I never gave the Old Waldorf-Astoria more than a glance after it came with a shipment of other cocktail and cook books nearly a year ago. Boy what a mistake that was. I dug it out the other day, remembering it included more than a handful of gin-laden cocktails. To my surprise, every drink I’ve crafted from the book has been delicious.

I started off with a cocktail named the Creole. It’s amber surface is spun into a glistening star courtesy of the absinthe, but it doesn’t stick around long enough to admire.


  • 3 dashes orange bitters (good with both Regan’s and Fees)
  • 1 1/2oz absinthe (used Henri Bardouin)
  • 1 1/2oz sweet vermouth (used Vya)

Stir with crushed ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book, A. S. Crockett

The simple balance of just three ingredients is astonishing. The licorice punch of the absinthe is muted slightly by the richness of vermouth, and the orange bitters provide an extra touch of welcomed complexity. A fine drink, and one that goes down a bit too easily if you ask me.

Here a couple of other receipts that I’ve enjoyed from the Waldorf:


  • 1oz lime juice
  • 1t maraschino liqueur (used Luxardo)
  • 1oz sweet vermouth (used Vya)
  • 1oz Tom gin (used Plymouth with a couple drops of simple syrup)

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book, A. S. Crockett


  • 3/4oz Fernet Branca
  • 3/4oz sweet vermouth
  • 1 1/2oz whiskey (used Bulleit Bourbon)

Stir with crushed ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book, A. S. Crockett

KP Questions

  1. What are your favorite recipes from the Waldorf guide?
  2. For those of us who are stuck in states where absinthe won’t be available until 2050 (or those that can’t shell out for shipping overseas), what substitutes are your favorite?

8 Responses to “Creole”

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8 Comments to “ Creole”
  1. AnitaNo Gravatar says:

    As you recently discovered, we wrote about the Ampersand from the OWABB a little while back: http://marriedwithdinner.com/2007/11/30/dotw-ampersand/
    That’s probably our favorite so far.

    As for absinthe substitutes, we used Herbsaint and Pernod about equally, depending on the recipe, before we got our hands on the real stuff. I bought our bottle of Lucid mail order (with free shipping, as I recall) from http://www.drinkupny.com. Not sure what the legalities are of shipping it to you, as I’m not entirely sure precisely where the Penguinstad is located… Blackwell’s here in our fair City has been known to ship bottles for me to family and friends; they should have the St. George absinthe back in stock toward the end of the month. Contact info at http://blackwellswines.com/ (if you call, ask for Gary and tell him Cameron and I sent you.)

  2. Beautiful picture, Rick! I love how the cocktail looks like the iris of a human eye with the lights of what appears to be a holiday tree in the background!

    Probably there is some clever Lord of the Rings pun that is eluding me at this moment…

  3. OuroborosNo Gravatar says:

    Nice selection; I’m interested in trying these myself this week. And it answers one of my friend’s suggestion that bourbon and Fernet Branca might pair well.

    On the topic of absinthe substitutes, I like Herbsaint or Ricard for mixing and Absente for sipping. Pernod is so aggressively sweet.

  4. RickNo Gravatar says:

    Ouroboros, I’ve actually not tried Ricard, and surprisingly, I can easily get it at my local store. What does it best compare to?

    Anita, Thanks for the link. It has, perhaps, led to me getting a sample bottle of Death’s Door gin :) I’m surprised you interchange Pernod and Herbsaint; they taste so different!

    Erik, Iris! That’s it. Thanks for the kind words.

  5. The Creole sounds divine. I can’t wait to try it.

  6. In regards the Creole, oddly, the Creole Cocktail is usually equal parts rye and sweet vermouth with dashes of Benedictine and Amer Picon.

    Very nice!

    1/2 Sweet Vermouth and 1/2 Absinthe sounds like a recipe for trouble!

  7. Hey – Love the drinks. You’re inspiring me to break out my Savoy book! I also have a zillion great cocktail books but rarely break go through the fab old recipes. Happy New Year, Mr. Penguin!

  8. OuroborosNo Gravatar says:

    I find that the Ricard avoids a measure of the cloying sweetness of Pernod, although it is still sweet. It also has a little more thyme or other shrub-like flavors than Pernod or Herbsaint.

    From a cooking perspective, I find that Ricard is the best anisette to go with garlic –I’ve a salad dressing that takes a healthy shot of Ricard into some olive oil in which chopped garlic has been sauteed. It’s nice over a salad with avocados.

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Kaiser Penguin is a cocktail blog featuring original recipes, homemade ingredients, classic cocktails, and tiki drinks.

Why on Earth did you name your blog “Kaiser Penguin?”

It is a well-known fact that penguins are members of high society and enjoy fine cocktails. Our very own kaiser penguin would like me to mention that he also enjoys various treats from the sea.

Contact: rick@kaiserpenguin.com