Algonquin Cocktail

algonquin cocktail
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The Algonquin is a whiskey-based cocktail made with an unusual mix of rye, dry vermouth, and pineapple juice. The cocktail’s name is attributed to New York City’s historic Algonquin Hotel. This recipe was adapted from G. Selmer Fougner’s 1935 book: “Along The Wine Trail An Anthology of Wines and Spirits”.

Before delving into the intricate details of the Algonquin Cocktail, it is essential to understand the historical significance of the Algonquin Hotel itself. Established in 1902, the Algonquin Hotel has been a beacon of sophistication and refinement in the heart of New York City. Nestled at 59 West 44th Street in Midtown Manhattan, this iconic establishment became a haven for writers, actors, and intellectuals during the early 20th century, forming the famed Algonquin Round Table.

The Algonquin Round Table was a gathering of literary luminaries, including Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley, and Alexander Woollcott, who frequented the hotel’s Round Table restaurant for spirited conversations, witticisms, and, of course, a drink or two. It was within this intellectual and convivial atmosphere that the Algonquin Cocktail found its place, a cocktail designed to complement the wit and charm of the Round Table’s esteemed members.

Ingredients and Composition

The Algonquin Cocktail, as outlined in G. Selmer Fougner’s 1935 Along The Wine Trail, bears the distinctive mark of a classic cocktail with a unique twist. Comprising rye whiskey, dry vermouth, and pineapple juice, the recipe reflects a fusion of strong, dry, and fruity elements.

At the core of the Algonquin Cocktail is the robust flavor of rye whiskey. Rye, known for its spiciness and depth, provides a solid foundation for the cocktail, imparting warmth and depth.

The addition of dry vermouth introduces a layer of complexity to the cocktail. Vermouth, a fortified wine infused with botanicals, contributes a subtle herbal and aromatic quality. Its dry nature balances the richness of rye whiskey, creating a well-rounded and sophisticated flavor profile. This choice of vermouth aligns with the preference for drier, less sweet cocktails that defined the cocktail culture of the time.

The unexpected twist in this cocktail comes from the inclusion of pineapple juice. This tropical fruit juice brings a touch of sweetness and a burst of fruity notes, adding a refreshing and delightful dimension to the drink. The use of pineapple juice not only sets the Algonquin Cocktail apart from its contemporaries but also serves as a testament to the creativity and experimentation prevalent in the golden age of cocktails.

Cultural Significance and Legacy

The Algonquin Cocktail embodies the spirit of its time, encapsulating the sophistication, wit, and creativity that characterized the Algonquin Round Table. As a symbol of the bygone era, this cocktail offers a sensory journey back to the 1930s, allowing modern-day enthusiasts to savor a taste of history.

Moreover, the Algonquin Cocktail’s enduring popularity speaks to its timeless appeal and the enduring legacy of the Algonquin Hotel. While the Round Table may no longer convene, the cocktail continues to be enjoyed in bars and homes around the world, keeping the spirit of the Algonquin Hotel alive.

Algonquin Cocktail Recipe

  1. 45 ml rye whiskey

  2. 22.5 ml dry vermouth

  3. 22.5 ml pineapple juice

  4. Ice

  5. Garnish: pineapple wedge

algonquin cocktail recipe

How to Make an Algonquin Cocktail

  1. Add the rye whiskey, dry vermouth, and pineapple juice into a cocktail shaker.

  2. Add ice and shake for 10-15 seconds, until chilled.

  3. Strain into a coupe glass.

  4. Garnish with a pineapple wedge.