Category Archives: ANNIVERSARIES

A Trip To The Moon

Today marks 113 years since the film A Trip To The Moon was first shown in France!

  
The short film was written and directed by Georges Méliès and was an immediate inspiration to other directors of the era.

It’s even said that Méliès drew inspiration from nearby Buffalo, N.Y. — specifically the A Trip to the Moon attraction at the Pan-American Exposition in 1901:

Various film scholars have suggested that Méliès was heavily influenced by other works, especially Jacques Offenbach’s operetta Le voyage dans la lune (an unauthorized parody of Verne’s novels) and the A Trip to the Moon attraction at the 1901 Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York.

To mark the anniversary of Méliès’ short film, why not shake up an appropriately-themed cocktail like the Blue Moon.

I found the Blue Moon using my Bartender’s Choice app, which was created by Sam Ross of Milk & Honey. The drink is a simple three ingredients, gin, lemon juice and creme de violette — all shaken and strained into a cocktail glass.  


Imbibe Magazine lists pretty much the exact same drink here, but with slight scaling back of the lemon juice and creme de violette (citing Ted Haigh’s updated recipe from Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails).

Red Moon:

At Forte we make a drink called the Red Moon. It has raspberry vodka, Chambord, triple sec, cranberry juice and lime juice and though it might sound like an overly-sweet raspberry Cosmo, it is actually quite tasty:  

 

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Filed under ANNIVERSARIES, APPS, GIN, LIQUEURS

You’ve Got Airmail

Here’s some history: The song “Please Mr. Postman” was released on August 21 in 1961.

The song was released by The Marvelettes and it was the first Motown song to reach the number-one position on the Billboard Hot 100 pop singles chart.

  
Rather than search the Internet for a “Postman” cocktail, I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to celebrate the classic “Airmail” drink!

About This Drink:

The Airmail is a rum and champagne drink made with honey — or made with a honey syrup.

The recipe below is David Wondrich’s recommendation, which can be found online at Esquire.com:

Ingredients:
•2 ounces rum (golden or aged)
•1/2 ounce lime juice
•1 teaspoon honey
•5 ounces Brut champagne

Preparation:

Shake all ingredients (except the champagne) over ice and strain into a chilled champagne flut. Finish by topping the drink with champagne.

In his Esquire article, Wondrich points out that the drink is sort of like “a cross between the French 75 and the Honey Bee.” And additionally, he can’t explain its origin, but it does appear for the first time in Esquire’s 1949 Handbook for Hosts.

Further Reading:

—Check Imbibe Magazine here.
—This recipe includes Angostura Bitters.
—And the Cold-Glass blog has a really lengthy article worth reading.

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Filed under ANNIVERSARIES, CHAMPAGNE, COCKTAIL CALENDAR, HISTORY, RUM

Remembering Hemingway

Yesterday was Hemingway’s birthday, and we celebrated it appropriately at the bar where I work:

  

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Filed under ABSINTHE, ANNIVERSARIES, AUTHORS, BIRTHDAYS, CHAMPAGNE, LITERARY DRINKERS

Hey Scout — ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ Turns 55 Today

Today marks the 55th anniversary of the release of Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird.

The book was published on July 11, 1960.

Sometime after its release, a bartender created a cocktail named after the book — the Tequila Mockingbird!

According to Difford’s Guide, this recipe is thought to have been created sometime in the 1960s after Harper Lee’s novel was published. There’s also another version of the drink, and that is the recipe which appears in the recently published cocktail book also titled Tequila Mockingbird.

Tequila Mockingbird 

  

About This Drink

I took the following recipe from The Ultimate Bar Book by Mittie Hellmich.

Ingredients:

•2 oz silver tequila
•1/2 oz white creme de menthe
•1 oz fresh lime juice

Preparation:

Shake over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish by floating a lime wheel on top — or with a wedge on the rim, as I did.

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Filed under ANNIVERSARIES, AUTHORS, COCKTAIL CALENDAR, COCKTAIL RECIPES, TEQUILA

The Birth Of New Orleans

I love New Orleans.

I first went to the city as a freshman in college and I’ve since been back twice, but all those trips were before I was a bartender — and long before I had an interest in classic cocktails and modern mixology.

Today marks the founding of the city of New Orleans.

New Orleans was founded in 1718 by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville.

Many of the cocktails we associate with the city came some time later, but any reason to celebrate is reason enough!

SAZERAC

The Sazerac is sometimes referred to as the oldest known American cocktail, with origins in pre–Civil War New Orleans, though there are much earlier published instances of the word cocktail.

 

Before rye whiskey, the drink was made with cognac. When absinthe wasn’t allowed, a liquid called Herbsaint was used for the absinthe rinse.

