Middleton – Recipe from ‘Old Waldorf Bar Days’

One-half Jamaica Rum 

One-quarter Grenadine Syrup 

One-quarter Holland Gin 

One White of Egg 

Juice of one Lemon 


Hollands Gin or Genever is a widely misunderstood spirit, by myself included. It’s the pre-cursor for modern gin but tastes more like a light whiskey, and even though its supposed to be flavoured with Juniper (hence the name) I struggle to pick this up from a lot of Genever I’ve tried.

The short and wildly abridged gin legend (myth) goes something along the lines of…… “Dr Sylvius (pic below) in Amsterdam came up with a great idea of flavouring the local spirit with juniper, as a medicinal cure obviously. This proved a hit with the locals and was named after the juniper it was flavoured with. The English liked the idea of flavoured booze, took ownership, miraculously avoided drinking themselves to death on it, refined the process and reinvented it as a light flavourful spirit, shortened the name and voila, gin.”

The reality is a much longer more boring process, and we sadly have record of a spirit called Genever before Dr Sylvius was even born, this story has no romance however so I’m going to pretend it happened the Dr Sylvius way (he wasn’t even Dutch).

Anyway, in the mid 1800’s in the USA, it was all about this Hollands, not the Dry London stuff from across the channel, with shipyard records showing at the height for every bottle of Dry English Gin that passed New York’s docks 600 bottles of Hollands made it too. What this means in reality is that most older recipes, from pre-1880’s, where books say gin they mean Genever, so wildly different flavoured drinks.

Its nice to see that even though 1931 is a long time after, there are still some recipes with this older gin floating around in the Waldorf, although I must admit its appearance in this drink is a bit of a waste. The recipe looks a bit like a clover club only with the injection of strongly flavoured rum. I do wonder sometimes as to how good Mr Solon’s taste buds were, maybe these were eroded over years of dousing them in dubious quality booze, we’ll never know. This drink is monstrously unbalanced, there’s so much lemon and grenadine it ends up tasting a little like rum flavoured sweet and sour sauce. Not a hint of Hollands poking through at all. If I were to re-write this recipe it would be maybe one-part Jamaican rum, 8 of Hollands, 2 parts lemon juice, one-part grenadine, half an egg white and we’ve Embury’d it into a decent drink. Dr Sylvius would’ve been disappointed with the Waldorf.