double Barrel – 1895 George Kappeler’s Modern American Drink

The Mighty Double Barrel Cocktail

While not as alcoholic as a manhattan it has much more flavor. For this cocktail George Kappeler just put it all together. Both sweet and dry vermouth and both orange and angostura bitters. The recipe calls for just whiskey but with all the herbal flavors in this cocktail the spiciness of rye mixes well. Sadly this drink didn’t have much of a life outside of George Kappeler’s books and is absent from most any other book after. If you’re looking for an awesome drink that was forgotten by time give the Double Barrel a shot.

George Kappeler And The New York Holland House Hotel

Like the Waldorf-Astoria, the Holland House Hotel in New York had one of the best bars in the country. Interestingly both hotels were right down the street from each other Holland House on 30th and 5th and the Waldorf-Astoria on 34th and 5th, the present day location of the Empire State Building. Opened December 7th, 1891 the interior of the Holland house was considered its prized jewel. The New York Times in 1891 praised its beautiful carved marble interiors, ornate rooms, mosaic floors and describe the hotel as a marvel of bronze, marble and glass work. Managing the hotels cafe and restaurant Bar was one of the top bartenders in the New York George Kappeler. He’s credited with inventing many famous cocktail, a few still popular today, and was the first to describe a classic whiskey cocktail as being old fashion. He used the term old fashioned to differentiate from his other fancy and standard whiskey cocktails. George published his first cocktail book in 1895 and a updated second edition in 1906.

The good times did not last though and by the mid 1910s most of the wealthy New York clients moved further north to park avenue and the hotel started to fall on hard times. With the passing of the 18th amendment and the Volstead Act going into effect on January 17th, 1920 the hotels few remaining revenue streams dried up and the hotel was sold. The Holland house closed that same year and was converted to an office building. The interior was gutted to make room for office spaces and like the Waldorf-Astoria, a vital piece of american cocktail history was lost. Although unlike the Waldorf-Astoria the building is still standing on 30th and 5th next to Marble Collegiate Church. The grand interior is long gone but it’s still fun to see the façade of the once great Holland House.

The Most Important Part

Vermouth is obviously always important and worth sending a little more for to get a quality product but the whiskey you use will have the biggest impact on this cocktail. George Kappeler only wrote to use whiskey but I personally feel a nice spicy rye whiskey with a bit of burn works really well here. Bourbon is good but it ends up being too sweet getting lost in the mix. The strong herbal wine flavors of the vermouth, the earthy angostura bitters, and citrusy orange bitters are better balanced by a spicy rye. Also since its only 1 ounce of whiskey it needs to be a bit stronger and have some burn to offset the 2 ounces of vermouth.

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Double Barrel – 1906 George Kappeler’s Modern American Drink

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Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

1

servings
Calories

152

kcal
ABV

25%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make a Double Barrel

Ingredients

  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters

  • 2 dashes Orange Bitters

  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth

  • 1 oz Dry Vermouth

  • 1 oz Rye Whiskey

Directions

  • Add Ice To Mixing Glass and combine all ingredients in the mixing glass.
  • Stir the ingredients for 10 – 15 seconds to properly chill and dilute the drink.
  • Strain into a glass.
  • Garnish with 2 maraschino cherries.

Notes

Vieux Carre | Original 1937 Walter Bergeron – New Orleans Recipe

Any cocktail with Peychaud’s Bitters is almost always from New Orleans. The name Le Vieux Carre translates to “The Old Square”, referring to the New Orleans French Quarter. The drink was invented in 1937 by Walter Bergeron who was the head bartender at the Monte Leone Hotel In New Orleans.

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Vieux Carre | Original 1937 Walter Bergeron – New Orleans Recipe

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Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

1

servings
Calories

144

kcal
ABV

32%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make the a classic Vieux Carre.

Ingredients

  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters

  • 2 dashes Peychauds Bitters

  • 1 tsp Benedictine

  • 2/3 oz Sweet Vermouth

  • 2/3 oz Brandy

  • 2/3 oz Rye Whiskey

Directions

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

Notes

Tequila Manhattan – A Fantastic Variation of the Manhattan

A modern variation of the classic Manhattan this one substitutes bourbon for anejo tequila. This is a really tasty cocktail and if you’re a tequila fan this is defiantly worth a try. Be sure to use anejo(old) tequila. Reposado is ok but not great and silver or gold tequila is not good at all in this cocktail. It can only be anejo.

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Tequila Manhattan – A Fantastic Variation of the manhattan

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Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

1

servings
Calories

193

kcal
ABV

32%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make the a Tequila Manhattan.

Ingredients

  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters

  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth

  • 2 oz Anejo Tequila

Directions

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

Notes

Star Cocktail | Classic 1895 George Kappeler Recipe

First appearing in 1895, this drink originally used gum syrup to sweeten it but simple syrup works as well. This is a delicious drink but don’t take my word for it, make it yourself.

