Claridge

Overview

With two fruit liqueurs, the Claridge is one quirky Martini variation, but somehow it works extremely well.  I first came across it in “Barflies and Cocktails”, the wonderful diminutive 1927 cocktail book by Harry MacElhone (which is essentially a reprint of his 1922 ABCs of Mixing Cocktails) and it has been one of my off-the-beaten-path favorites ever since. The book attributes the drink’s creation to a bartender named Leon (no surname) who worked at the Claridge Hotel in Paris.   

At this risk of committing cocktail heresy, I’ve taken some liberties with the recipe’s proportions.  The original calls for 1 ounce each of gin and vermouth, and a half an ounce of each liqueur, but I found that to be a bit sweet and perfumy.  I like to put the gin in the driver's seat, and dial the liqueurs back so they still offer their distinctive fruit notes but not too much sweetness.   

Recipe

 

  • 2 oz dry gin

  • 1 oz dry vermouth

  • ¼ oz Cointreau - or another high quality orange liqueur

  • ¼ oz apricot liqueur - Giffard, Merlet and Rothman and Winter all make great ones.

  • lemon peel for garnish

Combine all ingredients in a chilled mixing glass.  Fill with ice, stir for 18-25 seconds, then strain into a chilled coupe or martini glass. Garnish with an expressed lemon peel.

If you make an Astoria, let me see!  Tag a photo with #socialhourcocktails on Instagram.

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Commentary

  

Or was That Apricot Brandy?

The original Claridge recipe actually calls specifically for apricot brandy, which sometimes sparks speculation amongst inquisitive-minded bartenders as to what ingredient our friend Leon was actually using - a sweet apricot liqueur or full proof brandy distilled from apricots, aka apricot eau de vie - which means it's unaged

 

Conventional wisdom is that a liqueur was being used, which is what I usually  stick with.  But the Claridge is indeed great with apricot eau de vie as well.  You just need to use different proportions because it's quite a bit drier and boozier than the liqueur.  In fact, my Claridge recipe with eau de vie is almost identical to the original proportions, just with the Cointreau pulled back a bit.  So who knows what Leon was working with (my hunch is still the liqueur).  Regardless, you really can’t go wrong with either recipe. 

   

Claridge - with Apricot Eau de Vie

1 oz dry gin

1 oz dry vermouth

½ oz apricot eau de vie

¼ oz Cointreau

lemon peel for garnish

  

Prepare as above.

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tom@socialhourcocktails.com Brooklyn, NY

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