Turf Club Cocktail

turf club cocktail
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The Turf Club, a delightful drink that has graced cocktail menus for well over a century, is called for a meticulous blend of London dry gin, dry vermouth, and orange bitters, stirred to perfection and garnished with a lemon twist or cherry.

The invention and evolution of classic cocktails often have multiple threads and sources, with different bartenders and mixologists contributing their own variations and interpretations. This cocktail is no exception, and while it may have made its debut in George Winter’s “How to Mix Drinks” in 1884, it also underwent refinements and variations in subsequent cocktail manuals.

In the 1900 edition of Harry Johnson’s “Bartenders’ Manual” we find a version of the Turf Club cocktail that showcases the cocktail’s continued evolution. Johnson’s recipe for the Turf Club cocktail called for dry gin, dry vermouth, orange bitters, maraschino liqueur, and absinthe. This version closely resembled the one described in George Winter’s book, highlighting the enduring popularity of this cocktail.

It’s important to note that cocktail recipes in the late 19th and early 20th centuries often saw variations in proportions and ingredients. This allowed bartenders to put their unique spin on classic cocktails while still adhering to the basic principles of the drink.

The Turf Club cocktail soon found its place as a favorite drink among the elite of the time. It became a symbol of refined taste and social status, often enjoyed at exclusive clubs and upscale establishments, particularly those near racetracks and turf clubs. Its popularity grew as it became a staple at social events, from horse races to soirées, where its dry yet flavorful profile made it an ideal choice for discerning palates.

Notably, the Turf Club cocktail is often compared to the Tuxedo cocktail, another classic cocktail that shares some similarities. The similarities between these two cocktails are evident in their use of gin and vermouth, as well as the inclusion of complementary bitters or liqueurs. However, the Turf Club stands out for its cleaner, drier profile.

Over the decades, the Turf Club cocktail has experienced periods of both popularity and relative obscurity, mirroring the ebb and flow of cocktail trends. In recent years, the craft cocktail revival has breathed new life into this classic elixir, with bartenders and mixologists reimagining and elevating its recipe.

Today, the Turf Club cocktail continues to be a beloved classic, enjoyed by those who appreciate the artistry of mixology and the elegance of a well-balanced cocktail.

Turf Club Cocktail Recipe

  1. 60 ml London dry gin

  2. 22.5 ml dry vermouth

  3. 7.5 ml maraschino liqueur

  4. 2 dashes of orange bitters

  5. Ice

  6. 1 dash of absinthe, to rinse

  7. Garnish: lemon twist

the turf club cocktail

How to Make Turf Club Cocktail

  1. Rinse the inside of a coupe glass with a dash of absinthe and set aside.

  2. Add the dry gin, dry vermouth, maraschino liqueur, and orange bitters into a mixing glass.

  3. Add ice and stir until chilled.

  4. Strain the mix into the coupe glass.

  5. Garnish with a lemon twist.