Bishops Poker – Recipe from ‘Old Waldorf Bar Days’

Unfortunately for the origin of this name, poker is a word with several definitions. At one time it was an instrument familiar in every household and used for stirring up the fire and, occasionally, played a decisive part in domestic disputes, being the first resort of the Yankee housewife in an effort to establish authority over a husband who complained of the cooking. Now it is sacred to what was once America’s great national indoor game. As for “Bishop”, of course, prelates of that name do not drink—at least are not supposed to. On the other hand, there used to be a number of men by the name of Bishop who, in the Waldorf Bar, sometimes gave evidence that they did. 

One-third French Vermuth 

One-third Italian Vermuth 

One-third Plymouth Gin 


I love how Crockett’s mind wanders when describing the drink, its typical of the whole book and makes it a joy to read.

The drink itself is yet another Waldorf version of a ‘Perfect’ Martini, only with severely amplified vermouth levels. Maybe this made it suitable for men of the cloth to drink and maintain the reputable status? Or maybe drinking this was their gamble, worth the scorn to imbibe.

This would be a great drink to play around with different gins, it needs something a little punchy to reach past the red vermouth, but a flavourful Pink Pepper, Malfy or even Millers could do it justice. I think this will be a keeper for me, a great drink as a first of the evening, or a pre-dinner aperitif.