All posts tagged: old tom

Cocktail of the week no.19: the Tuxedo

In 1885, in a rural patch of New York state called Tuxedo, just north of the border with New Jersey, a man named Pierre Lorillard decided to found a country club. He named it after the region, which had retained its Indian name; Etymonline and the Tuxedo Club’s own excellent history page agree that ‘Tuxedo’ probably derives from the Algonquian ‘p’tuck-sepo,’ or ‘crooked river.’ The club was a success, attracting the New York glitterati for its country pursuits and society dances, and in the year of its opening, 1886, the name went down in history for its association with a new, informal style of evening wear – the tail-less dinner jacket. Supposedly this rather avant-garde garment was brought back to New York by one James Brown Potter, who saw the Prince of Wales (the future King Edward VII) wearing one on a visit to Sandringham; the ‘notoriously unchaste’ prince recommended his tailor to Potter while simultaneously trying to seduce his wife. The Wall Street Journal has the full story here, as well as one or two other versions. This …

Cocktail of the week no.5: the Martinez

So I popped down to Gerry’s Wines and Spirits recently to get some new ingredients and expand my repertoire. It seems less common for people to make complex cocktails at home in the UK than it is in the US, perhaps because alcohol is generally more expensive here, so there aren’t a ton of stores that are really well-stocked. Gerry’s is the best in London as far as I can tell. The staff are really helpful, and I incidentally learned the correct way to pronounce ‘Tokaji’ when another customer was gently corrected (it’s Tok-eye). Among other things, I picked up some Old Tom gin, a style of gin popular in the 19th century, made obscure by the rise of London dry gin, and resurrected in the last decade or so. I bought it specifically to make a Martinez, an old relative, and supposedly the predecessor, of the Martini. I tried a Martinez for the first time recently at Bar Américain. It’s very different from a Martini, and not the easiest thing to drink, but it really stuck with me. It’s complex and bittersweet, featuring …

Bonus cocktail: the Princeton

I saw this drink browsing the ‘cocktails’ tag on my WordPress reader – thank you Rapid Cyclist! I spent 5 happy years in Princeton doing my PhD, and met my husband there, so this seemed like one I had to make. I’m not including it in my Cocktails of the Week, because it’s quite random, and I prefer to make my way through the big ones in that series, but it’s a great bonus! I looked up the cocktail, and found some more info at Serious Eats, of course. Apparently a barman named George Kappeler mixed a series of Ivy League themed drinks at the Holland House bar in New York in the late 19th century, as a way of currying favour with his student customers. Naturally, some of these cocktails are better than others. It’s doubly convenient because I just bought some Old Tom gin, and was wondering what else I could use it in, and we happen to have some nice port in the house too. I love the two tone effect of this cocktail, which is achieved …