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Cocktail stories: Dorchester 2.0

A mellow twist on the classic 1930s serve, the Dorchester 2.0 is a much-loved cocktail at London’s eponymous hotel.

Dorchester-2.0 Cocktail stories
The Dorchester 2.0 is a more ‘mellow’ take on the classic 1930s tipple

By Alice Brooker

*This feature was originally published in the December 2021 issue of The Spirits Business magazine.

The Dorchester 2.0 is a twist on the classic cocktail The Dorchester, which was created by the London venue’s acclaimed bartender, Harry Craddock, in the 1930s. The original was crafted with Forbidden Fruit, a pre-Prohibition liqueur that calls for pomelo fruit, brandy and honey.

In November 2021, Giuliano Morandin celebrated 40 years as bar manager at The Bar at The Dorchester, and is responsible for mellowing the classic serve.

“We found a lot of people ordering the original would say ‘it’s too strong’, even though they liked it,” he explains.

“It’s different from the original in the sense that it’s shaken, and we adapted the ratio slightly. So, the ingredients are all still there, but we had to change it.”

Morandin’s discovery of the cocktail is an interesting one – he came across the concoction in a book published in 1952, consisting of cocktails from “famous places all over the world”.

“We didn’t know this, we just bought the book because we liked the idea of it. On page 87, there it was: The Dorchester by Harry Craddock,” he says.

As a result, the cocktail found itself on The Bar’s menu almost a century later. However, guests will be lucky to read its name on the drinks list now, as it no longer features at The Bar. All the same, Morandin is more than happy to serve it.

“If guests came in and asked for the drink, we’d be more than happy and able to do it – all the ingredients are here,” he notes.

“We would say ‘would you like the original, or our version?’ I like them both.

“The original one has got a big kick, whereas the second one is very fresh – it’s got fresh grapefruit juice in it, which mellows it down.”

Last century, drinkers preferred a more “short, sharp” beverage, according to Morandin. But now, the modern palate opts for something more light and fruity, he says.

The Dorchester 2.0

The Dorchester bar manager: Giuliano Morandin

15ml Tanqueray No. Ten Gin

15ml Bacardi Carta Blanca

30ml Forbidden Fruit liqueur*

20ml Freshly squeezed grapefruit juice

2 dashes of Boker’s Bitters

* Recreated by the team at The Bar at The Dorchester, with flavours of Cognac, honey and pomelo.


Add all of the ingredients into a cocktail shaker. Fill the shaker with ice and give it a good, hard shake for about 15 seconds or until frost starts to form on the outside of the shaker. Open the shaker and double strain the cocktail through a fine strainer into a Martini glass and garnish with a lemon twist.

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