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ThinkingBartender

Turf Cocktail

15 posts in this topic

I just spotted this in someone elses copy of Robert Vermiere's "Coctails and

how to mix them", 1922.

Turf Cocktail

Fill the bar glass half full of broken ice and add:

2 dashes of Orange Bitters.

2 dashes dashes of Maraschino.

2 dashes of Absinthe.

1/4 gill of Plymouth Gin.

1/4 gill of French Vermouth.

Stir up well, strain into a cocktail-glass, add olive.

Note especially no squeezed lemon-peel on top.

(recipe by Harry Johnson, New Orleans).

Was this in Harry Johnson's 1882 edition or his 1900 edition?

And either way can it be counted as a Dry Martini, with Olive no less?

I don't recount this being discussed before, so I thought I would bring it up.

Cheers!

George

thinkingbartender[at]gmail.com

http://www.wiki.webtender.com/wiki/Turf_Cocktail

"I call everyone ’Darling' because I can't remember their names."

---Zsa Zsa Gabor


Edited by ThinkingBartender (log)

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Hi George,

This drink does appear in the 1900 edition of Harry's book. Unfortunately, I don't have an earlier edition to confirm if it appears there.

This drink sounds much more like the martini we know nowsdays than the Martini Cocktail in the book:

2 or 3 dashes of gum syrup

2 or 3 dashes of bitters (Boker's Genuine only)

1 dash of curacao or absinthe, if required

1/2 wineglass of old Tom gin

1/2 wineglass of vermouth

Stir up well with a spoon; strain into a fancy cocktail glass; put in a cherry or a medium sized olive, if required; and squeeze a piece of lemon on top and serve.

Cheers

J

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Its interesting that the Turf Cocktail is specified with French Vermouth (dry) and the Martini is just with Vermouth (sweet?).

The earliest Turf Club recipe I know is from the G. Winter Brewing Company's cocktail book from 1884; it calls for Old Tom gin and Italian vermouth (but then again, there's a rather confused 1882 newspaper article that says the drink is made with whiskey and vermouth).

The Turf Club, aka the "Tough Club," was a rather louche gambling club for New York blueblods that occupied the Jerome mansion, occupied much later by the Manhattan Club.


aka David Wondrich

There are, according to recent statistics, 147 female bartenders in the United States. In the United Kingdom the barmaid is a feature of the wayside inn, and is a young woman of intelligence and rare sagacity. --The Syracuse Standard, 1895

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Its interesting that the Turf Cocktail is specified with French Vermouth (dry) and the Martini is just with Vermouth (sweet?).

The Turf Club, aka the "Tough Club," was a rather louche gambling club for New York blueblods that occupied the Jerome mansion, occupied much later by the Manhattan Club.

Why would Harry Johnson make a cocktail, while working in New Orleans, for a Club in New York? Wouldn't he have been making a Turf Club cocktail for the Turf Club in New Orleans? if NOLA had a Turf Club. And by Turf I would assume it meant something to do with Horses and Jockeys.

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Its interesting that the Turf Cocktail is specified with French Vermouth (dry) and the Martini is just with Vermouth (sweet?).

The Turf Club, aka the "Tough Club," was a rather louche gambling club for New York blueblods that occupied the Jerome mansion, occupied much later by the Manhattan Club.

Why would Harry Johnson make a cocktail, while working in New Orleans, for a Club in New York? Wouldn't he have been making a Turf Club cocktail for the Turf Club in New Orleans? if NOLA had a Turf Club. And by Turf I would assume it meant something to do with Horses and Jockeys.

Harry Johnson was in New York from soon after the Chicago fire in the 1870s until he retired to Germany around 1901 or 1902. If he was in New Orleans, it was very early on.


aka David Wondrich

There are, according to recent statistics, 147 female bartenders in the United States. In the United Kingdom the barmaid is a feature of the wayside inn, and is a young woman of intelligence and rare sagacity. --The Syracuse Standard, 1895

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The Turf Club, aka the "Tough Club," was a rather louche gambling club for New York blueblods that occupied the Jerome mansion, occupied much later by the Manhattan Club.

Wait a minute. Isn't that the site of the building that A Voce is in? I've frequently ordered Manhattans at the bar there -- without having the slightest idea that I was at the site where that cocktail was invented!

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Wait a minute.  Isn't that the site of the building that A Voce is in?  I've frequently ordered Manhattans at the bar there -- without having the slightest idea that I was at the site where that cocktail was invented!

Make that "where that cocktail might have been invented. :wink: The jury is still out remember.

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Johnson attempted to start a bartenders union, in New Orleans, in 1875.

Huh. He can't have stayed there long.

Here's what he says about his life:

The profession...of mixing drinks was learned, by me, in San Francisco.... Leaving California, in 1868, I opened, in Chicago, what was generally recognized to be the largest and finest establishment of the kind in the country [generally by him that is--DW]. But the conflagration of 1871 caused me a loss of $100,000 and, financially ruined, I was compelled to start life anew.... Though later engaged in Boston, at a leading hotel, I soon returned to New York and was employed in one of the well-known hostelries until enabled to begin a business of my own, which has since been preeminently successful.

