McLean – Recipe from ‘Old Waldorf Bar Days’

In honour of John R. MacLean, long proprietor of the Cincinnati Enquirer and the Washington Post. MacLean was a frequent patron of the Bar in its older days. With him always travelled his Achates and lieutenant, McBride, a genial story-teller and general good fellow, who graced the Bar oftener than did his principal. MacLean was once owner of the old New York Morning Journal, buying it from Albert Pulitzer, brother of Joseph. He used to think he made a good deal by selling to William R. Hearst for a much higher figure than it cost him. Subsequent events revealed that Mr. Hearst had not made a bad bargain after all. 

One-quarter Italian Vermuth 

One-quarter French Vermuth 

One-half Gordon Gin 


I suspect John Roll McLean wasn’t too disappointed to watch how Hearst developed the Journal after buying it from McLean for a ‘much higher figure than it has cost him’, it wasn’t to long after he purchased a controlling interest in the Washington Post, one of the most influential newspapers in the USA, and one which has been awarded (ironically) a ridiculously large number of Pulitzers over the years. I also think McLean was more of an investor than a newspaper man, he also owned the Cincinnati Red’s (still languishing at the bottom of there baseball conference 100+ years later) and started a railroad, it seems he was more interested in projects than what the projects actually were and must have been a fascinating man to have a drink with at the Waldorf.

The drink is a ‘perfect’ Martini (‘whoever called it ‘Perfect’ has a mighty poor view of perfection’ – David Embury) which isn’t as bad as Mr Embury delights in pointing out. It does however slip into the complete lack of drinks imagination the Waldorf guide is prone too, it really does seem that they have a great regular, make a version of a Martini for them, and name it after them. A little ‘cheaty’ if you ask me, but then we all stand of the shoulders of giants to some extent.