Category Archives: COCKTAIL HISTORY

Happy Birthday, Ginger Rogers!

Today is the birthday of old Hollywood actress Ginger Rogers!

She was born on this day, July 16, in 1911!

  

Sometimes when searching a drink, I end up finding dozen different recipes from as many websites, blogs and cocktail books.

And although there are surely cocktails with more variations to their name, searching for a Ginger Rogers drink did result in a couple different recipes.

For the Ginger Rogers recipe I’m writing about today, I pulled info from Cocktailia and Post-Prohibition.

About This Drink:

A gin and ginger ale drink made extra-fancy with mint, lime juice and more!

From Post-Prohibition:

This recipe was created at Portland’s Zefiro in 1995 by Marcovaldo Dionysos. It gained its popularity at Absinthe Brasserie and Bar in San Francisco where it was one of the most ordered drinks. It’s also the cocktail that inspired the book The Art of the Bar.

Ingredients:
•2 oz gin
•1/2 oz fresh lime juice
•1/2 oz ginger syrup
•8 to 10 mint leaves
•op with ginger ale
•Garnish with a lime wedge

Preparation:

Shake all ingredients except the ginger ale over ice and double strain into a chilled Collins glass filled with fresh ice. Top with ginger ale and garnish with mint and a lime wedge.

  

Other Recipes:

  1. Imbibe Magazine calls for a whiskey sour with gingerbread flavor.
  2. This classic recipe calls for dry vermouth and apricot brandy, among other ingredients. Read more about it here.
  3. Immediately below is a recipe from Liquor.com which uses Campari and then further on down this post is another recipe from Maker’s Mark which used mango nectar:

From Liquor.com:
Ingredients:
•1 Strawberry, sliced
•5 Clementine segments
•2 oz Campari
•3 oz Orange Juice
•1 pinch Ground ginger
•1 splash 7UP

Preparation:
In a shaker, muddle the strawberry and clementine. Add the remaining ingredients and fill with ice. Shake well and strain into a highball glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with an edible pansy.

From Maker’s Mark:
Ingredients
•2 parts Maker’s Mark
•2 & 1/2 parts mango nectar 
•1/2 part fresh lime juice
•1/2 part ginger beer
•Dash Angostura
Preparation
Pour the Maker’s Mark, mango nectar, lime juice and bitters into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously for about 25 seconds and strain into a cocktail glass or serve over ice. Top with ginger beer. Garnish with 3 cubes of mango spiked on a wood skewer.

3 Comments

Filed under BIRTHDAYS, COCKTAIL CALENDAR, COCKTAIL HISTORY, COCKTAIL RECIPES, GIN, GINGER, OLD HOLLYWOOD

Happy Birthday, Dashiell Hammett!

Ever want to drink like all the hard-boiled detectives and rogues depicted in classic pulp and noir stories?

Well, today is a perfect day for doing just that. Today is Dashiell Hammett’s birthday. He was born May 27, 1894.

There’s no official “Dashiell Hammett” cocktail that I know of, but the writer contributed more than a few things to drinking culture throughout the years.

His characters Nick and Nora appear in a series of mvoies, though Hammett wrote only one Thin Man novel. And then, of course, there is the Nick and Nora glass itself! 

Plus, Dashiell also gave us Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon and Ed Beaumont in The Glass Key, among many others.

Want to kill a few minutes? Click this link for a montage of booze-related scenes from the Nick and Nora movies.

The montage kicks off with Nick Charles instructing a group of guys on how to appropriately shake different drinks:

“The important thing is the rhythm. Always have rhythm in your shaking. A Manhattan you shake to foxtrot, a Bronx to two-step time. A Dry Martini you always shake to waltz time.”

The scene where Nick marks time with the cocktail shaker isn’t in the original  novel,  but it is a part of Nick and Nora’s larger cinematic world — which will now be forever entwined with Hammett in general.

As I wrote earlier, there’s no official “Dasheill Hammett” cocktail that I know of, but in the book Classic Cocktails: A Modern Shake by Mark Kingwell, the last chapter (entitled “Spygames”) does conclude the book with a drink the writer dubs the “Dash Hammett.”

