The Biltong Dry Cocktail. The reboot of a South African classic.


The Biltong Dry Cocktail was set to become a South African classic when it first appeared in the Savoy Cocktail Book of 1930. A decade before the cocktail made it to the pages of his book, head bartender at the famous Savoy Hotel in London, Harry Craddock, was mixing numerous South African inspired cocktails.

The Savoy Hotel

Complete with air-conditioning, electric lights and a telephone in each room, The Savoy became Britain’s first luxury hotel when it opened its door on 6 August 1889. Thirty years later Harry Craddock was appointed as head bartender at the hotel’s bar, The American Bar.

Harry Craddock The Biltong Dry Cocktail. The reboot of a South African classic.

Harry Craddock mixes a drink at the Savoy Hotel in London in 1926.

It’s here where Craddock’s Biltong Dry, as well as a variety of other creations like The Capetown and Cape Cocktail were created, all based around an uniquely South African Vermouth-like spirits called Caperitif.

Caperitif

State owned distilleries in South Africa produced the fynbos infused beverage until political turmoil, as well as an influx in beer consumption stifled its production in the late fifties. By 1960, Caperitif completely vanished from all bar counters. Like a virgin on prom night, it was gone and with it, so was The Biltong Dry.

For more than 50 years these uniquely South Africa cocktails were relegated to the history books until a Danish mixologist and a bearded winemaker from the Swarland set out to recreate the “ghost ingredient” called Caperitif. By 2015 the duo reintroduced the world to Caperitif with their Kaapse Dief Caperitif and in the process opened a portal back to this South Africa classic.

The Biltong Dry

Ingredients

  • 1 Dash Orange Bitters.
  • 1/4 Sweet Vermouth (Dubonnet Rouge)
  • 1/4 Gin.
  • 1/2 Caperitif.

Instructions

  • Shake well and strain in a cocktail glass

No animals were harmed or died in the making of this cocktail.