Happy First Day of Spring! It’s a fortunate coincidence that today also happens to be a Monday Classics Day and the next cocktail in line in the New York boroughs series is the Queens cocktail. Really nothing more that a variation of the Perfect Martini recipe of the time with some pineapple juice thrown in, the Queens is certainly springlike enough for it to work as a celebratory cocktail for today too. The Queens originally appeared in the Savoy Cocktail Book, compiled by Harry Craddock who came to the U.S. from the U.K. during Prohibition, and joined the team at the American Bar in the Savoy Hotel in 1920. He quickly became one of New York’s most popular bartenders and when he published his book in 1930, it was readily accepted as the ultimate bartender’s reference guide.
Recipes for the Queens Cocktail are all over the place ranging from a version that has absinthe in it to several that have varying amounts of gin and pineapple juice. I decided to try it 3 different ways to see which variation I preferred, using Bluecoat gin for my base because it has that juicy, citrusy profile that I thought would work well here. I started with a recipe that had equal parts of each ingredient. Made this way, the cocktail simply did not have enough of a backbone for me, which made its ingredients seem muddled and indistinct. A second recipe that called for double the gin and equal parts of everything else, was certainly better but still not quite right. The final variation increased the pineapple juice and that was the one I preferred best. For the record, this is just a cocktail whose flavors are pleasant enough to make it drinkable, but just not anything that’s going to knock your socks off. Use the recipe as a base and take it in a direction that’s all your own. I know that I’m looking forward to creating a modern day riff on it for tomorrow’s post!
The Queens Cocktail
Combine all the ingredients in the bottom half of a cocktail shaker and add ice. Shake for about 20 seconds until cold. Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a pineapple wedge. Enjoy!