Alphonse – Recipe below from ‘Old Waldorf Bar Days’
It was a famous cartoonist who was responsible for a series of comics that ran in newspapers some thirty years ago, based upon traditional French politeness. “After you, my dear Gaston,” “After you, my dear Alphonse,” was the text or tenor of the captions, with the result that neither got past the door, or whatever it was. Some barman was a fan for that cartoonist, and perpetuated a theme that made the latter a fortune—at least “perpetuated” until prohibition came.
One-third Creme de Cacao
One-third Dry Gin
These two obsequious Frenchman were essentially the Meerkats of their day. They first appeared in a strip in Hearst’s New York journal in 1901, and by the time of the Artists death 36 years later had an almost weekly cartoon, collections, licensed products (like the badge below) a stage play and several comedy shorts. It even entered into vernacular and is still occasionally used when reflecting an undesirable dare, or when two people try to go through a doorway at the same time. It even has its own syndrome or routine, and was recently used in the New York Times “For years, China and the United States have engaged in a dangerous Alphonse-and-Gaston routine, using each other’s inaction to shirk their responsibility.”
The Alphonse is basically just an Alexander, the original version with Gin, and in fact the Bar Guide lists the Alexander as well, the difference being the Alphonse uses Dry Gin where as a Alexander uses Gin. Yes, really.
Now I don’t know what came first, the Alexander first pop’s up in Recipes for Mixed Drinks, by Hugo Ensslin in 1915. The text from Bar Days is a little cryptic in that it mentions the theme being perpetuated until prohibition, which was 4-5 years after Hugo Ensslin, but no inception date. My guess is the bartender stole a popular recipe.
There’s not much online about it either, in fact nothing. There are several similar named drinks but this looks like a Waldorf original, lifted straight out of ‘Mixed Drinks’
And how’s it taste? I prefer the richness that brandy brings to a Brandy Alexander, the gin works, it just doesn’t have quite as much going on, although there’s a nice light citrus edge to it from the gin which pairs nicely with the cacao, I also could not drink this slowly, no matter how hard i tried, and more importantly Phoebe snow (31-01) would approve.