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For the drink
- 1 Ounce infused Galliano
- Ayala 'Brut Majeur' Champagne
For the infused Galliano
- 750 Milliliters Galliano Liqueur
- 1 Pound fresh strawberries, cored and halved
- 3 Tablespoons black peppercorns
For the drink
Add the infused Galliano, and fill champagne glass with Ayala 'Brut Majeur' Champagne.
For the infused Galliano
Add all ingredients to airtight container, let sit for a week. Strain and place back into Galliano bottle.
The Waldorf Astoria Bar Book
“Frank has done the un-doable. He has taken The Old Waldorf Astoria Bar Book and brought it completely up to date with this brand new tome that will, I predict, be hailed as a true classic in its own right, standing tall next to books such as Jim Meehan’s PDT Cocktail Book, another volume that will be used as a reference for the next 100 years and more.”
—Gary 'Gaz' Regan, author of The Joy of Mixology
“As bar manager of the Waldorf's Peacock Alley, Caiafa is the gatekeeper to many of history's oldest cocktail recipes and in a sense, an usher into the ways we will drink them in the future.” —Town and Country
“The Waldorf Astoria Bar Book, along with Cole Porter’s “You’re the Top” (written there) and Veal Oscar (invented there), counts among the hotel’s cultural legacies.” —Gotham
Frank Caiafa—bar manager of the legendary Peacock Alley bar in the Waldorf Astoria—stirs in recipes, history, and how-to while serving up a heady mix of the world’s greatest cocktails. Learn to easily prepare pre-Prohibition classics such as the original Manhattan, or daiquiris just as Hemingway preferred them. Caiafa also introduces his own award-winning creations, including the Cole Porter, an enhanced whiskey sour named for the famous Waldorf resident.
Each recipe features tips and variations along with notes on the drink’s history, so you can master the basics, then get adventurous—and impress fellow drinkers with fascinating cocktail trivia. The book also provides advice on setting up your home bar and scaling up your favorite recipe for a party.
Since it first opened in 1893, the Waldorf Astoria New York has been one of the world’s most iconic hotels, and Peacock Alley its most iconic bar. Whether you’re a novice who’s never ventured beyond a gin and tonic or an expert looking to expand your repertoire, The Waldorf Astoria Bar Book is the only cocktail guide you need on your shelf.
Bring Back the Chauncey
There are more than 800 cocktail recipes in The Waldorf Astoria Bar Book , and Frank Caiafa tasted and tweaked every last one. For a drink to stand out in this formidable crowd, it had to be very good or very odd—or both, as is the case with the Chauncey.
Caiafa, who managed the Waldorf Astoria’s famed Peacock Alley bar from 2005 until 2017 when it closed for renovations, dedicated five years to writing his 2016 reboot of the hotel’s iconic cocktail manual. Originally published in 1934 to capitalize on America’s post-repeal thirst, The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book by Albert Stevens Crockett chronicled the colorful pre-Prohibition drinking scene at the hotel’s original Fifth Avenue location, which was demolished in 1929 to make way for the Empire State Building.
In one section, Crockett, a well-known journalist of his day, outlines the namesakes of cocktails inspired by prominent regulars and associates of the hotel. The Armour, for example, was a nod to Chicago meat magnate J. Ogden Armour the Beadleston honored a partner in Beadleston & Woerz, a local brewery that supplied the bar.
But in the case of the Chauncey—Old Tom gin, whiskey, Italian vermouth and brandy in equal measure, with a hit of orange bitters—all Crockett teases is that “a famous orator and wit” inspired the name. A likely candidate: Chauncey Depew, a Republican senator from New York renowned for his speaking prowess. Depew delivered numerous speeches at the Waldorf Astoria for society functions, military fêtes and dinners honoring presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Taft. The 1934 book Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars also lists a contemporaneous “Chauncey Depew,” a shaken drink of sherry, sweet vermouth, bitters and orgeat.
Ironically, the man whose name graces at least two different cocktails from this era had little interest in consuming them. “[He] rarely touched anything to drink,” reads Depew’s 1928 New York Times obituary. “When he drank, he took a little wine.”
