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Neat, Dirty, Or On The Rocks, Fairmont Cocktails Turn Back The Clocks

Publish Date : 02-Nov-2010
02, November, 2010

- New Menu Evokes Bygone Era with Timeless Drinks at Legendary Bars -

Toronto, November 2, 2010 – Speakeasies are all the rage, Don Draper is TV’s hottest commodity, cabaret takes the stage and the runways are filled with fashions that harken back to an earlier time. As glamour is embraced once again, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts is perfectly poised to reinterpret authentic cocktail culture for a new generation with a new Classic Cocktail Menu highlighting time-honored libations and newly restored iconic Fairmont hotels.

For over 100 years, bartenders in many of the heritage brand’s bars and lounges have helped invent, design, refine and serve drinks that can only be described as classic. This fall’s new menu will be whipped up by the best mixologists in the business, who have been extensively trained in the art of the cocktail. Taking inspiration from many classic cocktail eras, Fairmont has collected recipes for delicious drinks across the brand and will host them on its interactive online community site, Everyone’s An Original. Here, expert bartenders have posted photos, tips and tricks for making lip-smacking libations that date from colonial times right up to the present.

For a frothy taste of London’s flapper days, a White Lady at the American Bar will evoke Humphrey Bogart and Elizabeth Taylor, who wouldn’t feel out of place at the completely restored hot spot, packed to the brim since its October 10 opening in the legendary Savoy, A Fairmont Managed Hotel. Shanghai is a city on the rise, but savvy travelers know that the city first made a splash in the 1920s and 1930s, when movie stars and tycoons hobnobbed with diplomats and celebrities in the most fashionable clubs and lounges.  The iconic Jazz Bar in the historic Fairmont Peace Hotel was the place to see and be seen, and has once again been restored to its place of prominence on The Bund, where the classic Sidecar is not to be missed.

So for a selection of cocktails that haven’t lost their spark through decades of saloons, speakeasies and saucy personalities, guests can stop by any Fairmont hotel or resort worldwide for one of the following memorable drinks.

WHITE LADYThe White Lady traces its lineage back to a drink named “Delilah”, which included crème de menthe. In the late 1920s, The Savoy’s Harry Craddock perfected the recipe by switching to Cointreau: The White Lady was born and the cocktail evolved to a whole new level. His creation, (albeit without the egg white, which was added later to offer greater body and a richer feel) became an instant Savoy classic. It was featured in the very first Savoy Cocktail Book, compiled in 1930.

While the exact origins of the Mojito (and its name) are uncertain, one popular account traces it to the 16th-century “El Draque”—a drink invented in honor of Sir Francis Drake. Early versions featured tafia (juice from sugarcane) and aguardiente (“firewater”), which formed a primitive predecessor to rum; mint, lime and sugar were added to subdue its harsh taste. Rum, as we know it, was substituted as soon as it became widely available to the British, around 1650.

BRANDY ALEXANDERCreated for the wedding celebration of Princess Mary and Lord Lascelles, in 1922, the Brandy Alexander was already a household name by the mid 1930s. A classic blend of brandy and chocolate smoothed with cream, this cocktail had its genesis in a gin-based recipe that was called simply an “Alexander”. It reached the height of popular culture in the pilot episode of the Mary Tyler Moore television show, when the Mary Richards character asked for one during her job interview.

CLASSIC CHAMPAGNE COCKTAILAmong the earliest references to the Champagne Cocktail are Jerry Thomas’s How to Mix Drinks, or The Bon Vivant’s Companion (1862) and the Mark Twain novel Innocents Abroad (1869). Despite these famous references, however, it is widely accepted that the drink found popularity after bartender John Dougherty won an 1899 New York cocktail competition. His victorious - and very similar - concoction was called a “Business Brace”.

The Sidecar was arguably invented in Paris, circa World War I, by barkeep Frank Meier: He was inspired by the motorcycle sidecar that regularly transported an American army captain to and from the local bistro. (The original Sidecar featured Cointreau and Rémy Martin vintage 1865, making it, at that time, the most expensive cocktail in the world.) Today, just as variations of this famous cocktail grace Shanghai’s bar menus, motorcycle sidecars continue to grace the city’s bustling streets. Proving, in more ways than one, that the sidecar is one trend turned entirely classic.

Cosmopolitan Nairobi, heralded the “Safari Capital of the World”, is the natural departure point for ventures into Africa’s wild. And much like spotting the Big Five, no trip to Nairobi is complete without sipping the Dawa Cocktail (usually enjoyed with such culinary delights as seared ostrich, eland and crocodile steaks served on skewers). Given that dawa is Swahili for "medicine," this famous cocktail is said to cure whatever ails you. The fact that it’s the most popular cocktail in Kenya just might support this claim.

BLOODY CAESAR/BLOODY MARY While the origins of the Bloody Mary are disputed, it’s likely that Fernand Petiot invented the cocktail in 1921; he was working at the New York Bar in Paris—later, Harry’s New York Bar, a favorite hangout for Ernest Hemingway and other American and Canadian expatriates. In Calgary, Alberta, circa 1969, bartender Walter Chell added his own Canadian twist: following three months of exploring recipes, he settled on the beloved, spicy flavor of Clamato as his chosen mix. The Bloody Caesar is now Canada’s bestselling cocktail, with more than 250 million sold each year.

Ngiam Tong Boon, a bartender at Raffles Hotel around the turn of the century, created the Singapore Sling in 1915. And, despite the cocktail’s original posturing as a lady’s drink (thus the pink hue), it was soon enjoyed the world over. A recipe scribbled on a bar-chit—in Ngiam’s own handwriting, dated 1936—can be viewed in the museum at Raffles Hotel, Singapore. Here, the Singapore Sling is still being mixed and served in its original splendor.

PERFECT MANHATTANLegend suggests that The Manhattan— rather appropriately—originated in New York City. In the early 1870s, Lady Randolph Churchill (Winston’s mother) hosted a grand banquet in honor of presidential hopeful Samuel J. Tilden, and Dr. Iain Marshall invented a stately beverage to suit. Though differing accounts appear regarding the true origins of this beverage, there’s no denying its popular and timeless appeal.