Embassy Jubilee Cocktail

Paris dingo american bar

Dingo American Bar in Paris, 1920s

Cocktails, like jazz and baseball, might be an American invention, but let us not forget those who carried the torch of the well-made cocktail while we, under the shadow of Prohibition, re-distilled industrial alcohol and tried to cover the taste of bathtub gin with prune juice. We owe a debt of gratitude to the French and British bartenders who continued to serve up not only the delicious libations of pre-Prohibition America, but also creations of their own.


British-American bartender Harry Craddock mixes a drink at the Savoy Hotel in London in  1926.

This drink comes from the Café Royal Cocktail Book, published by the United Kingdom Bartenders’ Guild, using decidedly French ingredients.

Embassy Jubilee Cocktail

2 dashes Fleur d’Organger (Orange Flower Water)

2 dashes Benedictine

1 ½ oz  Dry Gin

1 ½ oz Lillet (Cocchi Americano)

Stir with ice until cold and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

A few notes on ingredients: While the current Lillet Blanc is a perfectly fine product, it ain’t what it used to be. This recipe would have been made with Kina Lillet, a bitter aperitif wine containing quinine. The recipe for this tonic wine was changed in the 1980s removing most, if not all, the cinchona bark flavoring. The result is a very slightly edgy wine more suited as a digestif than an appetite stimulator. To approximate the old (hopefully to someday return—are you listening, Lillet?) Kina Lillet, most people turn to the Italian-made Cocchi Americano, an excellent mixer and delightful aperitivo on its own.

Fleur d’oranger (which should not be confused with the perfume!) is a culinary orange flower water traditionally made in France by distilling orange blossoms. You probably won’t find it at your local supermarket, but specialty food stores might carry it and it is readily obtainable online.

So, here’s to all who kept the light on during America’s darkest period of cocktail history.

paris boule blanche

The Boule Blanche nightclub in Paris