A historic equal-parts formula that requires little tinkering.
Caiafa, for his part, was much more intrigued with the Chauncey’s unusual makeup than anything else. “The whiskey-gin mix, you don’t see that too often,” says the Brooklyn-born barman, who currently runs his own beverage consultancy . “But then there’s also Cognac—three lead ingredients, in equal parts, softened and modified by vermouth. Anything like that really gets your eye.”
Like so many of the recipes he updated for The Waldorf Astoria Book , Caiafa assumed the oddball Chauncey would require some modernizing. “The funny thing was, out of all the recipes that I fooled around with and rejiggered, I ended up sticking with the recipe that is in the book,” he says. “I threw a lot of whiskey down the sink chasing this, but it turns out the best one is the original one.”
But he did experiment with a variety of different brands and expressions for each of the equal-parts components. Though the original Waldorf Astoria recipe calls for Old Tom gin, the sweeter precursor to London dry that typically hovers around 80 proof, Caiafa likes to swap in American-made, 96-proof Bowling & Burch, which offers a robust, citrus-driven botanical profile. “I felt the drink could be improved, and made more complex, by using a more distinctive gin,” he explains.
Selecting this assertive spirit, however, dictated that he go subtler elsewhere. For the Cognac component he opts for H by Hine, which is specifically blended for use in cocktails, to serve as a soft, round foil for its gin counterpart. Still, “I needed the spine to come from somewhere,” says Caiafa. Completing his equal-parts trio, New York Distilling Company’s Ragtime Rye provides muscle and spice.
“You don’t want to have all your ingredients be bold—you want a nice mix,” notes Caiafa. It’s a system of checks and balances. If you want to emphasize a unique Cognac or Armagnac, for example, use an Old Tom gin or, go with a standard London dry, and tone down the whiskey portion of the equation by using a less-assertive bourbon in lieu of rye. It is, like so many time-tested formulas, infinitely customizable. “It’s a drink just like any other drink,” says Caiafa. “Only more so.”
The Waldorf’s Cocktail Bible, Remixed
Way, way back in the pioneer days of the cocktail renaissance — say, 2003 or thereabouts — questing mixologists and curious enthusiasts didn’t have many drink manuals to lean on. Out-of-print bartending texts of the 19th century were hard-to-find treasures, and publishing houses like Mud Puddle Books had not yet begun to reprint the old volumes.
“The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book” was one of the few texts that remained in print and could be found at a local bookstore. First published in 1934, it contained hundreds of recipes from the original hotel on Fifth Avenue, which had been torn down a few years earlier to make way for the Empire State Building.
“The value of the original book was that it was a great snapshot of the cocktails that existed right before Prohibition began” in 1920, said Robert Hess, an authority on the recent cocktail movement.
It took more than 80 years, but the ancient compendium has been given a makeover.
The updated version, which Penguin Random House will release on May 17 (dropping the “Old” and the hyphen from the title), was the idea of Frank Caiafa, manager of the hotel’s Peacock Alley bar. He was aware of the legacy of the original manual and of its predecessor, “Old Waldorf Bar Days” (1931), both written by Albert Stevens Crockett, a newspaper columnist and sometime publicist for the hotel.
When Mr. Caiafa suggested bringing the books into the modern era, his boss bit. That was in 2010. Mr. Caiafa spent two years researching the history of the cocktails, and another three testing the many recipes.
“It was strange the rabbit holes you would go down,” said Mr. Caiafa, 49, a born-and-bred New Yorker with the bulky build and soft-sandpaper voice of a 1940s film barkeeper. “Some of the drinks that, on paper, I’d think: ‘Oh, this will be a breeze. I’ll be on to the next recipe by the end of the night,’ I wouldn’t be on to the next recipe for days.”
Besides the two Crockett books, Mr. Caiafa drew on three other related volumes: “Drinks” (1914), by Jacques Straub, a Swiss-born bartender who was a friend of Oscar Tschirky, the Waldorf’s famed headwaiter “Bottoms Up” (1951), by Ted Saucier, who was publicity director for the Waldorf in the 1930s and ’40s and Mr. Tschirky’s own “100 Famous Cocktails” (1934).
