As part of my continuing adventure with the Savoy Cocktail Book, I discovered the Savoy Hotel Special Cocktail (No. 1) on page 142. As the number implies, there is also a Special Cocktail (No. 2). The primary ingredients in the two cocktails are the same; they vary only in what is dashed into them and the garnish. To get the recipe for No. 2, however, you will have to buy the book. This recipe is accompanied by a little footnote about how the ninth earl of Savoy brought 83 rich and beautiful French girls to England as his wards and married them to (one would hope) a similar number of nobles. Perhaps we live in more cynical times, but this story just does not ring true. The beautiful part sounds plausible, but I have trouble believing the number of girls and their wealth. Had the story attested to their virtue, I might have doubted that, too.
When I read this recipe, I thought this cocktail might be too much like a “not-quite-dry” martini, but the absinthe really made a difference. Be careful with the absinthe, though, too much will overpower the gin. I suggest that the better the gin, the smaller the dash of absinthe. Experiment until you get the right mix for the gin you’re using.
Savoy Hotel Special Cocktail (No. 1) (
1 oz Noilly Prat® dry vermouth
1 dash Absinthe
2 dashes grenadine
Combine ingredients with ice in a shaker. Shake while humming a few bars of “Stomping at the
Image detail from "Where there's smoke there's fire" by Russell Patterson, 192?, Library of Congress.