That hostelry was most likely the popular Little Jumbo on the Bowery, while the business of his own was probably his bartending school (I don't think he had ownership of the Little Jumbo, since it carried on without him just fine after he left in 1887.

But I'd be curious to see more on this New Orleans sojourn. The fact that he didn't mention it in his autobiographical notes suggests that its results were not all that he wished.


aka David Wondrich

There are, according to recent statistics, 147 female bartenders in the United States. In the United Kingdom the barmaid is a feature of the wayside inn, and is a young woman of intelligence and rare sagacity. --The Syracuse Standard, 1895

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The Turf Club, aka the "Tough Club," was a rather louche gambling club for New York blueblods that occupied the Jerome mansion, occupied much later by the Manhattan Club.

Wait a minute. Isn't that the site of the building that A Voce is in? I've frequently ordered Manhattans at the bar there -- without having the slightest idea that I was at the site where that cocktail was invented!

If A Voce is in that steel-and-glass monstrosity squatting at the southeast corner of Madison and 26th, indeed it is. But when the Manhattan was invented, the Manhattan Club was at 5th Ave and 15th Street--it didn't move into the Jerome mansion until the late 1890s, after a stint in the A.T. Stewart mansion on 34th, across from what is now the Empire State Building.


aka David Wondrich

There are, according to recent statistics, 147 female bartenders in the United States. In the United Kingdom the barmaid is a feature of the wayside inn, and is a young woman of intelligence and rare sagacity. --The Syracuse Standard, 1895

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Johnson attempted to start a bartenders union, in New Orleans, in 1875.

Huh. He can't have stayed there long.

But I'd be curious to see more on this New Orleans sojourn. The fact that he didn't mention it in his autobiographical notes suggests that its results were not all that he wished.

Here is what I have:

According to a October 2002 article in CLASS magazine, written by Theodora Sutcliffe:

In 1875, all too aware of the employment problems in his trade, he [Johnson] tried to start the first ever bartender's union in New Orleans. The project failed and he headed again for New York...

That lady does do her research, so I am sure it is reliable. Plus, I am sure I saw a Gary Regan reference to Harry Johnson being in Nawleans.

From what I have seen, Harry Johnson would have been a right nuisance on Wikipedia, especially on entries referring to himself. :laugh:

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Here is what I have:
According to a October 2002 article in CLASS magazine, written by Theodora Sutcliffe:

In 1875, all too aware of the employment problems in his trade, he [Johnson] tried to start the first ever bartender's union in New Orleans. The project failed and he headed again for New York...

That lady does do her research, so I am sure it is reliable. Plus, I am sure I saw a Gary Regan reference to Harry Johnson being in Nawleans.

Theodora is definitely a reliable source; I shall have to ask her.

Johnson himself claims that he won a bartending prize in New Orleans in 1869 against the best bartenders in America. (Has any other reference to this famous contest ever been found? Let's just say that not even the Police Gazette, which invariably covered such doings, mentions it.

In any case, the Turf Club cocktail in the G. Winter guide is far more likely to be from New York than from anywhere else, seeing as the company is from new york and the recipe appears right next to the Manhattan. Also, that 1882 newspaper article which mentions the whiskey-and-vermouth Turf Club cocktail is about doings in New York (note also that a drink made with sweet vermouth and a young whiskey and one made with sweet vermouth and Old Tom gin will not necessarily be easy to tell apart once you've added bitters, dashes of curacao, etc.).

From what I have seen, Harry Johnson would have been a right nuisance on Wikipedia, especially on entries referring to himself.  :laugh:

Christ, he'd have been a bloody nightmare! He once had the gall to claim that they didn't drink cocktails in New York until he introduced them in the 1870s. Right.


aka David Wondrich

There are, according to recent statistics, 147 female bartenders in the United States. In the United Kingdom the barmaid is a feature of the wayside inn, and is a young woman of intelligence and rare sagacity. --The Syracuse Standard, 1895

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Splificator,

So, other than printing 3 editions of his own book (privately printed), is there any definite proof that Harry Johnson ever stepped behind a bar? From what you say, everything we know of Johnson comes from him.

Could Harry Johnson have been a Walter Mitty character?

Cheers!

George


Edited by ThinkingBartender (log)

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See, this is the harm that excessive self-promotion causes. Harry Johnson was definitely a skilled and experienced bartender. His stint at the Little Jumbo was remembered fondly in later years by many a Bowery sport, and he even was hired by millionaires to teach their valets how to compound cocktails. If he had been content to list his very real accomplishments, without all the bombast and pugnaciousness, there would be no questions raised. "Keep it low to the ground," as Judge Hay used to tell the performer on the Grand Old Opry. Good advice.


aka David Wondrich

There are, according to recent statistics, 147 female bartenders in the United States. In the United Kingdom the barmaid is a feature of the wayside inn, and is a young woman of intelligence and rare sagacity. --The Syracuse Standard, 1895

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