Ampersand – Old Waldorf Bar Days

Two dashes Orange Bitters

One-third Brandy

One-third Tom Gin

One-third Italian Vermuth

Stir; strain; two dashes of Curacao on top

Old Waldorf Bar Days calls for different brands and styles of gin in different drinks, Nicholson’s gets called in several (Gloom Raiser from the 24-01), and (old) Tom Gin makes a lot of appearances. This was purportedly very common in the 1800’s and was simply a gin with sugar added, not to make it sweet like a liqueur, but just enough to take the sharpness off the spirit. Like salt in food, sugar or honey has been used in this way back to the beginning of vodka production about 1000 years ago, to make things taste better. The story behind the name traces its way back the UK’s attempt to curb gin drinking, allegedly wooden plaques of an old tom (black cat) became popular, which upon placing a coin in a slot would dispense gin from a pipe. Yes, Victorian England’s love of alcohol and dislike of law invented the first vending machine.

I’ve discovered I really like the Italian Vermouth / dark spirits combination, with the Saratoga coming in my top 3 drink so far, this is a brilliant addition to this theme. The gin helps dry out the drink, and adds a nice bitterness to the back. I have no idea why you’d add two dashes of curacao on top, if its similar in sugar to Cointreau, which I used, it will sink right to the bottom, so I stirred in a teaspoon to add sweetness to make up for my lack of Old Tom Gin.

This was the perfect after a long day stretched out on the couch cocktail.