Fin de Siecle – Recipe below from ‘Old Waldorf Bar Days’

FIN DE siecle *

One dash Orange Bitters 

One dash Amer Picon Bitters 

One-third Italian Vermuth 

Two-thirds Plymouth Gin 


Fin de Siecle translates to the ‘end of the century’ and was apparently a popular term in the 1890’s, with more than just cocktails named after it. It was added to as many things as ‘millennium’ seemed to be 20 years ago. It defined the naughty nineties, when art nouveau was in full stride, and people were waiting for and end to an era. An end which ended up taking an extra 14 years when a certain Archduke Franz Ferdinand had a badly timed automobile malfunction in the worst possible location.

The drink itself is worthy of a great event, a play on a never-ending string of drinks with the 2 parts gin, 1 part red vermouth combination, and one where the Amer Picon really does make a wonderful difference. I used a teaspoon of this to bring it forward a little and glad I did. The Antica formula I grab out of habit for red vermouth is pretty powerfully flavoured, and I worried that less than a teaspoon wouldn’t stand up. This my favourite of these combinations so far, the bitterness the Amer brings dry’s the vermouth out nicely leaving a beautifully balanced drink.