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Star Cocktail | A Classic Pre-Prohibition Brandy Cocktail

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Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

1

servings
Calories

182

kcal
ABV

26%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make a classic Star Cocktail

Ingredients

  • 2 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters

  • 1 tsp Gum Syrup

  • 1.5 oz Sweet Vermouth

  • 1.5 oz Brandy

Directions

  • 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.

Notes

Ideal Cocktail – Classic 1934 Savoy Cocktail Book Recipe

Variations Of The Ideal Cocktail

First printed in the 1917 Hugo Ensslin book Recipes For Mixed Drinks, there are 3 main variations of the ideal cocktail. 1). The original 1917 Hugo Ensslin Recipe. 2). The 1933 Sloppy Joes recipe. 3). The 1934 Savoy Cocktail Book recipe. This is the Savoy recipe but the Sloppy Joes recipe from Cuba is very good too. the ideal strikes a perfect mix of gin, dry vermouth, and grapefruit juice and both the savoy and Sloppy Joes recipes are very similar. The odd one out is the Hugo Ensslin one as it omits grapefruit juice and instead uses a slice of actual grapefruit in the cocktail.

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.

how does it taste

I really don’t know how to describe this one. Its really good just hard to compare it to others. Its kinda like a daiquiri that’s not sweet and more tart and herbal than citrus. See even that a poor description, but those are the primary flavors. Even though it’s mostly gin, the sweet vermouth and grapefruit are what really shine.

The Most Important Ingredient

The most important ingredient in this cocktail is both the sweet vermouth and the grapefruit juice. A good vermouth goes a long way in this cocktail and adds nice flavor, more than a nicer gin will. Also only use pink or ruby red grapefruit juice in this cocktail (any cocktail really). White grapefruit is just way too tart, but the pink and red ones are a nice balance of tartness and sweetness. Also the pink and red grapefruits have a better flavor. Between the pink and red kind you can use either one. Both have a similar flavor but the red is a little bit sweeter than the pink ones. So if you want to make the drink a little bit sweeter use ruby red grapefruit juice and if you want the drink to be a little more tart use pink grapefruit juice.

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Ideal Cocktail – Classic 1934 Savoy cocktail Book Recipe

0 from 0 votes Only logged in users can rate recipes
Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

1

servings
Calories

214

kcal
ABV

27%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make the a classic Ideal Cocktail.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 oz Grapefruit Juice

  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth

  • 2 dashes Maraschino Liqueur

  • 2 oz Dry Gin

Directions

  • Combine all ingredients in the shaker. Add ice to the shaker.
  • Vigorously shake till the shaker is ice cold and frosted.
  • Strain into glass to remove ice shards.

Notes

Satan’s Whiskers Cocktail – Original 1934 Harry Craddock Recipe

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.

What Does The Satan’s Whiskers Taste Like

This is a very herbal and orange flavored cocktail. It’s good but it reminds me of a strong and herbal screwdriver or calvados cocktails. So if that sounds good to you then the satan’s whiskers is right up your alley.

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Satan’s Whiskers Cocktail – Original 1934 Harry Craddock Recipe

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Course: DrinksCuisine: British
Servings

1

servings
Calories

229

kcal
ABV

20%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make the a classic Satan’s Whiskers.

Ingredients

  • 1 dash Orange Bitters

  • 1 oz Orange Juice

  • 1 oz Dry Vermouth

  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth

  • 1/2 oz Orange Liqueur

  • 1 oz Dry Gin

Directions

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

Notes

Rob Roy Cocktail – Classic Early 1900s Old Waldorf Astoria Recipe

This is literally just a Manhattan made with Scotch instead of bourbon. I wont lie, I just added this here to pad my Scotch section up a bit. There just aren’t that many cocktails made with Scotch, but having said that, this is a damn fine version of the Manhattan.

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Rob Roy Cocktail – Original Old Waldorf Astoria Recipe

0 from 0 votes Only logged in users can rate recipes
Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

1

servings
Calories

193

kcal
ABV

32%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make the classic Rob Roy cocktail for the 1935 Old Waldorf Astoria cocktail book which documented the drinks they served from 1880 to 1920. As a Manhattan made with scotch this is sure to delight.

Ingredients

  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters

  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth

  • 2 oz Scotch

Directions

  • 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.

Notes

Manhattan Cocktail | Original Pre-Prohibition; Late 1800s Recipe

The History of The Manhattan

The Manhattan 100% of people think of when they order a Manhattan today is the post-prohibition style Manhattan. Bourbon, sweet vermouth, and angostura bitters. A wonderful pairing of flavor but had you ordered a Manhattan in the 1880s to 1919 you would have been served this cocktail instead. This Manhattan recipe is pulled from the 1887 Jerry Thomas Bartenders Guide. Not say Jerry Thomas invented it but this is the oldest printing I could find. The Manhattan remained mostly unchanged till 1919 as documented in the Old Waldorf Astoria Bar Book, which documented all their recipes from 1897 to 1919.

