Defender – Recipe below from ‘Old Waldorf Bar Days’

The name of an American yacht which took care of one of Sir Thomas Lipton’s early but seemingly endless “Shamrocks” 

Dash of Orange Bitters 

One-half Tom Gin 

One-half Italian Vermuth 

Two dashes Creme Yvette 


The America’s cup is the oldest international sporting trophy, first raced for in 1851 off the Isle of Wight. Legend has it that it used to be a british race and one year some americans bought over a boat, the aptly named ‘America’ and won by such a distance that they gave them the cup and renamed it the ‘America’s Cup’. The cup then stayed in the hands of the New York Yacht Club until 1983, making it the longest running streak, in terms of date, in any sport, ever. It has changed hands several times since then, and is currently held by the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron.

The Defender was the victorius defender of the cup in 1895, however it never raced against any of the Shamrocks, but instead a Valkyrie III, which I guess is an error of memory, at a time when checking facts wasn’t quite as easy as turning on a computer and asking Professor Google.

I wonder if other boats in this series had drinks named after them as well, with names like Valkyrie, Shamrock and Columbia it would seem a shame if there wasn’t.

The drink itself, was typically on the sweet side, and in fact I remade it with half Old Tom and half London Dry for a much more palatable drink. I used a teaspoon of bitter truth violet in place of the Crème Yvette. The Yvette has berries in as well, so would give a more rounded flavour, but with a lot of these drinks I can’t help wondering if these liqueurs have changed a lot over time, or what they meant by a dash, as a modern ‘dash’ in this drink would be barely noticeable, if at all.