Mr. Caiafa tweaked and updated most of Crockett’s recipes to suit the modern palate. In his introduction, he compares the old versions to “scratchy recordings on well-worn vinyl.” And he likens himself to a “modern audio engineer brought in to master old recordings.”
Peacock Alley, a Bar that Lives Up to Its Name and Setting
Sometimes, a cocktail bar in a landmark hotel really can be as impressive as its setting, and Peacock Alley at the Waldorf-Astoria is, happily, one of them.
The bar sits off the enduringly grand Art Deco lobby of the hotel, just steps from the bronze clock made for the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893 by the London firm Goldsmith (one of its eight plaques features Queen Victoria Grover Cleveland, if you were wondering, is on another).
Frank Caiafa, who as the manager at the Peacock Alley bar is responsible for its drinks, said he is well aware of what comes with the location: “People have expectations that are so high because they’re in the lobby of the Waldorf. I find it a good challenge to meet them, and exceed them.”
His cocktail list says as much the drinks are excellent, including the nicely calibrated Peacock (cranberry-infused vodka, fresh sour, Marie Brizard apricot brandy $18) a deeply flavored highball named for a former Waldorf resident, Cole Porter, (Willett rye whiskey, Lustau Almacenista Oloroso sherry and sour made in house $18) and a particularly well-made 1860 Manhattan (with Elijah Craig 12-year single-barrel bourbon, Noilly Prat sweet vermouth, Grand Marnier, house-made bitters $20).
Frank Caiafa, manager of the Peacock Alley bar at the Waldorf Astoria, strives for a classic New York bar with first-rate cocktails.
There are a dozen featured drinks on a roster that has real range: a Champagne cocktail (this one with peppercorn-infused Galliano), a big-deal martini (made with either Double Cross vodka or Berry Brothers & Rudd No. 3 gin), and a milk punch (vanilla-bean-infused bourbon, nutmeg and simple syrup).
The beers fit the profile: Four on tap, including three from New York (among them, Six Point Bengali I.P.A. and the Long Ireland Breakfast Stout, both $9). Wines too, from a White Rock Vineyards Chardonnay from California ($20) to a Boedecker Cellars Pinot Noir from Oregon ($18).
All of these are served by efficient waiters in a contemporary, comfortable space that offers a good view of the lobby but also functions as something of a retreat. It’s relaxed, but not overly casual there are lots of suits here, and not many jeans. On a recent Friday night, the pianist Emilee Floor’s selections ran from the Earth, Wind and Fire hit “After the Love Is Gone” to “My Favorite Things.”
But it’s the drinks that are the most memorable aspect of Peacock Alley. Mr. Caiafa, who has been in charge since 2005, clearly is a committed cocktail guy. In addition to his Peacock Alley position, he is the consulting bar manager at the Vault at Pfaff’s in Greenwich Village. He has had a cocktail blog (handlebarsnyc.blogspot.com) that he has put on hiatus while he finishes work on an updated version of Albert Stevens Crockett’s 1935 “Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book.”
(Sample wisdom from Crockett’s book: “Moderation is the secret of enjoyment of anything, if one wishes to retain the faculty for enjoyment.”)
Mr. Caifa said he was a devoted fan of the classics, within reason. “I don’t want to get carried away,” he said. “There are many people today who are taking these old books and these recipes to the extreme, and I kind of liken it to, if these guys were able to live 150 years, I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t be making the same drinks that they made back then. It would be an evolving of the practice. So that’s the angle I come in and try to keep it at.”
The second of the Waldorf’s bars, the Bull and Bear, is not as much fun (a third, Sir Harry’s, is being renovated). It is well-known for its rectangular, highly polished mahogany bar and the brass bull and bear statue in the center of it, as well as the oversize ticker that reports stock prices and sports scores.
