Cocktails Savoy!

“Herein after learn all that is known about COCKTAILS.” And so starts Harry Craddock’s 1930 compilation of “cocktails, rickeys, daisies, slings, shrubs, smashes, fizzes, juleps, cobblers, fixes and other drinks.” As head barman at the famous Savoy Hotel in London in the 1920s and 1930s, Mr. Craddock translated his expertise into a true treasure trove for today’s cocktail connoisseur. And Miss Mojito couldn’t have been happier to be gifted with this beautifully illustrated book from a good pal with a similar penchant for all-things-cocktail.

The book contains upwards of 750 recipes presented in a simple style. In most recipes, the ingredients are listed in proportions (1/2 of this to 1/2 of that), although you will find scattered about a few vague references (add “a glass” of gin, for example). In addition to cocktail recipes, the reader also receives a brief education in wine and wine drinking.

Mr. Craddock’s collection is not all business, as witnessed by the quips and remarks found throughout the recipes. The Rattlesnake Cocktail (whiskey, egg shite, sweetened lemon juice and absinthe) is so named, he writes, “because it will either cure rattlesnake bite, or kill rattlesnakes, or make you see them.” And the Jabberwock Cocktail (orange bitters, gin, sherry, caperitif), he warns, is sure to make you “gyre and gimble in the wabe until brillig all right, all right.”  The man’s a hoot!

But humor certainly takes second place to usefulness in this guide. I certainly appreciate “A Few Hints for the Young Mixer,” namely:

  1. Ice is nearly always an absolute essential for any Cocktail.
  2. Never use the same ice twice. (I’m totally guilty of this cocktail sin.)
  3. Remember that ingredients mix better in a shaker rather larger than is necessary to contain them. (I learned this one the hard way.)
  4. Shake the shaker as hard as you can: don’t just rock it: you are trying to wake it up, not send it to sleep!
  5. If possible, ice your glasses before using them.
  6. Drink your Cocktail as soon as possible. Henry Craddock was once asked what was the best way to drink a Cocktail: “Quickly,” replied that great man, “while it’s laughing at you!”

Here are just a couple examples of Savoy cocktails that Miss Mojito is eager to try. I’ll be reporting back after I’ve done a bit more experimentation and exploration!

Mississippi Mule Cocktail

  • 2/3 dry gin
  • 1/6 lemon juice
  • 1/6 Creme de Cassis

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

Mr. Manhattan Cocktail

  • One lump sugar
  • 1 dash lemon juice
  • 4 dashes orange juice
  • 1 glass gin
  • 4 mint leaves

Crush the lump of sugar in a little water. Then crush four leaves of green mint, and add remaining ingredients. Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

Posted by Miss Mojito.

2 responses to “Cocktails Savoy!

  1. Miss Mojito,
    I also have the Savoy Cocktail book! Such a great idea to write about it.

    When I came upon the Corpse Reviver No. 2,, the funny line following the recipe is: “Four of these taken in swift succession will unrevive the corpse again.”

    Maybe Mr. Craddock is also funnier when he drinks.

  2. I’m a bit confused about the “Mr. Manhattan,” as it includes zero elements of an actual Manhattan (whiskey, sweet vermouth, bitters, and a cherry), but the book itself sounds intriguing. ;-)

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