Blackjack – Recipe from the ‘Old Waldorf Bar Guide’

Supposed to have been called that from knockout effects consequent upon indulgence. The blackjack was an instrument frequently carried by criminals in the pocket now sacred to hip-flasks. It usually consisted of a piece of lead covered with leather thongs, an extension of which went over the holder’s wrist. Applied to the temple of the victim, it usually resulted in temporary or permanent coma. Frequently, those to whom its namesake was applied, or who applied themselves to it, recovered consciousness later on. 


Open pony Kirschwasser 

One dash Brandy 

One pony Coffee 


Coffee in a cocktail, makes it look mighty like an espresso martini.

In 1997 I started work at Pharmacy on Notting Hill Gate alongside Dick Bradsell and Chris Edwards to name just two. The rest of the team were brilliant, and starting I was a little awestruck by the amazing tasting cocktails that literally everyone in the building was drinking.

One of my favourites was a ‘Pharmaceutical Stimulant’, Dick’s espresso martini re-named to fit in with the theme of the bar. From that point on, if there was a coffee machine where I was working we had a version of this drink on our list, it wasn’t until the last couple of years that it really took off.

Dick’s origin story for the drink involves a super model late one night wanting something that would ‘wake her up and fuck her up’, and these work mighty well for that, almost more of a natural vodka redbull for the discerning drinker.

One thing we’ve noticed at work over the last few years is the move of people being a little smarter about when they drink coffee, more day drinkers than night, except for this drink. We use more coffee in the bars making our version of an espresso martini than we do in the restaurant for actual coffee.

This is the first time I’ve seen a cocktail pre-date Dick’s mid-eighties invention, and by a good 50 years. I’ve not seen, or remembered anything in-between or seen anything earlier. I’m told there’s a drink called a black rose which was rum, coffee and sugar, but I can’t seem to place it.

This drink was damn nice, brandy and coffee go well together, the addition of cherry works brilliantly. I didn’t have a kirshwasser, just maraschino so I upped the brandy till they were all thirds to avoid sweetness, great drink.