Guion – Old Waldorf Bar Days

Back in the days when the United States was making a name for itself with swift transatlantic steamships, that was long before the War, the Guion line was important among Atlantic steamship companies. The cocktail was named after a member of the family which owned, or had founded, the Guion line. 

Dash of Orange Bitters 

One-half Plymouth Gin 

One-half Italian Vermuth 

Stir; strain 

One spoon of Benedictine on top

The owner was one Stephen Guion, who along with William Stanton founded two lines which specialised in travel between Liverpool and New York in the late 1800’s. between them the two lines owned some 15 boats between 1866 and 1894. A couple of them, the Alaska and the Oregon temporarily held speed records for the route, and they proved popular with American travellers, purely because of their American ownership, as more than one account refers to them as ‘uncomfortable’ for the 6-day 10-hour voyage.

One of them, the ‘Arizona’ managed to run straight into an iceberg, only instead of doing a titanic the bow concertinaed 8 metres back into the hull, and she made it all the way, which they used as proof of their ‘unsinkability’. However, a further 5 of their boats were wrecked or sunk, albeit for only the loss of 6 lives, regardless, the odds of staying afloat do not fill me with confidence to the point where I’d almost try one of those giant inflammable air ships.

I did use Plymouth gin for this one, we have both varieties on our back bar, Carpano for the Italian, and instead of placing a spoon of Benedictine on top (it sinks – I don’t see the point) I added this in pre-stir. The drink is lovely, the Benedictine at 5ml just comes through beautifully complementing the vermouth. I suspect the drink is a damn site more relaxing than sea travel was back then.