This day in 1889, theatrical impresario Richard D'Oyly Carte opened the doors of his brand new hotel in the heart of theatreland - The Savoy. With profits from his Gilbert and Sullivan opera productions he built this large, luxurious hotel in the American vein, complete with an American Bar, transforming the London landscape.
D'Oyly Carte hired a certain César Ritz as manager, who brought with him the chef Auguste Escoffier. They established a standard of hospitality and elegant dining that attracted the rich and royal alike. The hotel continued to hire the most talented staff (as it still does) with its American bar managed by the likes of Ada Coleman and Harry Craddock.
The American Bar has been and still is home to some of the world's great bartenders, as well as one of the world's classic cocktail books. We will be marking today with the splendidly classical Savoy Special, which appears, of course, in Harry Craddock's rightly celebrated 1930 cocktail compendium, The Savoy Cocktail Book. Alternatively, these are three most famous cocktails to emerge from the Savoy's American bar:
Or you may prefer one of the more contemporary cocktails demonstrated by former head bartender Erik Lorincz and his team in this video we shot at the Savoy's American Bar.