Open for almost a century, the place is an old-fashioned, wood-paneled deal with a gorgeous tin ceiling and knick-knacks dating back to its glory days. It reminded me a lot of the Hemingway Bar, only tremendously less expensive. Fittingly, Harry's was one of Hem's stomping grounds-- I'm never very far from him here *sigh.*
Another of Harry's claims to fame is the invention of the Bloody Mary. Now, a lot of bars claim to be the place where the delicious concoction was invented, so who knows what is really true, but Harry's story is that the head bartender threw it together in 1920 as a way to help the regulars get over their hangovers from the night before. Judging by the way Hem and his crew drank, I'm not surprised by the need for a Cure. Jon and I decided to try one for ourselves to see how "The Original" held up to others.
Combined with a chien chaud (or two), I'd say not bad. A little too much Worcestershire for my taste, but by far the only decent Bloody I've found this side of the Atlantic.
But, it was obvious by the sheer volume of whiskey bottles covering the walls on both sides of the bar that one should not pretend to visit Harry's without sampling some of the golden drop. There was a whole shelf dedicated just to bourbon-- how could I resist? We ordered a Maker's Mark Old-Fashioned next. Wowsers!!!
This led, of course, to a long chat with the bartender, Gerard, about jazz and whisky (he let us taste a 30 year) and an afternoon in dire need of nap time. We didn't leave, however, before writing down the recipe for the Old-Fashioned and making sure the University of Florida was represented amongst the many pennants decorating the walls and ceiling of the bar. Mission accomplished on all fronts, although I think I should bring Harry's an updated UF flag...
In an old-fashioned glass, add:
- 1 sugar cube
- 1 dash Angostura Bitters
- 1 Maraschino cherry
Add ice and fill the glass 3/4 full with whiskey or bourbon. Mix.
- 1 orange slice
- 1 lemon slice
- 1 brandied cherry (this almost killed me-- Dad, your recipe has a run for its money!