On Tuesday, March 22, the Museum of the American Cocktail presented Great Drinks of the Great Hotel Bars Part II, held at the beautiful and historic Tabard Inn in Washington, D.C. Chantal Tseng, Derek Brown and Philip Greene were the presenters for this nearly-two hour evening of history, folklore and cocktails. In Part I of this series, we covered the Ritz in Paris (Sidecar), the St. Regis in New York (Red Snapper/Bloody Mary), the Monteleone in New Orleans (Vieux Carre), the Raffles in Singapore, the Waldorf-Astoria in New York (Rob Roy), and the Tabard itself (Tabard Cocktail).
On this evening, we covered the Savoy in London (Hanky Panky), the Biltmore in Phoenix (Tequila Sunrise), the Roosevelt in New Orleans (Ramos Gin Fizz), the Algonquin in New York (Algonquin), the Seelbach in Louisville (Seelbach), and the Moana in Honolulu (Royal Hawaiian).
Derek led off the discussion with a general overview of the historical role played by hotels, inns, and other hostelries with respect to eating and drinking. He talked about how punch was a popular offering in the 17th and 16th centuries, and possibly the forerunner of the cocktail itself. He brought the discussion into the 20th century, and to the Hotel Savoy in London, where Ada Coleman tended bar, and was later succeeded by the great Harry Craddock. Ada invented the Hanky Panky about 100 years ago, which goes something like this:
1½ oz Plymouth Gin
1½ oz Noilly Prat Sweet Vermouth
2 dashes Fernet Branca
twist of orange peel
Stir all ingredients well in an ice-filled shaker and strain into a cocktail glass. Expel a bit of orange oil from the peel over the top of the drink, garnish with the twist and serve.
Next, Derek took us on a journey to the Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix, home of the Tequila Sunrise. No, it wasn’t invented by Don Henley and Glenn Frey, but that Eagles’ song did make it a bit of a pop-culture fave in the 1970s:
1 ¼ oz tequila
¾ oz cream de cassis
1/4 oz lime juice
Build in a Tom Collins glass with plenty of large ice cubes.
Phil Greene then presented a brief history of the Hotel Grunewald (featuring what perhaps was the world’s first nightclub, The Cave), which became the Hotel Roosevelt, which became the Fairmont, and is now again the Roosevelt. He also talked about the history of the Ramos Gin Fizz, and told of Senator Huey Long’s antics with the drink, showing newsreel footage of Huey instructing the bartender at the New Yorker Hotel how to make one. Then, everyone in the audience was given a shaker, and shook the drink for the duration of the Elvis Presley song “All Shook Up.”
Ramos Gin Fizz
2 oz Plymouth Gin
½ oz fresh lime juice
½ oz fresh lemon juice
1 oz simple syrup
1-2 oz cream or half and half
1 egg white (pasteurized)
1-2 dashes orange flower water
Shake for several minutes with 2 ice cubes in shaker. Top with 1-2 oz seltzer
Phil then talked about the Algonquin Hotel, and the “10 year lunch” that was the Algonquin Round Table.
2 oz Wild Turkey 101 proof rye
1 oz Noilly Prat dry vermouth
1 oz pineapple juice
Shake well with ice, strain into chilled cocktail glass
Chantal Tseng then took the stage, and presented the long-lost Seelbach Cocktail from the Seelbach Hotel in Louisville.
1 oz Wild Turkey Bourbon
½ oz Cointreau
7 dashes Angostura Bitters
7 dashes Peychauds Bitters
4 oz Piper Heidsieck Brut Champagne
In a Champagne flute, add first 4 ingredients, then slowly add Champagne. Garnish lemon peel
Chantal then led us on a journey to the Hawaiian Isles, and delighted the crowd with the Royal Hawaiian, served at the Hotel Moana Surfrider.
1 1/2 oz Hendrick’s gin
1 1/2 oz pineapple juice
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon orgeat syrup
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
In addition to our sponsors, we wish to thank the owners and staff of the beautiful and historic Tabard Inn for their hospitality. If you’re ever in D.C., you owe it to yourself to stay at the Tabard, or at least have dinner or a drink at the bar (Chantal Tseng makes the best Sazerac in Washington!).
Be sure to attend our next event, May 9th at the Warehouse Theater/Passenger (7th Street, NW, Washington, DC), Dale DeGroff will be presenting his incomparable event, “On The Town.” Details here: