Right I think that's Erik's point: Italian vermouth is normally understood as red/sweet, which not the orthodoxy for the Old Pal.
I got that, I was responding to the spelling. Anyways, the 1922 Old Pal recipe pre-dates this mention and specifies dry vermouth. Whether there's something older that contradicts this, and goes back closer to 1878 (as alluded to in Barflies & Cocktails)
has yet to ascertained however let's say for argument's sake it did (and I'm beginning to think there may be something in this)
it would make sense the Old Pal first called for sweet vermouth and later evolved to dry vermouth similar to drinks such as the Martini and Martinez
Some key dates worth considering to fit the pieces together;1878
- Old Pal alleged to have been created by Sparrow Robertson at the Old Powderhall Foot Races (see 1927)1887
- New York Herald in Paris founded on 4th October1890
- Harry MacElhone born in Dundee, Scotland1911
- Harry MacElhone opens Harry's New York Bar in Paris1921
- William Harrison "Sparrow"
Robertson joins the NY Herald in Paris1922
- Oldest known recorded recipe for the Old Pal found in Harry's ABC of Mixing Cocktails
along with this line, "The drink was created by "Sparrow" Robertson, the Sporting Editor of the New York Herald in Paris."1923
- MacElhone takes over ownership of Harry's New York Bar1927
- Barflies & Cocktails attributes the drink to the same "Sparrow"
Robertson with the following description, "I remember way back in 1878, on the 30th of February to be exact, when the Writer was discussing this subject with my old pal "Sparrow" Robertson and he said to yours truly, "get away with that stuff, my old pal, here's the drink I invented when I fired the pistol the first time at the old Powderhall foot races and you can't go wrong if you put a bet down on 1/3 Canadian Club, 1/3 Eyetalian vermouth, and 1/3 Campari." and then he told the Writer that he would dedicate this cocktail to me and call it, My Old Pal."
Anything and everything I've found relating to a Powderhall foot race which dates back to 1870 (now known as the New Year Sprint)
relates to a yearly event held in Edinburgh. Taking into account that Campari hadn't made the US in 1878, that this Sparrow chap seems to have been fairly prevalent when it comes to athletics, and given his stature in the sport, would it be right to assume Sparrow a guest at the 1878 race in Edinburgh and that's where it was created? Or was there a similarly named race elsewhere. Must look into this...I also found this line interesting
- "Everyone from Hemingway to The Prince of Wales was "My Old Pal" to Sparrow."
Edited by evo-lution, 08 May 2012 - 08:43 AM.