But on a Friday night when Peacock Alley seemed festive, the Bull and Bear seemed to have little energy. The ticker, which looks like a colossal version of the crawl on ESPN, offered N.B.A. and spring training scores. A guy at the bar, whose cufflinks also qualified as colossal, alternated between loudly flirting with the woman to his left and checking his phone (which may have been more interested in what he was saying). The sound system played Faith Gibson’s version of the Guess Who song “Undun” and then, continuing the evening’s Cole Porter theme, Frank Sinatra singing, “I’ve Got You Under My Skin.”
Even with all its hallmarks, the Bull and Bear seemed as if it could it could be a pricey bar just about anywhere on a relatively quiet night. At 9:15 there were plenty of seats to be had, and a waiter who at first was pleasantly all-business pretty much vanished.
In the bar’s favor is a fine hamburger — as a $29 burger should be.
The drinks here seem interesting enough, although the Fig “N” Stormy ($19), made with fig-infused rum and ginger beer, was short on effervescence. Bull and Bear has a reputation for making a first-rate martini, and a Stoli edition ($18) was just that.
Mr. Caiafa does not do the drinks at Bull and Bear. For those you have to go to Peacock Alley, where, he said, he wants customers to know that “they’ve certainly been to a classic New York bar and that it’s on par with any other cocktail bar in the city.”
Summery Cocktails From Bars Around New York City
Today on Instagram, T’s online managing editor Alainna Lexie Beddie celebrates the unofficial end of summer with seasonal drink recipes from bars around New York City. The cocktails, which she shares below, cover the usual daytime-drinking bases: easy to sip, packed with citrus, light and effervescent. Happy Labor Day, indeed.
Dante, the new take on the old Caffe Dante, a near 100-year-old Greenwich Village institution, stays true to its Italian origins. And its Negroni happy-hour menu boasts 11 different variations, including this Americano — a favorite among regulars.
1 ounce Campari
1 ounce Martini & Rossi sweet vermouth
Perrier, to top
Orange wedge, to garnish
1. Pour the Campari and vermouth into a highball glass filled with ice.
2. Top with Perrier, and stir.
3. Garnish with the orange wedge and serve.
At the Lower East Side’s new Japanese tapas and cocktail bar, Bar Goto, drinks feature distinct Asian elements like fragrant shiso, delicate cherry blossom and, in the case of this fizz, tart yuzu. The citrus is tempered with a splash of Calpico, a milky and concentrated Japanese soft drink beloved in summer months (and by my Japanese mother).
2 ounces gin
¾ ounce lemon juice
½ ounce Calpico
½ ounce cane syrup
2 teaspoons Yuzu preserves
1 ounce club soda
1. Add all the ingredients except the club soda to a mixing tin.
2. Use a hand mixer to dissolve the yuzu preserves thoroughly.
4. Strain into a highball glass, top with the club soda and serve.
*At Bar Goto, they garnish this cocktail with a jelly-infused marshmallow . the details of which are top secret. So maybe steal a standard marshmallow from a bag near the bonfire for a little D.I.Y. garnish hack.
Alta Linea, the outdoor restaurant at the High Line Hotel, introduced brunch this summer. The spot is famous for its frozen Negronis, which draw the after-work crowds but its slightly bitter and refreshing spritz might be more appropriate for daytime noshing.
1 ½ ounces Contratto Bitter*
1 ounce Fever Tree club soda
2 ounces Prosecco
Orange slice, to garnish
1. Pour the Contratto Bitter into a wine glass.
2. Top with ice, the club soda and Prosecco.
3. Garnish with an orange slice, and serve.
* “I think of this as the grown-up version of the Aperol Spritz, which is one of my favorite cocktails,” says Joe Campanale, who devised Alta Linea’s drink menu. “Contratto is a new-to-market Italian aperitif that uses only natural ingredients and is delicious.”
Sangrias and a handful of soda-based drinks (red wine and cola, anyone?) complement Barcelona-style tapas at the New York outpost of Toro, which originated in Boston. This season, its Cape Town Mule — which nods to southern sweet tea, with rooibos-infused vodka — stands out on its own.
