The Commodore

commodore hotelOpened in 1919, the Commodore Hotel in New York was an impressive U-shaped building next to Grand Central Terminal. Apparently F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda were kicked out of the Commodore for rowdiness, and actress Lina Basquette danced on the roof. Dwight D. Eisenhower was there when he was elected president. However, the hotel hit hard times in the early 1970s and was bought by none other than Donald Trump in one of his first real estate development ventures. Zelda would not recognize the place. The original limestone facade is now gone, having been clad in reflective glass, and the interior was gutted and completely remodeled. Oh well, that’s progress, I guess….

This is another tough cocktail to track down. It does not show up in many books and there are two versions: one rum and the other whiskey. The whiskey version is little more than a whiskey sour, so we will skip it for now. We are going to look at the rum version from the Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book. Though we don’t know for sure, the drink was probably named for the old Commodore Hotel which was, in turn, named after Cornelius “Commodore” Vanderbilt. At least that is the story I going with (or should it be: the story with which I am going?). Whatever (or is it whichever?). 

The Commodore

commodore lina basquet

Lina Basquette on the roof of the Commodore

2 oz Rum

Half an egg white (one egg per two drinks)

½ tsp. Rich Simple Syrup (2:1)

½ tsp. Lemon Juice (fresh squeezed and strained)

½ tsp. Grenadine or Raspberry Syrup

Shake ingredients without ice to emulsify the egg, then add ice and shake normally. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

A gold rum works well here with the egg white melding the flavors nicely and adding a silky texture. The original recipe calls for both grenadine and raspberry syrup. That’s just overkill. Pick one and be done with it. I prefer grenadine so long as it is the real thing made from pomegranates and not “natural” flavors. If you are unfamiliar or nervous about using raw eggs in a drink see the post on the Clover Club and the section on how to mix drinks.

So let us raise our glasses to the glory days of the Commodore!

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