The two changes that changed the Manhattan from its pre-prohibition to post-prohibition form are changing from Boker’s bitters to Angostura bitters and no longer adding 2 dashes of orange liqueur. The change from Boker’s bitters is because the Boker’s company, which was already struggling financially by the 1910s, completely closed the doors around prohibition and those who knew the secret recipe took it to their graves. I believe in the mid 2000s an old unopened bottle of Boker’s was found in a recently deceased mans attic. The mixture was reverse engineered and it was discover to be a primarily cardamom, cinnamon, orange peel bitter. You are now able to find cardamom bitters made in the Boker’s style, but for almost 90 years the closest anyone could get was using Angostura Bitters. The second change was removing the 2 dashes of orange liqueur. This change had more to do with the transition from pre-prohibition mixing ideologies to prohibition era and post-prohibition mixing ideologies. The hallmark of pre-prohibition mixing ideology was to take a nice base spirit and adding complexity and flavor with small amounts of bitters and liqueurs, with the base spirit still the most forward element. Prohibition era and post-prohibition mixing ideology shifted to making flavorful cocktails where the base spirit blended in with the sodas or liqueurs. Not to say these styles were exclusive to any time period but there was a definite shift in what was popular and sold.

I am unable to find any specific genesis of the Manhattan or who maybe created it. Often with very old cocktails the creators were never credited and many people claim they invented the drink. I can’t find any reference to it prior to the 1880s and it was most likely invented in New York. In New York during the late 1800s and early 1900s it was trendy to name drinks after cities or popular locations in New York. This is what gives us cocktails like the Bronx, the Oyster Bay, Brooklyn, etc. So there is no real reason it’s called a Manhattan other than it being a popular New York cocktail naming convention of it’s time.

How Does This one Taste

Bourbon and Sweet Vermouth are a match made in heaven. The two ingredients flavors profiles pair perfectly. The sweet vermouth adds just enough sweetness to soften the bourbon and the bourbon adds just enough sharp toasted oak volume and flavor to bring down the vermouths strong herbal notes. The addition of just a few dashes of orange liqueur and cardamon bitters adds a nice gentle citrus and spice complexity to the cocktail that Angostura bitters does not provided. On their own these are all wonderful ingredients and combined they make a wonderfully sweet and spicy cocktail. Personally I like the modern Angostura bitters Manhattan a bit better but this one is very good. If I were to equate the two to sipping spirits I would say the original pre-prohibition one is like sipping rye whiskey and the current one everyone knows is like sipping bourbon.

Manhattan vs Old Fashioned

Whether its the pre-prohibition or post-prohibition style, the Manhattan and old fashion are for the most part very similar cocktails. The main difference between the two is since the old fashion uses simple syrup/gum syrup to cut the strength of the bourbon, the taste is still a very clean, bourbon forward cocktail. The Manhattan on the other hand comes across with a more mild bourbon taste that is balance against a lightly sweet herbal flavor. So the Manhattan is a slightly sweetened bourbon and herbal flavored cocktail and the old fashion is a slightly sweeter but clean bourbon tasting cocktail.

The Most Important Ingredient

The most important ingredients in the pre-prohibition style Manhattan is both the sweet vermouth and the cardamom bitters. Boker’s Bitters was one of the quintessential taste of the 1800s cocktail and you can finally get that flavor again with cardamom bitters. It’s like tasting history. A little bit more than the bitters though is the sweet vermouth. Vermouth is the defining flavor of this cocktail and for not much more you can buy some amazing sweet vermouths. There isn’t a “bad” sweet vermouth, the cheap stuff is still pretty good, but for 5 bucks more you can buy some top shelf amazing vermouths that will elevate this cocktail to new heights.

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Pre-Prohibition Manhattan Cocktail | Original 1880 – 1920 Recipe

4 from 1 vote Only logged in users can rate recipes
Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

1

servings
Calories

198

kcal
ABV

32%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make a pre-prohibition style Manhattan cocktail

Ingredients

  • 3 dashes Cardamom Bitters

  • 2 dashes Orange Liqueur

  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth

  • 2 oz Bourbon

Directions

  • Add Ice To Mixing Glass and combine all ingredients in the mixing glass.
  • Stir the ingredients for 10 – 15 seconds to properly chill and dilute the drink.
  • Strain into a glass.
  • Garnish with an expressed lemon peel

Recipe Video

Notes

Negroni – Classic 1917 Cocktail From Florence, Italy

When I was a kid I would ask my dad stuff like who invented pizza, and my dad would say Mr. Pizza. or who invented cups and my dad would say Mr. Cup, who invented shoes, Mr. Shoe, etc. So the Negroni came about as a boozier version of he Americano. The story goes that Mr. Negroni walked in to a bar in Florence, Italy and asked the bartender to serve his favorite drink, the Americano, but with gin instead of soda water. And lo’ and behold, the Negroni was born. So Yes in this case, the Negroni, was invented by Mr. Negroni.

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Negroni Cocktail – Classic 1917 Recipe from Florence, Italy

0 from 0 votes Only logged in users can rate recipes
Course: DrinksCuisine: Italian
Servings

1

servings
Calories

186

kcal
ABV

27%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make a classic and simple Negroni

Ingredients

  • 1 oz Campari

  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth

  • 1 oz Dry Gin

Directions

  • 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 and garnish with an orange slice

Notes