Hamlin – Recipe below from ‘Old Waldorf Bar Days’
Took its name from Harry Hamlin of Buffalo, an enthusiastic automobilist in the days when there were far more enthusiasts than automobiles. He was a good friend of Johnnie Solon and was always wanting to take Johnnie for a ride—which meant something different in those times. Hamlin was later killed, with five or six other persons, in an automobile accident.
One-third Italian Vermuth
Two-thirds Nicholson Gin
Harry Hamlin, millionaire, clubman, horse breeder, and automobile enthusiast from Buffalo, close to Niagara Falls in New York State. His death no-matter how mundane it sounds today was a big deal in 1907, this was a time before the Model T Ford, when drivers were called automobilist’s and wore goggles to keep the bug’s out of their eyes. His death was sadly one of Buffalo’s earliest road accidents. Luckily his was the only fatality that day, his driver, an employee and a local police officer escaped with light injuries.
The Johnnie Solon he talks about was the head bartender at the Waldorf around the time of the accident, and is a legend of the time, creating more than one classic drink.
Harry’s legacy didn’t end there however, he was survived by wife and child, and his grandson, named after him went on to become an accomplished actor, starring in LA Law and Mad Men.
The drink its self is basically a shaken (read: frappe) sweet martini. Luckily Nicholson’s is at the beginning of a re-invention phase, so I was able to use this gin in the drink and it works beautifully. It’s a simple drink, and if you like martini’s this is a tamer more flavourful version, think breakfast drink in a 1960’s advertising agency.
Now my memory of Mad Men and booze seems to revolve around whiskey, vodka and the occasional old fashioned, which seems a little bit of a shame, if my grandfather had a drink named after him its almost all I’d drink, a ‘Manktelow’ however doesn’t have quite the same ring as a ‘Hamlin’ though.