2 ounces rooibos-infused vodka*
1 ounce fresh lime juice
½ ounce simple syrup
¼ ounce ginger juice*
1. Combine all the ingredients in a mixing tin with ice and shake.
2. Strain into a glass with new ice, and serve.
Combine one bottle of vodka with 3 tablespoons rooibos tea. Allow to sit for 30 minutes, and strain out the tea.
Peel and chop a generous hunk of fresh ginger, and combine it with just enough water to allow it to spin in a blender. Blend until liquid. Strain off any fibers with cheese cloth.
In July, the Waldorf Astoria New York unveiled its new summer beer, dubbed the Greatest of Them Ale, in its recently expanded rooftop garden. The hotel’s Peacock Alley restaurant serves it in a cocktail with lemon and honey — collected from the bees that live on the roof.
1 ½ ounces Greenhook Ginsmiths American Dry Gin
¾ ounces honey syrup*
¾ ounces fresh lemon juice
2 ½ ounces Waldorf’s Greatest of Them Ale summer beer (or any Belgian-style witbier)
Lemon peel, for finishing
1. Add all the ingredients except the beer and lemon peel into a mixing glass filled with ice, and shake well.
2. Strain into a chilled Pilsner glass, filled with ice cubes.
3. Top with the beer. Twist a lemon peel over the top to release the scented oils, then discard. Serve.
Heat 1 part honey with 1 part water until juts dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool.
The Waldorf Astoria Bar Book
Frank Caiafa—bar manager of the legendary Peacock Alley bar in the Waldorf Astoria—stirs in recipes, history, and how-to while serving up a heady mix of the world’s greatest cocktails. Learn to easily prepare pre-Prohibition classics such as the original Manhattan, or daiquiris just as Hemingway preferred them. Caiafa also introduces his own award-winning creations, including the Cole Porter, an enhanced whiskey sour named for the famous Waldorf resident. Each recipe features tips and variations along with notes on the drink’s history, so you can master the basics, then get adventurous—and impress fellow drinkers with fascinating cocktail trivia. The book also provides advice on setting up your home bar and scaling up your favorite recipe for a party. Since it first opened in 1893, the Waldorf Astoria New York has been one of the world’s most iconic hotels, and Peacock Alley its most iconic bar. Whether you’re a novice who’s never adventured beyond a gin and tonic or an expert looking to expand your repertoire, The Waldorf Astoria Bar Book is the only cocktail guide you need on your shelf.
Recipes from this book
Created to incorporate the seasonally grown herbs from our rooftop garden, this unique cocktail is one of my summertime favorites. The pot still Irish gin has a soft and floral profile, so if you’re unable to procure it, I would go with one of the recently released lower-alcohol gins of your choice, steering clear of juniper-heavy renditions. The ingredients complement each other so well, you can’t help but taste something distinctive and different in every sip. It’s a must-try.
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Of all the cocktails associated with or attributed to the Hotel, not one—not even the venerable Rob Roy—was as popular as the Bronx. Sometimes referred to as the Cosmopolitan of its day, it was one of the most requested cocktails prior to Prohibition.
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Part sports bar, part club, and part sushi lover’s hideout, Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek’s Zeta Asia offers a sophisticated setting to enjoy traditional and signature sushi rolls, sashimi and innovative, hand-crafted cocktails, wines and beer.
Try Zeta Asia’s signature Sake Blossom, a milky drink of Nigori Sake, a dash of peach Schnapps, cranberry juice, and topped with fresh mint.
Contributor: Ricky Ly
Ricky Ly , is a graduate of the University of Central Florida (UCF ’08), currently working as a civil engineer in Orlando, FL. He is the author of the book, the Food Lovers’ Guide to Orlando and the founder of the local award-wining Orlando food blog, TastyChomps.com.
His work has been featured on ABC’s The Chew, WESH 2 Sunrise News, Orlando Sentinel, Orlando Weekly, New York Post, and many other media outlets including Asia Trend Magazine.
His passions include giving back to the community as well as traveling and eating around the world with his wife, May Wong, UCF ’07.