Some recipes call for equal parts cognac and rye whiskey with whatever rinse is available, a blending of the original recipe and how it’s now come to be made.

INGREDIENTS

  • Sugar (or simple syrup)
  • 2 oz rye whiskey
  • 3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Absinthe rinse

PREPARATION

Chill a rocks glass. Give it an absinthe rinse, using only a few drops of absinthe!

Stir the following and strain into the absinthe-rinsed glass: 2 oz rye whiskey, .25 oz of simple syrup and 2 or more dashes of Peychaud’s bitters.

Rub a lemon peel around the rim of the glass and discard. The drink does not get a garnish.

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Filed under ABSINTHE, ANNIVERSARIES, BITTERS & TINCTURES, BITTERS BRANDS, BRANDS, COCKTAIL HISTORY, COCKTAIL RECIPES, RYE WHISKEY, SIMPLE SYRUP

Cheers, Old Sport — ‘The Great Gatsby’ Turns 90 Today

Today marks the 90th anniversary of The Great Gatsby‘s first publishing.

It surely needn’t be said, but The Great Gatsby was written by author F. Scott Fitzgerald — and even though it wasn’t all that popular at the time of its publishing, it’s now now regarded as more than just a literary classic. It’s a contender for the title of “Great American Novel.”

Before sex and drugs and rock ‘n’ roll there was sex and booze and raucous jazz parties. 

Of course, the novel’s not all champagne and swanky parties. Its themes of friction between social classes and one’s attempt at re-making himself a la “The American Dream” make sure it endures. There are extramarital affairs and characters pining for others who are married and gluttonous excess and, eventually, murder.

But intermingled with all that are the drinks!

As much a reflection of the times as Fitzgerald himself, booze flows throughout The Great Gatsby. Cocktail history oozes from the book, even when Fitzgerald isn’t specifically talking about a drink or drinking. Take for instance the Seelbach cocktail, named for the Seelbach Hotel. No one actually drinks it in the book and it’s never mentioned, but Fitzgerald’s characters Tom and Daisy Buchanon had their wedding there.

I’ve written about the Seelbach cocktail before. Click here for that post.

The book does mention two drinks by name though, the Gin Rickey and the Mint Julep:

Gin Rickey:

Before there was a “Gin Rickey” or a “Lime Rickey,” there was just simply: “The Rickey.”

The Rickey was created in the 1880s in Washington, DC by a bartender and a Democratic politician named Colonel Joe Rickey.

This first Rickey was whiskey-based (bourbon/rye). The gin version didn’t catch on for another decade, but became a prohibition staple.

The drink is mentioned in Chapter 7 of The Great Gatsby

With a reluctant backward glance the well-disciplined child held to her nurse’s hand and was pulled out the door, just as Tom came back, preceding four gin rickeys that clicked full of ice
Gatsby took up his drink.
“They certainly look cool,” he said, with visible tension.
We drank in long, greedy swallows.

This story in The Telegraph from 2013 has more info, not just about the Gin Rickey but about the Mint Julep and other drinks of the era — and writes about the same Gin Rickey scene that I posted above:

“The drink appears in a scene set on a boiling summer’s day, when Daisy orders her husband Tom to ‘make us a cold drink’ — using his absence to murmur to Gatsby of her love for him.”

Mint julep 

Kentucky Derby day is fast approaching and soon the Mint Julep will be on the forefront of everyone’s mind.

The drink is also mentioned in Chapter 7 of The Great Gatsby, and in tandem with Gatsby getting called out on his “Old Sport” saying no less!

“All this ‘old sport’ business. Where’d you pick that up?”
“Now see here, Tom,” said Daisy, turning around from the mirror, “if you’re going to make personal remarks I won’t stay here a minute. Call up and order some ice for the mint julep.”

Another Item Of Note:

As someone who works in the industry, I do so appreciate that Nick Carraway takes the time to remark upon the prep work that goes into getting ready for cocktail service:

Every Friday five crates of oranges and lemons arrived from a fruiterer in New York—every Monday these same oranges and lemons left his back door in a pyramid of pulpless halves. There was a machine in the kitchen which could extract the juice of two hundred oranges in half an hour if a little button was pressed two hundred times by a butler’s thumb.

Thirsty For More?

— Here’s the full 2013 article by The Telegraph (which I cribbed from earlier in this post about Gatsby‘s gin rickeys and mint juleps).

— This link goes to a blog post from 2012 which has beverage recommendations based on specific excerpts of The Great Gatsby.

—If that’s not enough, you can drink along with the 2013 movie. There are plenty of game rules online, just click herehere or here.

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Filed under ANNIVERSARIES, COCKTAIL CALENDAR, COCKTAIL HISTORY, COCKTAIL RECIPES, LITERARY DRINKERS