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.


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


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.

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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

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


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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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.


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


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.

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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.


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


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.

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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



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


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.


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:


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


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


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.



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.

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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




Happy Birthday, Félix Kir!

Born on this day in 1876, Canon Félix Kir was a French Catholic priest, a resistance fighter and a politician.

His name, “Kir,” also now lives on as the name of a wine & liqueur cocktail (and also the drink’s many variants).

Here’s the drink as shown on the International Bartenders Association‘s website:
People were already drinking the “Kir” in France before Félix Kir, but he served the drink so much that it became associated with his name:

A local drink, then locally known as ‘blanc-cassis,’ consists of white burgundy wine, traditionally Aligoté, mixed with Crème de Cassis, a sweet, blackcurrant-flavored liqueur. Kir habitually served this local drink to delegations and so the drink itself is now known internationally as Kir.

Recipes online (such as The International Bartenders Association) recommend using 1/10 crème de cassis, but French sources typically specify more. Recipes from the 19th century call for a for blanc-cassis blend of 1/3 crème de cassis, but modern tastes find such proportions cloyingly sweet, and modern sources typically call for 1/5.

Hungry for more info? Check out these sites I cribbed from, such as The Kitchn and Cuisine Collection

•About Félix Kir•
•He was born at Alise-Sainte-Reine on the Côte-d’Or.
•He entered a small seminary at Plombières-lès-Dijon in 1891 and was ordained 1901. He then worked as a parish priest.
•During the occupation of France during World War II, he took an active part in the French Resistance, helping with the escape of 5,000 prisoners of war from a camp at Longvic. He was arrested and condemned to death, but he was released because of his status.
•In 1945 he was made a knight of the Légion d’honneur and was elected mayor of Dijon and to the French National Assembly.
•He remained mayor of Dijon up to his death in 1968.

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Hawaii Admission Day

Hawaii was admitted to the U.S. as a state on Aug. 21, 1959.

Admission Day, or Statehood Day, is a legal holiday in Hawaii and is celebrated annually on the third Friday in August.

This year’s Admission Day has already happened, as Aug. 15 was the third Friday of the month. But for the sake of posting about the Blue Hawaii and other Hawaiian cocktails, I’m making note of it here today.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a proclamation making Hawaii the 50th state on August 21, 1959.

(Photo from link)

A quick Google search will yield tons of results for “Blue Hawaii” and “Blue Hawaiian,” with some small differences between the recipes — some use sours mix and some don’t, some use coconut rum while others use another coconut flavor. The one common factor, of course, is the fact that the drink is blue (or blue-green as a result of the pineapple juice).

Here’s the recipe as printed on AMC’s Mad Men site

•1 oz blue curaçao
•1 oz light rum
•1 oz cream of coconut
•2 oz pineapple juice
•1 cherry
•1 slice of pineapple
•1 cup of ice

Put all ingredients into blender. Blend. Pour into highball glass. Add a cherry and pineapple to garnish.

As I mentioned, Google this drink and I’m sure you’ll find variations and recipes with different proportions… And is it a Blue Hawaiian if it’s not blended, but served on ice? I’m not gonna fret too much. If it’s blue and it tastes like vacation, I’m probably not going to complain. Sure, I’m a stickler for certain rules and traditions associated with other cocktails, but this? Not so much.

From Wikipedia:

The Blue Hawaii was invented in 1957 by Harry Yee, legendary head bartender of the Hilton Hawaiian Village (formerly the Kaiser Hawaiian Village) in Waikiki, Hawaii when a sales representative of Dutch distiller Bols asked him to design a drink that featured their blue color of Curaçao liqueur.

After experimenting with several variations he settled on a version somewhat different from the most popular version today, but with the signature blue color, pineapple wedge, and cocktail umbrella.

The name “Blue Hawaii” is related only indirectly to the 1961 Elvis Presley film of the same name, and apparently derives instead from the film’s title song, a hit composed by Leo Robin for the 1937 Bing Crosby film Waikiki Wedding.

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Missouri Mule

Missouri became the 24th state in the Union on Aug. 10, 1821.

Years later, bartender Joe Gilmore created the Missouri Mule for President Harry S. Truman. The drink commemorates Truman’s homestate of Missouri.

(Photo from the web)

What’s interesting about this cocktail is that it doesn’t have the one ingredient typically associated with “Mule” cocktails, which is ginger beer.

Instead, this drink takes the “Mule” portion of its name from the fact that the mule is the state of Missouri’s official animal. Plus, Truman was a Democrat (and that party’s animal is the donkey — which is the product of a mule and horse).

Joe Gilmore has a number of cocktails credited to his name. But this post is specifically about the Missouri Mule.

You can also find a variation of the recipe in ounces online at Kindred Cocktails.

•2 parts Bourbon
•2 parts Applejack
•2 parts Lemon juice
•1 part Campari
•1 part Cointreau

Combine with ice, shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Google the phrase “Missouri Mule” and you’ll find another drink with the same name, but a different recipe — gin, lemon juice and creme de cassis.

Still, this bourbon recipe from Joe Gilmore seems to outpace the gin variation 5 to 1.

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