New Algonquin – Recipe from David Embury’s ‘The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks’

Dry Manhattan with the addition of the same quantity of pineapple juice as that of the French vermouth and 1 dash of Angostura to each drink. Shake.

The Algonquin hotel, nestled in midtown, was famous as the home of a certain round table in the Oak Room, around which the ‘Vicious Circle’ met for lunch (read Martini’s, whiskey and gin) each day from 1919 through until 1929. They consisted of all that was great in the arts in New York, were chaired by the wonderful Dorothy Parker after she had brushed her teeth and sharpened her tongue for the day and counted Robert Benchley, Harpo Marx and Ernest Hemingway as regulars.

Its here the phrase ‘to drink you under the table’ was coined, where they played word games all day ”you can lead a horticulture but you can’t make her think”, and were wonderfully horrid “tell him I’m too fucking busy, or vice versa”. If there were ever a place and people I would like to spend a afternoon passing the time with it would’ve been 1925, in the Oak Room, sitting close enough to hear all that unfolded, but just far enough to be out of reach of their barbs.

The drink itself is a little disappointing, although to be fair I wasn’t sure what to expect. The pineapple doesn’t work so well with the bourbon and the whole thing just tastes a little insipid. It’s a shame as it has some great history behind it, but there’s either something I’m not getting with how I’ve made it, pineapple juice has changed, or its just not a very good drink.

Either way I doubt many of thee were consumed in the Oak Room, I suspect anyone caught drinking anything with pineapple juice in would never make the same mistake twice, maybe the old Algonquin was better.

I’ll leave you with the words of Robert Benchley

‘this old wives superstition that a cup of coffee will “put you on your feet” with a hangover is either propaganda by the coffee people or the work of dilettante drinkers who get giddy on cooking sherry. A man with a real hangover is in no mood to be told “just take a cup of black coffee” or “the thing for you is a couple of Aspirin.” A real hangover is nothing to try out family remedies on. The only cure for a real hangover is death.’