H P Whitney – Recipe from the ‘Old Waldorf Bar Guide’

A famous patron of the turf who frequented the Bar before he and a group of friends moved up to the Brook Club. 

One-quarter Italian Vermuth 

One-quarter French Vermuth 

One-half Plymouth Gin 

Frappe with Orange Peel

Every so often we have a dear regular who takes over one of our cocktail classes and converts it into her ‘Shimmy and Shake’ class, me doing 60 minutes of cocktails, and her doing 60 minutes of a salsa class for the uncoordinated. Its generally good fun, except that everyone’s there for her hosting skills and the salsa, and only about a quarter of the people there are ever interested in the drinks. Despite this its always a fun group of people, and over time of doing these I’ve learnt to not try and talk over everyone and be heard, but instead talk in a low voice and just look after the half dozen interested people before they start dancing.

Mr Harry Payne Whitney was a member of the Skull and Bones club, one of the oldest university associations for students in the world, and has a charming history going all the way back to 1932. After University he inherited just over half a billion pounds from his father and uncle, and spent his life racing and breeding thoroughbreds  with great success, turning out several Kentucky derby winners. He was also a 10 goal polo player and organised the first American team to beat England at Polo in 1909. He was an avid philanthropist and financed several expeditions to the south seas before finally passing away at the all to young age of 58, during which time he’d managed to double his fortune.

The Waldorf really was home to some of the most interesting people.

The drink is a Queens, or Perfect Martini, and along with my favourite addition of an orange twist was the perfect amount of booze to help me deal with a rowdy cocktail class and I think this variant of a martini is quickly becoming my favourite, mostly I suspect as I’m really loving red vermouth.