Forbidden Fruit (liqueur that is) at The Dorchester

Aug 23, 11 Forbidden Fruit (liqueur that is) at The Dorchester

The Dorchester of London is in the shorter glass

Although my remit is wine, I do like a good cocktail, my favourite being a perfect Manhattan on the rocks. I don’t however, restrict myself to Manhattan’s, which is how I found myself at The Bar at The Dorchester with the very charming and legendary Bar Manager, Giuliano Morandin explaining to me how he recreated the lost recipe for Forbidden Fruit liqueur.

Giuliano and original bottle of Forbidden Fruit

The Forbidden Fruit liqueur was first invented in the early 1900’s and was hugely popular in the US, of all places, until Prohibition came round and that was the end of that.  The original recipe disappeared in the 1950’s and no one has been able to replicate it since. The Dorchester of London cocktail  made with Forbidden Fruit was originally created by Henry Craddock and is even included in an old drinks recipe book but after the 1950’s, with the liqueur lost, it was impossible to make.

Until Giuliano heard about it. He wanted  a special cocktail to mark the 80th anniversary of the Dorchester and thought recreating a “lost classic” would be perfect. He was fortunate to find a bottle of the original Forbidden Fruit at a private sale in the States and brought it back to London. He then  took it upon himself to recreate the liquor and, after 7 months of experimenting, was finally satisfied with the result. I really wonder what that forbidden fruit is or was. The liquor itself smelled like honey but tasted like a licorice grapefruit, very interesting indeed. It had a hell of a kick to it! I got to try the original Forbidden Fruit which was full of maple syrup flavours, much less honey but still very sweet. I can see why Giuliano tweaked the recipe as I think modern drinkers probably wouldn’t appreciate it as much.

cocktail recipe book from the 1930’s

The resulting cocktail is quite simple once you have the liquor, just add Bacardi rum and gin, shake over ice and then serve straight up.  All the cocktails at The Bar are served straight up unless otherwise requested, as ice dilutes the drink and Giuliano wants the pure flavours of the cocktail to be the star. I liked the Dorchester of London but it is strong! Be warned, you won’t need many of them to kick off a night.

I sampled a few other cocktails. The Vesper was probably the best martini I’ve ever had. Created by Ian Fleming in Casino Royale, it’s Tanq Ten and Imperia vodka, shaken not stirred (although I’ve been told it’s best to stir a martini but whatever), I could have (worringly) had more then one of those.

Mulito served in a mate bowl

The cocktail list is classic but with a twist. Paw Paw Margaritas, rum based Mulitos ( served in an Argentina mate bowl), The Brooklyn ( Manhattan’s little brother – made with rye whiskey instead of bourbon), and with a  list of 13 different gin & tonics available, it’d be easy to spend an evening at The Bar. It would also be easy to drop a load of dosh. We’re talking The Dorchester and the cocktails are priced accordingly, £13 – £17 BUT made with the best ingredients and spirits, some, like the Dorchester Old Tom gin, are only available at The Bar. Regardless, it is certainly the place to go if you fancy treating yourself to some Top Shelf cocktails in lux surroundings.

bar snacks


  1. Based on what I have read, I think you would be best to stick to the 70 proof – not 64 proof – which should date to the 1940’s. Any later incarnations are drastically different than the original recipe.

  2. I have an unopened bottle of Forbidden Fruit that I bought at an old liquor store a few months ago. It was on display with an assortment of old (mostly empty) bottles and not for sale but I made the owner an offer, he accepted, and the bottle is now mine. I’m fascinated by the stuff and wondering exactly what year this bottle is from (I assume it’s pre-1950s but how much prior I’m not sure). Here’s a photo of the bottle. Any info would be appreciated:

    • Hi Eric,
      Unfortunately, I don’t know much more then what I wrote about in my post. You can try contacting The Dorchester, Giuliano is very gracious and helpful. As for the liqueur, it is quite sweet. I’d recommend mixing it into a cocktail. 🙂

  3. Pauline /

    I wanted to open it the other night when we had some English friends here and I thought it would be appropriate as this is the Queen’s Jubilee year. They would not allow me to open it and thus began this enquiry.

    • I think you should open it! They were just being polite. Next time, open it right before they arrive so you have no excuse for not drinking it. In case you haven’t noticed, patience is NOT one of my virtues 🙂

  4. Pauline /

    I have an original from about 1953

  5. Pauline /

    What would a bottle of the original Forbidden Fruit Liqueur, if found, retail for today?

    • I don’t believe there are any more available and they wouldn’t tell me how much they paid for it at auction 🙂

      • I have one original bottle available but i have no idea what the value of it is. It’s hard enough as it is finding information online.

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