Food History, Great Reads

Rebuild, Retell, Refill Your Glass

April 22, 2021


Back in the day, when John and Caroline Schneider lived and worked in the ground floor of 97 Orchard Street, they ran one of the hundreds of lager beer saloons on the Lower East Side in the late 19th century. On their tour, we often discuss how the saloon was an important communal place for people to grab a drink after a long day of work and feel a strong sense of community with their neighbors, and celebrate the big events and small achievements of everyday life.

In honor of our virtual gala on April 29, 2021, we have crafted a specialty drink menu of cocktails and mocktails – some historical and some inspired by our Tenement families – to recreate that feeling of community with our guests as they watch from anywhere in the world. We’re also including the recipe from our popular signature drink, the Tenement-ini, served at our last in-person gala in 2019.

Even as we gather in our homes to celebrate the Museum on April 29, we hope that everyone has a festive evening!



  • 2 fluid ounces citron vodka
  • 1 fluid ounce Cointreau or other orange liqueur
  • 2 fluid ounces pomegranate juice
  • ½ fluid ounce lemon juice


Pour the vodka, Cointreau, pomegranate juice, and lemon juice into a cocktail shaker over ice. Cover, and shake until the outside of the shaker has frosted. Strain into a chilled martini glass to serve.


“Glühwein, or mulled wine, is a traditional seasonal drink that German immigrants brought with them to the United States, along with Lager Bier. During the cold months of the 1970s, you might have ordered a Glühwein in a saloon like the Schneiders to warm you up as you sat next to the coal burning stove.”


  • 1 bottle dry red wine
  • Juice of 1 orange and its peel (lemon can work too)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 cloves
  • 2-3 cardamom pods (more to taste)


Mix together on stove over low to medium heat. Let sit for at least 20 minutes, but the longer you mull it, the more spice you taste. You can let it mull for hours, but do not let it boil! Serve in a hot mug, garnished with a cinnamon stick, star anise, and/or an orange wheel.


Cold Irish Whiskey Punch*“This is the genuine Irish beverage.” Or so says How to Mix Drinks, a recipe book capturing 19th century drinking in the US. The author also notes that, “Irish whiskey is not fit to drink until it is three years old.”  


  • 2 oz. Irish Whiskey
  • 1.5 ozsimple syrup 
  • 1 oz. Lemon juice 
  • Lemon peel to garnish 


Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake well and serve in a rocks glass over ice. Garnish with lemon peel 

 *recipe has been modified for a modern audience 

Coal Stove Toddy: Imagine the warmth of Bridget Moore’s cozy tenement kitchen protecting against a cold winter day as you enjoy this smokey, warmly spiced beverage.


  • 1.5 oz. Irish whiskey
  • 5 oz. hot water
  • ½ oz. honey
  • 1 bag of black tea
  • 2 lemon slices
  • 6 cloves


Combine whiskey and honey into a glass mug. Pin three cloves into each lemon slice and add to glass. Boil water and steep your favorite black tea (we recommend Lapsang Souchang for a smokey flavor). Pour hot tea into mug, stir gently once or twice with a metal spoon.

Coal Stove Toaster (Non-Alcoholic): Brew lemon tea and add honey and cloves to taste. Enjoy in a festive mug!  


Mamie Taylor*: In 1911, civic reformer Beller Israels documented what she thought were socially dangerous habits among young people on the Lower East Side, such as frequenting dance halls and drinking “Mamie Taylors, cocktails, and other insidious spirits.”


  • 2 oz. blended scotch whiskey
  • 1 tbs lime juice
  • 6 oz. ginger beer


Pour scotch and lime into glass filled with ice. Top with ginger beer and garnish with a lime wedge.

 *recipe has been modified for a modern audience 

Pushcart-ini: Accompany Fannie Rogarshevsky on a shopping trip through the pushcart markets of 1900s Orchard street with this refreshing herbal take on a classic martini.


  • 3 oz. Vodka or Gin 
  • 1 oz. Lime juice 
  • ½ oz. Simple syrup. 
  • 4 cucumber slices plus 1 extra for garnish 
  • 5 sprigs of fresh dill 


Place cucumber slices, dill, lime juice and simple syrup into a cocktail shaker and muddle thoroughly. Pour vodka or gin into shaker and add ice. Shake well and pour into chilled coupe glass. Garnish with cucumber slice.

Mamie Tea Total-er (Non-Alcoholic): Ginger beer served on ice with 1 tbs. lime juice and a wedge to garnish.  



Coffee Sambuca: Josephine Baldizzi remembers her parents drinking this simple cocktail popular across southern Italy. The 3 espresso beans symbolize health, prosperity, and happiness.


  • 2 oz. sambuca
  • 3 coffee beans


Pour sambuca into a small, clear glass and float coffee beans on top. Light on fire for a slightly toasted coffee flavor, but be extremely careful!

Morning Glory MashInspired by the flowers planted in their apartment window that reminded Rosaria of her home in Palermo, this cocktail is a refreshing drink with a kick of Italian flavor.


  • 2 oz. gin  
  • 1 oz. lemon juice  
  • 1/3 oz. honey  
  • 1/3 oz. simple syrup 
  • 12 fresh basil leaves plus 2 more to garnish 


Muddle 12 basil leaves in a shaker. Add gin, lemon juice, honey, simple syrup, and ice. Shake until thoroughly chilled and pour over ice. Garnish with basil leaves and lemon slice.  

Basil Palermonade (Non-Alcoholic): Muddle 10 fresh basil leaves with 1 tsp sugar and mix into store bought or fresh lemonade in tall glass with ice. Garnish with sprig of basil.