Kingwell writes the following passage about the drink:

In a final tribute, then, to an American original who appreciated a cocktail — if ultimately rather too many of them for his own good, a worthwhile note of caution here at the end — let’s stipulate a name change. There is no Spade, Hammett, or Thin Man cocktail that we know of. There is, however, an excellent drink that combines gin and scotch, the two favourite quaffs of the Hammett hard-men. We mean the so-called Smoky Martini. That’s six parts gin, one part dry vermouth, and a teaspoon of scotch, shaken with cracked ice and strained  into a chilled cocktail glass, lemon twist to garnish. (You can also dilute the scotch by washinbg it around the glass and discarding, rather than mixing in: the Scotch Wash.) 

It may never catch on with the rest of the world, but this drink will always be, for us, better known as the Dash Hammett.

About This Cocktail

The Dash Hammett is a smoky martini I read about in Mark Kingwell’s book called Classic Cocktails: A Modern Shake. It doesn’t specify brands or have any exotic ingredients, or even really all that many ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 6 parts gin
  • 1 part dry vermouth
  • 1 teaspoon smoky scotch
  • Lemon twist for garnish

Preparation

Shake all ingredients over ice and strain into a chilled martini glass, or first rinse the glass with scotch — not shaking it with the gin and dry vermouth. Garnish with a lemon twist, expressing the oils over the drink and around the rim of the glass.

Further Reading:

— Here’s a write-up about Hammett and San Francisco Noir.

Leave a comment

Filed under BIRTHDAYS, COCKTAIL CALENDAR, COCKTAIL HISTORY, COCKTAIL RECIPES, GIN, HISTORY, LITERARY DRINKERS, OLD HOLLYWOOD, SCOTCH, Uncategorized

Today Is World Cocktail Day

Happy “World Cocktail Day” to everyone!

Why a day to recognize cocktails in general as a category of drinks? I dunno… Why not!?

There’s a blog I check daily called Good Spirits News, and just the other day they posted about World Cocktail Day.

The blog post gives several notations about the origins of the word cocktail and cites Good Things Magazine for all its info.

It also explains why May 13 was chosen as the date for World Cocktail Day. Because that’s when the word first appeared in print:

On 13th May 1806, newspaper Balance and Columbian Repository defined a cocktail as, “a stimulating liquor composed of spirits of any kind — sugar, water, and bitters.”

This date is now recognised as World Cocktail Day, an occasion on which drinkers commemorate the first recognised publication of the word’s definition.

So the first recognized publication of the word cocktail described it simply as “a stimulating liquor composed of spirits of any kind with sugar, water and bitters. 

It’s such a beautiful recipe — with all its components being so basic and easily interchanged with other ingredients. There are so many sugars and sweeteners to choose from and now so many bitters on the market, not to mention the open-endedness of being able to use any spirit. 

Whatever you decide to have today, just don’t find yourself without a drink!

 

Thirsty For More?

— Here’s a link.

— And here’s another link.

And just to round out the “World” part of World Cocktail Day, here’s a link to a site which put together a map of the places where famous cocktails were born.

Here’s the map!

 

Leave a comment

Filed under COCKTAIL CALENDAR, COCKTAIL HISTORY, HOLIDAYS

Any Reason For A Sazerac Is Reason Enough For Me

Today is Katharine Hepburn’s birthday.

She was born May 12, 1907.

In celebration of her birthday, I say we should all have a Sazerac.

It’s the second time in a week that I’ve recommended this cocktail. And I’m sure I’ll find a dozen more reasons to do so again as time goes on, but today is about Katharine Hepburn.

I don’t know if she has a cocktail named after her at all, but she did drink a Sazerac or two in the film State of the Union, which was made in 1948.

 

The film stars Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn as political campaigners, and at one point, a Southern guest of Hepburn’s character introduces her to the Sazerac cocktail.

The website The Hooch Life drscribes the scenario as follows:

In the classic political comedy, State of the Union, Katharine Hepburn’s character passes out after two of these cocktails while her drinking companion shouts, “Honey, make me another Sazerac!”

