Newman – Recipe below from ‘Old Waldorf Bar Days’
This was the patronymic of a man who for a time ran the old Haymarket, a widely famed Tenderloin resort, at Sixth Avenue and Thirtieth Street. Solon avers the cocktail was named after him.
Dash of Amer Picon Bitters
One-third French Vermuth
One-third Italian Vermuth
One-third Plymouth Gin
In the late 19th, early 20th century the tenderloin district in New York was known as ‘Satan’s Circus’ by reformers as it hosted the largest assortment of ‘vice industries’ in the city. At its centre was the most notorious establishment of all, the Old Haymarket.
It started its life as an actual theatre, but it didn’t take long for its owner to transform it into more of a Moulin Rouge on steroids and it soon became known as a veritable sin shopping mall and was nicknamed by New York as the ‘prostitutes market’. In a country teetering on the edge of prohibition this was a giant glowing beacon of everything the temperance movement rallied against. Woman drank for free and more wickedly could talk and drink freely with men, which pulled in men from all levels of society, from bespectacled and top hatted gentlemen to ‘gangs of New York’ riff raff staggering in from opium dens all the while punctuated by coiffured, corseted, ‘painted ladies’. Its reputation grew as ‘New York’s liveliest party in the 1890’s’, and continued at breakneck speed until World War I, and then prohibition finally won over the excess.
If ever there was a man who needed to escape from his life for a quiet civilised drink now and then, to slow down and get some head space, it would’ve been Newman.
The drink itself would’ve worked a treat for this, it’s essentially a ‘Queen’ (07-03) only with the addition of Amer Picon, its nicely balanced with enough gin to remind you that it’s a proper drink but enough sweetness from the vermouth to make it easy to swallow, no matter how late you were up the night before, a touch of bitterness from the Amer Picon to cut its way through tired and abused taste buds and most importantly enough booze to give you enough Dutch courage to face another night back at work.
This may just become my Saturday afternoon drink of choice.