Bamboo – Recipe from the ‘Old Waldorf Bar Guide’

Two dashes Orange Bitters 

One-half Sherry 

One-half French Vermuth 

Stir; strain

This drink first starts popping up in cocktail books in the late 1800’s, and despite popular thought that its named after Bob Coles ‘Under the Bamboo Tree’ it predates this track by a good 10 years or so.

William Boothby in his book ‘The Worlds Drinks and How to Mix Them’ states that the drink is ‘originated and named by Mr Louis Eppinger, Yokohama, Japan’.

My favourite reference to its origin however goes right back to 1886 where it shows up published in the St Paul Daily Globe in Minnesota which states ‘One of the latest and most insidious drinks was recently introduced into swell saloons in this city by an Englishman. Consists of three parts sherry and one -part vermouth. It is called Bamboo, probably because after imbibing the drinker feels like raising Cain’. I find it a little amusing that its said that drinking this will result in causing trouble or creating an uproar, especially as the drink is a quite mild in alcohol and indeed noted for its lack of a base spirit. I guess the clue is maybe in use of the word insidious, and due to the nature of the drink being lighter in alcohol it sneaks up on you until you’re plastered and ready to raise Cain? If that is the case its certainly something I didn’t experience with my one drink, and maybe this should be a warning against turning it into more of a session option?

The drink itself is very palatable without being mind blowing, I tried it with Dolin extra dry vermouth, and a Oloroso sherry, I guess where it comes into its own will be experimenting with different sherries and vermouth’s to find your sweet spot, which I suspect could take a while with the range of both available, and it could be this search for the perfect combination which proves insidious, or a really fun Sunday afternoon.