Tuesday, May 19, 2009
What to Do With the Astoria
I was at Dutch Kills, Sasha Petraske's new joint in Long Island City, Queens, where they feature various Queens-themed drinks, including the Astoria, which was invented back in the 1930s.
"Yeah," I said to the bartender, "basically a Martini with orange bitters, right?" (More like it than you might think. Some experts think the original Martini sported orange bitters, actually.)
"Except we do ours 1 to 1, gin to dry vermouth," he replied.
Oh, I thought. Interesting. Might give me a reason to order it. Some other time. But I had to run that night.
Later, I went home and thought of mixing up an Astoria for myself.
I first looked in Harry McElhone's "Barflies and Cocktails." It was there, but asked for 2/3 gin and 1/3 dry vermouth. Hm. The Savoy Cocktail Book asked for the same ratio. So I looked in the Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book. It asked for the opposite: 2/3 dry vermouth and 1/3 gin. Old Tom gin, actually. What the heck? Is Dutch Kills just trying to split the difference between warring recipes with their 50/50 mix?
Anyway, I mixed one up according to the DK formula, using Dolin vermouth and Beefeater. Not bad. Not great. All said and done, I'd rather have a Martini. Which I sorta did. But not quite.