Behind The Waldorf Astoria Bar Book’s Brand New Update
There are few cocktail guides with as much history as “The Old-Waldorf Astoria Bar Book” by Albert Stevens Crockett. The original source material, “Old Waldorf Bar Days” (1931), also by Crockett, was penned during Prohibition but the author rewrote it as we know it in 1933 when Prohibition ended. This version contained a comprehensive selection of sophisticated period-specific recipes dating all the way back to the Civil War. It became the standard for well-established bars and drinkers—and unsurprisingly, many of those cocktails are still consumed today. Over the years, there have been a few re-releases with minor updates, but for the first time in 80 years, the book has received a brand new overhaul. “The Waldorf Astoria Bar Book,” released this month, is an exemplary refresh helmed by Frank Caiafa. Over five years, Caiafa—the bar manager at the NYC Waldorf Astoria’s Peacock Alley cocktail bar and restaurant—delved into the history of the hotel’s drinks program. He tried every single cocktail in the book’s previous iterations (over 500) and created something that’s neither a dictionary nor a history book. It’s a guide to bringing one of the best bar programs home.
While it’s not slender by any means (at 416 pages), “The Waldorf Astoria Bar Book” does slim down the recipe selections—while supporting them with cocktails from “Drinks” (1914) by Jacques Straub and “Bottoms Up” (1951) by Ted Saucier, both of whom were associated with the Waldorf in some ways. There are tweaked pre-Prohibition drinks, variations on everything we know and love, and Caiafa also adds plenty of his own modern creations. In addition to the updated recipes, there’s also a substantial section on the history of the bar program and hotel. And the recipes themselves come complete with tidbits of information about their development. Rounding it all out, the author offers tips on home bar essentials and advice on scaling up drinks for parties. It’s thorough, of course, but very easy to use. More importantly, it’s fun to flip through. To get a better understanding of what went into making this book, we took an excursion to the Waldorf, sipped cocktails with Caiafa at Peacock Alley and dined at La Chine. There’s more to the hotel than its famous brunch and experiencing it first hand lends further weight to the book’s importance.
According to Caiafa, “I always knew about the old books but when I started here in 2005, we always discussed culling recipes from the old book, but the new Peacock Alley was so different from the old, we felt like it was a disservice to the kitchen. I wanted to keep it fresh. That’s why the bar didn’t concentrate on the old books.” He continues, “there were some renditions from the old books at the beginning, but it wasn’t something we promoted.” Caiafa thought about sending out flights of the original cocktails in conjunction with his revitalized versions, but it became evident guests preferred the knew drinks. As time passed, however, the tides shift and people began preferring drinks of the old. He began revisiting the books again—and proposed a new edition. “It was green light after green light,” he says. And then the full deep dive into the research began.
“I felt like the preface, believe it or not, that was actually the backbone of what was going to be the story of the hotel and the book and the travel log of it all,” he adds. “I wrote this for guests and for people to absorb quickly—who get it and want to try. There’s a lot in here if you want to dig through the onion. If not, they’re just great recipes that are easily produced,” he concludes. Of course, you won’t find any old recipes featuring vodka or tequila in this book (though, there are new ones), as neither spirits were prevalent at the time. There are some wonders and some happen to be startlingly creative—and not yet buzzing in the classic cocktail revivalist menus around the world. This is a book for anyone who wants a bit of the past, present and future all together. And again, it’s worth popping over to the hotel itself to try them first hand.
Wyoming: Shark Bait
Through extensive research, I have found that The Rose is the can't miss spot for cocktails in Wyoming. It is located in Downtown Jackson. The Shark Bait cocktail is a blend of Beefeater gin, pineapple, lime, and you can add a float of chartreuse to make a Sharknado.
After hours of writing about America's best cocktails, it's time to pour myself a drink. If it's your goal in life to drink each of these cocktails, then I want to be your friend and will be happy to take this road trip with you (with a DD, of course).
#SpoonTip: If you don't want to limit yourself to just cocktails, you can check out the 24 most unique bars to get drunk at in America.