Netherland – Old Waldorf Bar Days

Possibly invented at the Hotel Netherland, a contemporary of the old Waldorf

Dash of Orange Bitters

Two-thirds Brandy

One-third Curacao

Stir; strain

Old Waldorf Bar Days has a lot of quite simply laid out recipes like this, no clutter, easy to read and easy to remember cocktails, which I quite like. This one seemed to be a simple recipe for how to make Grand Marnier, an orange liqueur made from bitter oranges, cognac and sugar, with the name a play on orange being the colour of the Dutch royal family.

Grand Marnier is one of those liqueurs that isn’t to sweet, and has enough punch from the underlying spirit to drink straight without courting diabetes. It was invented in the boom time for the French alcohol industry, the 1800’s. And again it’s one of those products which features on the back of almost every bar, but gets minimal usage, it can be used in some classic drinks, sidecar for example, but because of the cognac doesn’t work so well in others, like a cosmopolitan.

This was one of my ‘consumed at home after a busy shift’ cocktails. January from memory was always one of the quieter months of trade for us, with ski slopes stealing our locals. The last couple of years however, apart from the first week or two while people do a fine job with their healthy new years resolutions, trade has been up around November levels. The drink is bad. The first time I’ve come across a clear ‘NO’ this year.  In previous recipes like the fancy brandy cocktail I’ve wondered if Cointreau wasn’t sweet enough to copy curacao, in this one its too sweet, and the drink has all the charm of liquid skittles. If in Jerry Thomas’ day sugar was a fairly new thing and a little went a long way, by the 1930’s people couldn’t get enough of it.