Harry Craddock & Ada Coleman: Famous Bartenders

Through research of the various cocktails a couple of names cropped up, Harry Craddock and Ada Coleman. I wanted to research into them a little more.


Harry Craddock


Harry Craddock is arguably the most famous bartender from the The Savoy, London. Deemed the ‘Dean of Cocktail Shakers’ was the third bartender of the establishment, after Ada Coleman. Alongside this he was the first barman of the Dorchester and cofounder of the Bartenders’ Guild.


(Note: The Savoy, The Strand, London and Dorchester, Mayfair, London are two of the most luxury hotels in London with two of the best bars in the world inside. The American bar at the Savoy was awarded 5th place in 2015 World Best Bars award and the Beaufort Bar at the Savoy was awarded 27th place)

Before the Prohibition Craddock worked in various bars in the US from 1901-1920, but came back over when Prohibition. Allegedly shook the last legal cocktail served in New York before the law came into effect. He started at the Savoy of the American Bar due to his understanding of trends of the time. He even wrote a book entitled ‘Savoy Cocktail Book’ which documented over 700 recipes of cocktails of the time and still remains in publication today.  It is claimed he created a grand total of 240 cocktails over his lifetime. His most famous being the White Lady (Gin, triple sec, lemon juice, sugar syrup and egg white). He even buried the cocktail in a shaker in the walls of the American Bar – yet it has never been found.


1939 was the year he moved to the Dorchester – the bar was specifically built for him. Again he buried a White Lady cocktail in the walls too, with a flask of a Manhattan and another of Martini, yet these have been found. In 1947 he retired from the Dorchester.


Ada Coleman


Ada “Coley” Coleman was the predecessor to Craddock, she is one of the most well known female bartenders. Currently still the only female bartender of the Savoy. She started bar tending after her father past away, her first job was in Claridges in 1899. By 1903 she was the head bartender at the Savoy, showing her natural flare for cocktail making.


Her personality was what made her great, many people from around the world sent her gifts. Her most well known drink (which appears in Craddock’s book) is the Hanky Panky, Gin, vermouth and fernet branca – todays recipe also has orange juice. This was created for Charles Hawtrey who would often come into the bar asking for something to wake him up. The next time he came in, he gave it to her and said “By Jove! That is the real hanky-panky” thus naming the drink too.


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