Shepheard’s Hotel and cocktails

Shepheard’s Hotel was the “place to be” in pre-war and wartime Cairo. Definitely a place for the well-heeled and the influential, haunt of Lawrence, Churchill and Kitchener, it was also a place where the senior ranks of the LRDG and SAS went to stay – and to drink. Cognoscenti today may be aware that the parachute qualification wings worn by the modern SAS are different to any others worn in the British military – they are from an original at Shepheard’s Hotel. Lt Jock Lewes, one of the founding fathers of the Regiment, was inspired by the ibis wings of the Egyptian goddess Isis who decorated the Long Bar at Shepheard’s… and he took the ibis wings for the SAS parachutist qualification.

The Long Bar at Shepheard’s was famous throughout the world of travel in the 1930s and 1940s. Captained by the famous Joe Scialom, it was renowned as the place for SAS and LRDG Officers (amongst the rest of the military!) to forget the dust and diesel of battle for a while. Joe was well used to the drinking habits of British and Commonwealth officers, and created a famous cocktail for them as a pick-me-up and hangover cure – the “Suffering Bastard”

Joe Scialom at the Long Bar, Shepheard’s

The Suffering Bastard (for those of a delicate disposition this was sometimes called the Suffering Barsteward)

2 oz Brandy, 2 oz gin, 2 tbsp lime juice, 2 dashes of Angostura bitters, 8 oz ginger beer, sprig of mint.

It’s important to note that the spirits were “trade” quality – in wartime Cairo, decent plonk was in short supply!

For those in a bad way, Joe would recommend the Dying Bastard – the same, with 2oz bourbon added.

For really bad cases, it was time for a Dead Bastard – same as above, but with 2 oz bourbon AND 2oz rum

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