Knickerbocker – Old Waldorf Bar Days

After a well-known New York club, then situated in a few steps from the Waldorf, and supposed to have been originally compounded for members of that organization, as was the case with Knickerbocker Punch.


Juice one-half Lemon 

One lump Sugar 

Two dashes Angostura Bitters 

One whole Lemon Peel 

One jigger Brandy 

Fill with plain Soda

Not growing up in New York or America the word ‘Knickerbocker’ has always been a strange one to me. Apparently it refers to anyone who was a descendant of a Dutch settler in New York, and literally means ‘toy marble baker’. The Dutch weren’t the first to New York, the Algonquin Indians hold that honour, with the Florentines of all people the first Europeans to arrive and chart the area. The Dutch were the first real settlers though, setting up shop from the early 1600’s until 1664 when a punitive British expedition captured it from the despotic governor, Peter Stuyvesant and promptly renamed it New York, after the Duke of York, and future King James II of England.

Over time the word came to mean a city patrician, or the local brahmin and the club in question was packed to the rafters with Rockefellers, Roosevelts and Morgan’s when they weren’t being captains of industry, invading Caribbean islands or just running the whole damn country (sans-golf no doubt).

The drink is a good one, I guess the Brandywine is a nod towards the old country of toy marble bakers, it’s tall, simple, refreshing and all the component parts work well together. Perhaps not quite the right tall refreshing drink considering the snow forecast later tonight, but it worked perfectly as a Friday night Aperitif.