Category Archives: HISTORY

Champagne With Henry VIII

Henry VIII has his very own champagne cocktail named after him!

He ascended the throne of England on April 21, 1509.


The Henry VIII was created by a bartender named Henry Besant in 2004 in London, England.

About This Drink

The drink is a curio comprise of two different vodkas, sugar, citrus, absinthe & champagne.

Ingredients

  • Citron Vodka
  • Pepper Vodka
  • Champagne
  • Absinthe
  • Orange garnish

Preparation

Build this drink in a chilled champagne flute.

Start with the absinthe-soaked sugar cube and pour in a 1/2 oz of each the two flavored vodkas — then top with champagne and garnish with the orange wedge or swath of peel.

Further Reading:

  • Check out Difford’s Guide’s recipe here.
  • TheDrinkShop also has a write-up.

Leave a comment

Filed under CHAMPAGNE, CHAMPAGNE COCKTAILS, COCKTAIL CALENDAR, COCKTAIL RECIPES, HISTORY

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.

Leave a comment

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

The Dash Hammett Cocktail

Yesterday, I wrote a post about Dashiell Hammett’s birthday.

Today’s post is just a quick photo post of the cocktail I made:

 
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.

Leave a comment

Filed under BIRTHDAYS, GIN, HISTORY, LITERARY DRINKERS, PHOTO POST, SCOTCH

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

Mary Astor’s Painless Anesthetic

Actress Mary Astor was born on this day in 1906.

She starred in silent movies as well as “talkies,” and is perhaps best-known for having played the role of Brigid O’Shaugnessy in the movie The Maltese Falcon. She also played the role of Mrs. Anna Smith in the movie Meet Me In St. Louis.

In searching the Internet for a Mary Astor cocktail, I came across two recipes that piqued my interest. The first was a drink I found on the site of a liqueur brand called Chareau, which is a booze company based in California — and the liqueur they make is aloe flavored.

Check out the site’s “about” section by clicking here. The liqueur sounds mind-boggling. I don’t know that I ever would’ve thought of aloe as a primary ingredient for a liqueur. Of course, I’m also not a California farmer.

Other ingredients in the liqueur include: Cucumber, eau de vie, lemon peel, muskmelon, spearmint, sugar and water.

Online at the Chareu site, the company lists this as their Mary Astor cocktail:
 

Photo from chareau.us

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 oz Gin
  • 3/4 oz Chareau 
  • 1/2 oz Lillet Blanc 

PREPARATION

Stir ingredients over ice and strain into a coupe. Garnish with edible flowers. Cocktail by Pablo Moix.

Crazy interesting, right!? I have got to know what that tastes like.

ASTOR’S PAINLESS ANESTHETIC

So, while still interesting, Chareau’s Mary Astor cocktail is a brand specific modern cocktail. 

There isn’t any official “Mary Astor” cocktail that I’ve found, but there is the thing called “Astor’s Painless Anesthetic!”

What is an Astor’s Painless Anesthetic? Well, according to Lesley M. M. Blume’s book “Let’s Bring Back: The Cocktail Edition,” the drink was created for Mary Astor by the Stork Club.

The full title of Blume’s book is: Let’s Bring Back: The Cocktail Edition: A Compendium of Impish, Romantic, Amusing, and Occasionally Appalling Potations from Bygone Eras.

Google made research into the matter even more helpful by having a copy of The Stork Club Bar Book available to search online:

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 oz gin
  • 1 oz French vermouth
  • 1 oz Italian vermouth
  • 1 oz cognac
  • Orange bitters

PREPARATION

“Shake well with ice cubes and dash of orange bitters, twist of lemon peel and just a touch of sugar.”

THE STORK CLUB

The Stork Club was a nightclub in Manhattan, which was open from 1929 to 1965 and was regarded as one of the most prestigious clubs in the world. 

The club was a symbol of café society, where the wealthy elite, including movie stars, celebrities, showgirls and aristocrats all mixed in the VIP Cub Room of the club.

Reading over the Stork Club’s Wikipedia page I found out that Walter Winchell actually coined the name of the Stork Club’s “Cub Room,” — a fact which has me now wanting to rewatch that HBO biopic starring Stanley Tucci.

3 Comments

Filed under BIRTHDAYS, BRANDS, COCKTAIL BOOKS, COCKTAIL CALENDAR, COCKTAIL HISTORY, COCKTAIL RECIPES, HISTORY, LIQUEURS, NEW PRODUCT, OLD HOLLYWOOD

Throwback Thursday — BJ’s Fredonia

I posted about BJ’s back on Easter.

I love this picture:

  
That’s not me in the picture, but I took the photo.

It was a sight I saw daily back in the mid-2000s, that bar.

I believe that’s Todd’s arm. And that’s the bar from back before the fire. So much stuff on the walls.

Leave a comment

Filed under FREDONIA BARS, HISTORY, PHOTO POST, THROWBACK THURSDAY

Happy Birthday, Mary Pickford!

Today is film actress Mary Pickford’s birthday!

And, as so many of the stars from her era did, she has a cocktail named after her!

The Mary Pickford cocktail is made with rum, pineapple juice, cherry liqueur and grenadine. It was created by a bartender named Eddie Woelke, who fled to Cuba during Prohibition — like so many others in the profession who scattered to countries all around the world.

About Mary Pickford:

Mary Pickford was born April 8, 1892 and died May 29, 1979. She was a Canadian-American actress and a co-founder of the film studio United Artists. She was also one of the original 36 founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. You know, thee Academy!

She won two Academy Awards in her lifetime. The first was in 1929 when she won the award for Best Actress for her performance in CoquetteThe second was in 1975 when she was presented with an honorary Oscar “in recognition of her unique contributions to the film industry and the development of film as an artistic medium.”

You can find her full filmography online here.

The Mary Pickford Cocktail:

Recipe from Imbibe Magazine:

  • 2 oz. white rum
  • 1 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1 barspoon grenadine
  • 1 barspoon maraschino liqueur

Combine all ingredients and shake with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a brandied cherry.

The PDT Cocktail Book:

In The PDT Cocktail book, author Jim Meehan gets a little more specific about brands. He cites the book Cocktails by Pedro Chicote, published in 1928:

  • 2 oz. Banks 5 Island Rum
  • .75 oz. pineapple juice
  • .5 oz. Luxardo maraschino liqueur
  • .25 oz. house grenadine

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled coupe. No garnish.

Alternate History:

The Mary Pickford cocktail was created by either Eddie Woelke, as mentioned above, or another bartender of the era. As with so with so many classic cocktails, there are multiple sources cited in the history of the Mary Pickford.

In his book Cocktails, Cocktails, and More Cocktails, author Kester Thompson writes that the drink was created specifically for Pickford during a trip which she took to Cuba in the 1920s with Charlie Chaplin and Douglas Fairbanks. The bartender he names as having created the drink is Fred Kaufmann.

Imbibe Magazine cites Woelke while Difford’s Guide names Kaufman (only one “N” though for some reason). Additionally, the Difford’s Guide article I linked doesn’t even mention Woelke, even though the piece does mention the El Presidente cocktail — which is the drink he’s best known for having created.

The blog Cold Glass has a nice write-up about the drink here.

Thirsty For More?

Serious Eats — Link

•Mix That Drink — Link

•History Of Drinking — Link

 

4 Comments

Filed under BIRTHDAYS, COCKTAIL CALENDAR, COCKTAIL HISTORY, COCKTAIL RECIPES, HISTORY, OLD HOLLYWOOD, RUM