The Vanderbilt Cocktail

According to Erik Ellestad of “The Savoy Stomp” – yes, I’m not the first to come up with the idea of making an expansive number of drinks out of the Savoy Cocktail Book; Ellestad made them all in alphabetical order, replicating as best he could any ingredients no longer available, such as Hercules, although, unlike what you’ll get here, he offers no commentary on the drinks’ taste – anyway, according to Ellestad, the Vanderbilt was first requested by a lesser member of the Commodore‘s extended clan at a casino in Ostend, Belgium, said Vanderbilt later comprising one of the American casualties of the sinking of the Lusitania by a German U-boat during World War I. From there, it made its way into a 1922 cocktail guide, from which Craddock stole it for the Savoy.

The Recipe:

3/4 brandy (1 1/2 oz)

1/4 cherry brandy (1/2 oz) (Heering)

3 dashes simple syrup

2 dashes Angostura bitters

Shake with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass


A small drink, and a fairly sweet one, although not too sweet. It’s got a pretty good balance between the brandy (I used cognac) and the Heering, allowing the cherry flavors to shine through without becoming too syrupy sweet, as the Herring can do in too great of quantities. It probably doesn’t really need the sugar syrup at all. Katie liked this a lot more than I did, but she’d had a rough day at work, so that may have had something to do with it. I give it three livers, although let’s say it’s at the upper end of that range. Worth a shot. A cherry would probably work nicely in there as well.


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