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The Bronx Cocktail A Gold Medal Recipe

A waitress is carrying a try filled with cocktails to awaiting patrons.
A waitress is carrying a try filled with cocktails to awaiting patrons.
Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

If the Olympic games adoration were based on drinks, then a gold medal would be presented to the historical 1900s “Bronx Cocktail”, for being one of the oldest and favored mix refreshments that is still knocking around in the 21st century. Of course, we would have plenty of cheerful judges stumbling about and perhaps a little brawling to add some extra excitement on national TV, it is good to keep the ratings up but none-the-less it would be a sheer winner.

Unfortunately, the Olympics’ tournament is not as strenuous as bending the elbow and swigging a drink during the games (oh chucks), but let it not stop us from having a drink before, during, and after the games, indeed. The ageless cocktail was created during the women’s equal rights movement, and it was the hey days of dapper gents wearing black bow ties, white shirts, music and smoked filled rooms. A dress code that was infamous among the aristocrats of the1900s.

The Bronx mix was known to be a wonderfully refreshing cocktail created in Philadelphia. A fascination of its effect took a hold of Joseph S. Sormani a restaurant owner from New York’s Bronx borough that whisked up the cocktail and took the recipe home. Could Mr. Sormani be the grandfather of the drink, since he brought it from Philadelphia to a New York borough, and cleverly naming it “Bronx Cocktail”?

There is a handful of scholars that have differ their opinion as to who the actual cocktail mixer founder really was, after coming across unquestionable evidence that the “Bronx Cocktail” was designed by a bar mixer named “Johnnie Solon” whose passion was shaking up drinks and juggling the shaker as if he were on stage. He felt it was a hip to add the name “Bronx” to the mix. Especially, after overhearing some patrons mention: “That the drink was potent it made them see wild animals”. Which reminded him of his visit too the Bronx Zoo, and tossing popcorn at the zany animals cages, bringing back unforgettable laughter, the name seemed quite fitting.

He introduced the concoction as the “Bronx Cocktail” to the regulars seeking a crazy-time at the Empire Room, inside the old New York Waldorf-Astoria Hotel that was located on the corner of 5th Avenue with its beautifully polished mahogany doors entrance facing 34th street.

The Bronx Cocktail managed outlasting “Prohibition” (the law prohibiting the consumption of liquor in the 1900s), which ended 1933. The freshly hand squeezed orange juice liquor beverage shaken and slowly poured and a sheath of ice floating on top. It was high in demand then, as it is now, and the cocktail mix has not changed through the hands of time.

The 1900’s original recipe:

• 4 Parts of Gin

• 1 Part of Orange juice (freshly squeezed)

• 1 Part of Italian Vermouth

• 1 Orange wedge

The new and improved (maybe?):

• 1 1/2oz. Of Gin or Vodka (Original the ingredient was Gin)

• 1/2oz. Of Sweet Vermouth

• 1/2oz. Of Dry Vermouth 

• 2oz. Of Orange Juice

• Splash of Angostura Bitters

• 1 Orange wedge

Place the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice (crushed if you prefer), and shake. Pour into a wide rim cocktail glass add orange zest, and an orange wedge set on the rim of the glass. If you crushed the ice it will float to the surface, for color you can add dash of sherry.

I have shaken, and stirred, with crushed ice, added cherries, and orange zest. However, you have to be the judge as how you would like it.

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