It’s no secret that Frank Sinatra was partial to a tipple or three. Put it this way: those drinks he shared on stage with Dean, Sammy and co. during The Rat Pack days weren’t there as props…
That said, he was a discerning drinker. “We’d be told he was coming to the bar and we’d be given his order ahead of his arrival,” says Victor Gower who worked at The American Bar at The Savoy, first as a waiter then as head bartender from 1946 to 1985. “Frank was a regular guest. Whenever he was in London he’d stay at The Savoy and come for a drink in The American Bar,” Gower recalls. “But he never spoke directly to us. He’d either stand at the bar or take a table in the middle of the room for him and his guests. Where he positioned himself might change but he was always very particular about his choice of drinks. He’d go for a classic Martini – Beefeater gin with a shadow of vermouth, served on the rocks with a twist of lemon. And we had to make sure his glass was filled with ice.”
Peter Dorelli also made drinks for Sinatra during his tenure as head bartender at The American Bar. “He liked things to be just-so. He’d have the same room on the fifth floor of the hotel, the same waiter at the bar and the same drinks. I remember his Martini had to be very dry and very, very cold – the temperature of his Martini was very important. So was the amount of liquid in his glass. If one small detail was wrong, everyone would know about it.”
Those exacting standards extended to Ol’ Blue Eyes’ choice of whiskey. “Always Jack Daniel’s on ice,” Gower says. Frank loved Jack and Jack loved Frank. Their union lasted longer than most marriages, Frank’s included – over 50 years in total. In fact, Sinatra, or ‘The Bourbon Baritone’ as he’s been dubbed, was buried with a bottle of his beloved JD slipped into his pocket.
No wonder Jack Daniel’s have gone all out with its latest release, Sinatra Select. At £150 a bottle, it ain’t cheap. But if like Frank you’re a diehard JD fan, it’s definitely one to add to your collection. It’s bolder, richer and smoother than anything else in the portfolio, add to that a seriously kick-ass character and you’ve got Frank in liquid form. Try it his way, neat over ice – he certainly knew his stuff.
Available from The Whisky Exchange www.thewhiskyexchange.com and The Whisky Shop www.thewhiskyshop.com. For more details see www.jackdaniels.com
The Cocktail Lovers say…
Not only did we get to taste Sinatra Select at the UK launch earlier this week, we were treated to an intimate set by Frank Sinatra Junior. FSJ sang three songs at the sumptuous Beaufort Bar at The Savoy – on the very same stage his father had once performed no less. Do the next best thing and check out the Frank Sinatra and Jack Daniel’s memorabilia showcased in The Savoy Museum, in the lobby of The American Bar until 14th November.
This week we’re loving…
Keeping with the Frank/Savoy theme our cocktail of the week is ‘Ol’ Blue Eyes’, on the menu at the Beaufort Bar. It’s a sensational drink (Jack Daniel’s Savoy Silver Select, Cocchi Americano, Benedictine, Dry Curacao and orange bitters), and comes in a 1950s whisky tumbler presented on a rare Frank Sinatra 7” vinyl record. Frank would have most definitely approved.
The Beaufort and The American Bars at The Savoy, Strand, London WC2R 0EU. www.fairmont.com
As featured on The Independent, Dish of the Day blog 18/10/2013
According to Tony Consiglio, who traveled with Frank Sinatra for many of the early years, Frank had the curious habit of stirring his drink with his index finger until the ice melted. Tony tells many interesting stories about life on the road with Frank in the book Sinatra and Me, co-written with Franz Douskey.