This official cocktail of New Orleans is as boozy as you’d expect, and, if it’s cool enough for Katharine, it’s more than cool enough for me.

Read the full list of 10 classic cocktails and who drank them in this 2011 piece on The Hooch Life.

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 small amount of absinthe (or Herbsaint)band then discard the excess liquid.

Stir all the ingredients except the absinthe over ice and strain into the absinthe-rinsed glass.

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

Leave a comment

Filed under BIRTHDAYS, BITTERS & TINCTURES, BITTERS BRANDS, COCKTAIL CALENDAR, COCKTAIL HISTORY, COCKTAIL RECIPES, OLD HOLLYWOOD, RYE WHISKEY, WHISKEY

Salvador Dali’s Casanova Cocktail

Today is Salvador Dali’s birthday.

He was born May 11, 1904 in Spain.

So, in honor of his birthday, I searched the Internet to see if he has his own cocktail — and lo and behold, he actually had his own cook book!

Les Diners de Gala was published in 1973. 

 

In the book he details how to make his Casanova Cocktail, which seems to me to be the appropriate drink to have today in honor of his birthday today.

INGREDIENTS
• The juice of 1 orange
• 1 tablespoon bitters (Campari)
• 1 teaspoon ginger
• 4 tablespoons brandy
• 2 tablespoons old brandy (Vielle Cure)
• 1 pinch Cayenne pepper

From Les Diners de Gala:

This is quite appropriate when circumstances such as exhaustion, overwork or simply excess of sobriety are calling for a pick-me-up.

Here is a well-tested recipe to fit the bill.

Let us stress another advantage of this particular pep-up concoction is that one doesn’t have to make the sour face that usually accompanies the absorption of a remedy.

At the bottom of a glass, combine pepper and ginger. Pour the bitters on top, then brandy and “Vielle Cure.” Refrigerate or even put in the freezer.

Thirty minutes later, remove from the freezer and stir the juice of the orange into the chilled glass.

Drink… and wait for the effect. 

It is rather speedy.

 

Casanova Cocktail Online

All the text I included above came from a site called Brain Pickings. I believe that’s the text which accompanies the drink recipe in Dali’s book.

Want to read more? Here’s a link to Huff Post and a link to First We Feast and also Dangerous Minds.

Leave a comment

Filed under BRANDS, COCKTAIL CALENDAR, COCKTAIL HISTORY, COCKTAIL RECIPES

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.

1 Comment

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

Happy Birthday To Rudolph Valentino

Rudolph Valentino was born May 6, 1895.

Valentino made movies from 1914 through 1926, including the film Blood & Sand. And, of course, the “Blood & Sand” cocktail was named for Valentino’s 1922 bullfighting film.

The recipe is first known to have appeared in the 1930 Savoy Cocktail Book.

And that’s really all that’s known about the drink! Gary Regan wrote about the Blood & Sand online here for Liquor.com. And that’s where I took the following recipe from:

INGREDIENTS

  • .75 oz Scotch
  • .75 oz Sweet vermouth
  • .75 oz Cherry brandy
  • .75 oz Fresh orange juice

  • PREPARATION

    Shake and strain all ingredients over ice and strain into a chilled martini glass.

      

    IMBIBE MAGAZINE

    So much of what’s fun about researching old drinks like this is how they have changed throughout the years.

    Imbibe Magazine cites Bill Boothby’s World Drinks and How to Mix ’Em from 1934, which drips the sweet vermouth:

  • 1 oz. blended Scotch
  • 1 oz. fresh orange juice
  • 3/4 oz. Cherry Heering
  • STILL THIRSTY?

    — Check out Difford’s Guide for the classic recipe, the drink’s history and also a number of variants on the basic Blood & Sand.

    —This Saveur recipe bumps up the scotch.

      

    Leave a comment

    Filed under BIRTHDAYS, BRANDS, COCKTAIL CALENDAR, COCKTAIL HISTORY, COCKTAIL RECIPES, GIN, OLD HOLLYWOOD