The Café Royal was founded as the Café Restaurant Nicols in the late 1860′s, by French fugitive Daniel Nicols Thevenon. The immediate years that followed were drenched in the clichéd blood, sweat and tears, the result of which allowed Nicols to pay off all creditiors. By the 1890′s, Nicols changed the name of the Café, following a sugestion from his son in law to the infamous Café Royal.
By the time Nicols died in 1897, his “little Café” was synonymous with quality food, an unparalleled selection of fine wines and was without doubt the place to be and be seen.
The Café Royal Cocktail Book was published in 1937 and is certainly a magical collection of mixed drinks. Something that took me by surprise was the number of tequila drinks mentioned in the book. Bear in mind, this book was published in 1937, when tequila was by no means a booming category. The fact that the bartenders of this great former establishment used tequila so frequently is a testimony to their daring creativity and their ability to embrace what to many was new and even unknown.
Paging through the book, I counted no less than 15 tequila based drinks including some very interesting surprises, all of which are mentioned below:
(please click on the drink to view its recipe. Everything mentioned in italics is as it appears in the book, everything else is my commentary)
Take a good look at the Picador and I think you’ll find it looks very much like a Margarita.
This of course begs the question as to which came first, the Margarita or the Picador?
Is it possible that the Margarita was actually created in London?
A great variation on the Picador is the Toreador, which substitutes Apricot Brandy for Cointreau.
I trust you’ll enjoy…