Metropole – Old Waldorf Bar Days

Attributed to a once well-known and somewhat lively hotel, whose bar was long a centre of life after dark in the Times Square district. 

One-dash Peychaud Bitters 

One dash Orange Bitters 

One-half jigger French Vermuth 

One-half Brandy 

Stir; strain on a Cherry

The Metropole (now the Casablanca) was the first hotel in New York with running water, and more famously, the site of Herman Rosenthal’s murder in 1912.

“The old Metropole,” brooded Mr. Wolfsheim gloomily.  “Filled with faces dead and gone. Filled with friends gone now forever. I can’t forget so long as I live the night they shot Rosy Rosenthal there.”-F Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Rosy Rosenthal (below left) was a small time bookmaker, and illegal casino owner in New York. He had an arrangement with the local police lieutenant, where for 20% of his takings he was to be left alone. Becker, the lieutenant in question, either through greed, or pressure from above didn’t keep his side of the bargain and Rosy kept getting raided. After a while he started to complain, and this was heard from above in the precinct. Becker,  paid off some local mobsters, and Rosy was shot to death on the steps outside the Metropole. The crime was sensational at the time, the shooters were caught, as was Becker and all were executed. Notably a certain Jack Rose (see the Jack Rose cocktail 01-03) was one of the witnesses in the trial and helped them reach the verdict against Becker.

In the passage from Gatsby the gentleman talking, Wolfsheim, is modelled on Meyer Lansky, the man who fixed the world series, and considered the founding father of organised crime in the US.

The Waldorf isn’t wrong when they refer to the bar as lively, especially if this lot were typical of the regular patrons, and this is the perfect drink for it.

The drink is a great pre-dinner aperitif, the Dolin vermouth we used helps dry out the drink, and almost give it a savoury edge. This is the kind of session drink I could quite happily drink with Rosy, Meyer and Jack in the bar below while they concocted their next scam.