Florodora (the musical) features disguises, intrigue, and complicated silliness. But don’t worry. With this cocktail, you’ll never lose the plot. It’s a delightful combo of gin, raspberry liqueur, lime juice, and ginger beer. Which makes it a nice slow sipper with perky flavor.
And that’s no song and dance.
Recipe: The Floradora Cocktail
The musical comedy Florodora opened in London in 1899, where it became very popular. A year later, it opened on Broadway in New York City, becoming even more popular. It also started a successful run in Australia around the same time. More history in the Notes.
Now let’s talk about the drink. It’s basically a gin and raspberry liqueur version of a Dark and Stormy Cocktail. The flavor is terrific, and it’s become one of our favorite warm-weather drinks.
Our recipe comes from cocktail historian extraordinaire David Wondrich.
This drink takes about 5 minutes to prepare and serves 1.
- 2 ounces dry gin (see Notes)
- ½ ounce Chambord liqueur (may substitute raspberry syrup; see Notes)
- ½ ounce fresh-squeezed lime juice
- 2 to 3 ounces ginger beer (may substitute ginger ale; but see Notes)
- garnish of fresh raspberries (optional)
- Add the gin, Chambord, and lime juice to a cocktail shaker half filled with ice. Shake briskly until the contents are well chilled (20 seconds or so).
- Strain into a highball glass (8 to 10 ounces) filled with ice cubes. Top up the glass with ginger beer. Garnish (if you wish) with raspberries. Serve and enjoy.
- We’ve seen several versions of this drink with differing ratios of ingredients. In particular, many versions call for a 2:1 ratio of gin to lime juice. Much as we like lime juice in drinks, we prefer a 4:1 ratio. But feel free to experiment.
- Many versions of this drink specify raspberry simple syrup. We think Chambord has better flavor – and makes for a less sweet drink.
- But if you prefer to use raspberry simple syrup, it’s easy to make your own: Use 2 parts sugar to 1 part water to 1 part raspberries (fresh or frozen). For example, place 1 cup sugar in a saucepan and add ½ cup water. Heat until the sugar is dissolved. Add ½ cup raspberries. Stir with a wooden spoon until the raspberries form a pulp. Simmer for several minutes, then remove the pan from the heat and let it cool. Pour the mixture through a strainer, pressing lightly with a spoon to extract the raspberry juice (but don’t press too hard, otherwise the mixture could turn cloudy). Discard the raspberry detritus. Pour the liquid into a lidded bottle and refrigerate. Raspberry simple syrup will keep in the refrigerator for at least a couple of weeks.
- We like to use ginger beer in this drink, but you can substitute ginger ale. Do note that in the US, ginger ale often is somewhat sweeter than ginger beer.
- We often skip the raspberry garnish for this drink, but it is a nice look.
- You can use any name-brand dry gin for this drink. Beefeaters and Tanqueray are our two favorites, although the Bombay brand is also popular (and quite good). Those three are available almost everywhere, but there are loads more good labels out there.
- Our usual disclaimer: We’re noncommercial and do not benefit from mentioning brands. We recommend only what we use and like (and buy with our own money).
- So what’s the backstory on this drink? As noted above, it was named after the musical comedy, Florodora. In the play, Florodora is a small island in the Philippines, and also the name of a perfume (manufactured from the florodora flower). The plot revolves around who is the rightful owner of the perfume business (and the marriage prospects of several characters). There is plenty of song and dance, and audiences of the day were much taken with the play’s six very beautiful young chorines, popularly dubbed the Florodora Sextet.
- The play – or more likely the sextet – inspired the namesake cocktail, now commonly spelled Floradora (probably because no native speaker of English can spell competently).
- Who developed this drink? We don’t know. Nor are we sure which New York bar originated it, though we’ve read that it was quite popular at the original Waldorf-Astoria.
“Love me a Dark ‘n Stormy, so you know I can’t resist this drink,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “Terrific flavor, outstanding color.”
“Nice floral fragrance to this one,” I said. “Glad you find it iris-istible.”
“Was that a flower joke?” said Mrs K R. “I’m afraid it’s wilted.”
“I was so sure you’d lilac it,” I said.
“Now you’re pollen my chain,” said Mrs K R.
“Well, I was going to offer a peony for your thoughts,” I said. “But I don’t want to violet your privacy.”
“Enough!” said Mrs K R. “Where’s the weedwacker?”
Better stop before this gets thorny.
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