The Yale cocktail (a tribute to Yale University in New Haven, CT) has probably been served most at Manhattan’s Yale Club, on Vanderbilt Avenue just opposite Grand Central Terminal. The Yale Club of New York City began in 1897 and the Yale cocktail is cited in print from 1892, so the cocktail did not originate there. It is probable, however, that the Yale cocktail did originate in New York City, where many Yale students, graduates and professors entertain.
The modern Yale cocktail contains dry vermouth, gin, blue curaçao and bitters. The Yale cocktail of the early 1900s contained French vermouth, gin and Creme d’Yvette (an ingredient no longer available).
Yale Club of New York City—History
The Yale Club of New York City has provided its members an intimate oasis in the heart of Manhattan since 1897. Our 22-story clubhouse and 11,000 members make the Yale Club of New York City one of the preeminent city clubs in the world. A recently completed $10 million capital improvement program combines modern amenities such as wireless Internet service in guestrooms and contemporary gourmet dining with the tradition and understated elegance of our historic clubhouse.
Originally located at 17 Madison Square and then 30 West 44th, the Yale Club’s current clubhouse on Vanderbilt Avenue opened in 1915. Hailed for its dignified neoclassical design, upon opening the building became the largest clubhouse in the world and continues to be the largest college clubhouse in the world. During the past century, members of the Yale Club have included leaders in government, business and the arts.
The 22-story clubhouse includes 138 gracious guestrooms, three restaurants, including the elegant Roof Dining Room, modern athletic equipment and banquet and catering facilities for up to 200 people. The Yale Club offers an exclusive atmosphere and is committed to providing members with extraordinary service and personal attention. Recognized as a Platinum Club of America, the Club is proud to provide exceptional amenities and services to our members and their families.
1/2 oz Dry Vermouth
1 1/2 oz Gin
1 tsp Blue Curacao
1 dash Bitters
Stir all ingredients with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and serve.
18 September 1892, New York (NY) Herald, “Appetizing Drinks,” pg. 14, col. 6:
Mr. William Henry Dugay, or “Billy,” as he is known to his intimates, has been one of the “star” bartenders of the Hoffman House for about ten years, and yesterday he let a HERALD reporter into the secret if the great success attending some of his choicest mixtures.
Another “bracer” which William highly recommends for morning absorption is the Yale cocktail, which is composed of three dashes of orange bitters, wine glass of Holland gin and a squirt of seltzer, all stirred in ice. This is much admired by what is termed “regular drinkers,” as it makes a very dry cocktail.
Modern American Drinks:
How to Mix and Serve All Kinds of Cups and Drinks
By George J. Kappeler
New York, NY: Merriam Company
1895 (Google Books edition is 1900—ed.)
Fill a mixing-glass half-full fine ice, three dashes orange bitters, one dash Peyschaud bitters, a piece lemon-peel, one jigger Tom gin. Mix, strain into cocktail-glass; add a squirt of siphon seltzer.
Louis’ Mixed Drinks
With Hints for the Care & Serving of Wines
by Louis Muckensturm
Boston, MA: H. M. Caldwell Co.
Take one liqueur-glass of Creme d’Yvette,
Two liqueur-glasses of dry gin, and
One dash of Maraschino.
Fill the mixing-glass with ice; stir well and strain into a cocktail-glass. Serve with a pitted olive, or three blueberries on a toothpick.
The Drinks of Yesteryear: A Mixology
Being the 200 Authentic Favorite Formulas of a Pre-Volstead “Wine Clerk” Who Smilingly Served
ALL MEN and YALE MEN and ALL THEIR GOODLY COMPANY Whatsoever “Little Hearts Desire”
Indexed with Foreword of Fond Recollections General Instructions and Allusional Headnotes to Individual Recipes
By Jere Sullivan
Known to Yale Men Everywhere.
1/3 French Vermouth
1/3 Creme de Yvette
Shake and strain into a cocktail glass
Tasty-Ass Drinks of the Ivy League
by Hal Parker | September 28, 2007 at 8:37 pm
Despite the fact that we spend hours and hours obsessively scanning obscure publications like Inside Higher Education and painfully low-quality dailies like The Daily Princetonian for any mention of the Ivy League which could supply us with a post, no matter how tenuous or irrelevant (thanks, Chris and Nick—you guys are the best), somehow we missed this incredible article which ran in the WSJ about a month ago.
Imagine that: Yale a parody of itself. The problem with the Yale Cocktail, opines the author in vaguely racist undertones, is that its once signature constituent, Crème Yvette, an exotic, expensive European liqueur “flavored with violet petals, vanilla, and spices,” has been replaced by blue curacao. The Yale Cocktail has lost its “subtle taste and elegant dignity (a status impossible for any drink that relies on blue curaçao).” Yeah, we know what you really mean.
In a League of Their Own:
The Ivy League, That Is
By ERIC FELTEN
September 8, 2007; Page P5
Cocktail books of the ‘30s and ‘40s record many variations on the Yale theme. There’s a Yale Cocktail made of gin, orange bitters and Angostura. There’s one that calls for gin, dry vermouth, orange bitters and a dash of the sweet, colorless cherry liqueur called Maraschino; another uses sweet Old Tom gin and sweet vermouth. But go to the Yale Club in New York these days and ask for a Yale Cocktail and you will get a drink of gin, dry vermouth and (in honor of the university’s colors) blue curaçao.
I’m not a fan of curaçao that is blue—an unnatural hue for an orange liqueur. And as it turns out, the blue curaçao is just an unfortunate substitute for a long-defunct ingredient. The bluish Yale Cocktail once got its color from Crème Yvette, a liqueur flavored with violet petals, vanilla and spices. Happily, there is at last an acceptable substitute. Among the Austrian liqueurs being imported by Haus Alpenz is a crème de violette that restores the Yale Cocktail to a place of subtle taste and elegant dignity (a status impossible for any drink that relies on blue curaçao). Let’s hope they lay in a bottle at the Yale Club.