Not only is the Florodora a personal favourite of mine, but it is also a contentious choice for this series of classic cocktails, as it isn’t hugely well known. Despite a lengthy history and sweet, crowd-pleasing flavours, it’s not often I spot it on a cocktail menu. So please read on and give this simple, delicious drink the chance to earn a place in your own mixology repertoire – your future party guests will definitely thank you if you do!
Why is it called a Florodora?
The Florodora has a relatively simple back story, having been named after a hugely successful Edwardian musical comedy of the same name. ‘Florodora’ by Owen Hall first debuted on the West End in 1899 and enjoyed an unusually long run of 445 performances, before transferring to Broadway in 1900 and running for a further 552 performances there. The show was extremely popular, not least thanks to its chorus line of ‘Florodora Girls’ – “a sextette of tall, gorgeous damsels, clad in pink walking costumes, black picture hats and carrying frilly parasols [who] swished onto the stage and captivated New York for no other reason than they were utterly stunning.”
The origin story of the cocktail is that one of the aforementioned ‘gorgeous damsels’ of the Florodora chorus line asked a bartender at an after-show party to come up with a new drink, which he dutifully did. The Florodora was a hit and enjoyed widespread popularity in the highbrow bars of New York for at least half a century. Since then, it has enjoyed a quieter fame and is sometimes spotted under a different spelling too, as the Floradora.
How do you make a Florodora?
The oldest known print version of this refreshing, cooler-style drink’s recipe appears in Jack’s Manual (1933) by J A Grohusko, and the ratios haven’t changed that much since then. There is some debate over whether raspberry syrup or raspberry liqueur should be used – for us, it’s definitely the latter. Our Bramley & Gage Raspberry Gin Liqueur delivers all the fresh, bright flavour of fresh fruit, without too much additional sweetness, as you might find with a syrup, and blends exceptionally well when shaken into a cocktail.
To make one serving of the drink, add 50ml of our strikingly smooth 6 O’clock Gin London Dry with 20ml Bramley & Gage Raspberry Gin Liqueur and 20ml of lime juice to a highball glass filled with plenty of ice and stir. Top with enough ginger ale to fill the glass (around 100-150ml) and garnish with a wheel of lime and a fresh raspberry or two.
If you’re entertaining guests, this cocktail is very adaptable to being served ‘pitcher-style’, much like the English Garden. Simply multiply the above quantities by the number of guests you have, briefly mixing the gin, liqueur and lime juice down in a large jug with plenty of ice, before topping with the ginger ale and a scattering of fresh raspberries and lime wheels to garnish.
In my humble opinion, this cocktail has everything you’d want in a refreshing, cooler style drink – the sweetness of fresh raspberries, offset by the zesty tang of lime and subtle spice from the ginger ale and, above all else, gin – cheers!
W. A. Swanberg, Citizen Hearst: A Biography of William Randolph Hearst, Scribner (1961), p. 225