General MacArthur

  • Base Spirit Rum
  • Preparation Shaken
  • Flavor Refreshing
  • Served Up

The General MacArthur Cocktail is a delicious rum based, egg white sour. Haimo’s recipe calls for Cuban Rum, Jamaican Rum, Triple Sec (or Cointreau), lime juice, and egg white, shaken. The result is a near-perfect balance of citric acid, booze, and just enough sweetness.

In Lucius Beebe’s 1946 recount of the Stork Club’s glory years, he writes that the MacArthur, the Cuba Libre, and the Frozen Daiquiri were the the three best selling rum drinks at the famed supper club. Given the Stork Club Bar Book’s impressive legacy, the few drinkers who still know what of the MacArthur often associate the drink with the club. However, the beverage was actually created at the Hotel Pierre by Oscar Haimo.

Oscar Haimo was a star in his time. His CV includes tenures as maitre de at the Ritz-Carlton in Paris, the Casino in Monte Carlo, and the Pierre in NYC. He also served as President of both the International Barmen’s Association and the International Bar Managers’ Association.

During the golden years at the Pierre, Haimo created the General MacArthur Cocktail. According to the New York Post, the drink was the hotel’s best seller by 1942. Accordingly, it was celebrated int he gossip pages of the time. In her “The Voice of Broadway” column, journalist Dorothy Kilgallen described the concoction as “famous.” In Walter Winchell’s legendary “On Broadway” column, he stated that the drink is “as zingy as its name.”

That name was clearly a reference to U.S. General Douglas C. MacArthur. The drink was created right about the time that MacArthur was fleeing his command in the Philippines. Contemporary politicians and future historians slammed his failed defense of the islands as virtual incompetence. Yet, during the war, faith in MacArthur was considered paramount to national morale. To keep the American hopes high, Washington D.C. awarded him unearned medals, issued releases praising his heroism, and launched a propaganda campaign–all to portray MacArthur as a hero. Although no direct links are evident, logic would dictate that this drink was an offshoot of that effort.

Photo by Edsel Little. [CC2.02]

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Print Recipe
General MacArthur
  1. Combine ingredients in a tin with ice.
  2. Shake heartily until emulsified and chilled.
  3. Double strain into a coupe or cocktail glass.

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