Tag Archives: HISTORY

A French-Themed ‘Double Whammy’

Today is France’s national holiday. It’s also National Grand Marnier Day.

I wrote about France’s July 14th holiday last year, but I didn’t know then that the day is also our National Grand Marnier Day!

An ad for Grand Marnier.

So, technically, I guess it’s Bastille Day, but this article says we’re not supposed to call it that.

Still, it’s a double-whammy of a day to be imbibing French-themed drinks — especially if those drinks have Grand Marnier in them.

First some ideas not related toGrand  Marnier:

  • French 75
  • French Martini
  • St. Germain & Champagne
  • Chambord & Champagne

What Is Grand Marnier?

Grand Marnier is an 80 proof, orange-flavored cognac.

It was created by Alexandre Marnier-Lapostolle in 1880.

Grand Marnier is comprised of Cognac brandy, distilled essence of bitter orange, and sugar.

Satan’s Whiskers

A recipe for a Grand Marnier cocktail taken from Imbibe Magazine:

•1/2 oz. gin
•1/2 oz. Grand Marnier
•1/2 oz. sweet vermouth
•1/2 oz. dry vermouth
•1/2 oz. orange juice
•Dash orange bitters

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

Thirsty For More?

— Read this post on Good Spirits News for more Grand Marnier history and a pair of drink recipes.

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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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It’s Jack Daniel’s Birthday

Today is the birthday of Jasper Newton “Jack” Daniel, the founder of the Jack Daniel’s Tennessee whiskey distillery.

That pic is available for purchase as a sign.

Jack Daniel’s was born Sept. 5, 1850 and died Oct. 10, 1911 at the age of 61.

His birthday is actually the matter of some dispute, as there aren’t any records proving the Sept. 5 date. The Jack Daniel’s website has a video with more information about the man.

From Wikipedia:

He was born in January 1849, in or around Lynchburg, Tennessee. A town fire had destroyed the courthouse records, and conflicting dates on his and his mother’s headstones have left his date of birth in question. His mother died shortly after his birth, most likely due to complications from the childbirth.

From the Jack Daniel’s website:

No one knows exactly when Jack Daniel was born because there are no birth records, but it’s customary to celebrate Mr. Jack’s birthday in September.

I bought this book at the start of summer and it’s really become quite handy as I’ve been tasting American-made whiskeys, bourbons and ryes:


Here’s what author Clay Risen has written about Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey:
•NOSE: Floral with orange peel and salted peanuts.
•PALATE: Spice and some chocolate; quick finish.
•COLOR: Tawny/auburn
•BODY: Light
•AGE: No age statement
•PROOF: 80
•GENERAL: Jack Daniels is ice-rink smooth and consistently hits its classic Tennessee mark. Muted spice and chocolate notes combine with serious sweetness to make this one of the most popular whiskeys in the world.

Do you like the way this Jack Daniel’s info is broken down?mi highly recommend buying the book. There’s a lot of history and information about the way whiskey, bourbon and rye have been made in America — and a good two-thirds of it is just tasting notes and info about specific brands.

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Yes, But What About The Rum?

It’s Jamaica Independence Day today, marking Jamaica’s independence from the United Kingdom.

A little history: On August 6, 1962, the Colony of Jamaica became an independent country, the Union Jack was ceremoniously lowered and replaced by the Jamaican flag throughout the country.

Celebrate with a Jamaica Swizzle!

I took the follow recipe from a 1947/1950 cocktail book published by Angostura:

Jamaica Swizzle

•6 dashes Angostura Bitters
•1.5 oz Jamaica rum
•Juice of 1 fresh lime
•1 teaspoonful fine granulated sugar

Pour ingredients into a glass pitcher, add plenty of shaved ice, churn with a swizzle stick until pitcher frosts. Strain into a cocktail glass and serve.

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Jackie Kennedy Cocktail

Today is Jackie Kennedy’s birthday.

Did you know she has a cocktail named after her though? It’s the signature cocktail of the Elephant Bar at the Raffles Hotel Le Royal in Phnom Penh, Cambodia (as well as its sister property the Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor.

This is a pic of the Elephant Bar from their website:

The Raffles Hotel Le Royal has the whole story online at their website, but in short:
Jacqueline Kennedy visited Cambodia in 1967. She found time during the trip to try the famous rouge Champagne cocktail in the hotel’s Elephant Bar. Years later, when Raffles Hotel Le Royal was being renovated, the glass she drank from (which still had her lipstick mark on it) was found.

Now called “Femme Fatale,” the hotel bar’s signature cocktail is a champagne-based drink with Crème de Fraise Sauvage and a dash of Cognac. It’s now the bar’s signature cocktail to commemorate Jacqueline Kennedy’s visit to Phnom Penh.

Femme Fatale
The website “A History of Drinking” lists the recipe as following:

•1/4 oz l Crème de Fraise (strawberry liqueur)
•Dash of cognac
•Build in a champagne flute, top with Champagne. Garnish with a rose.

Interested in more? Check out A History Of Drinking.

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Amelia Earhart Cocktail

Today is Amelia Earhart’s birthday.


A quick search of the Internet turned up a cocktail result. A website called A History Of Drinking wrote the following about her:

Today we’re marking the birthday of legendary aviatrix and “Queen of the Air,” Amelia Mary Earhart, born this day back in 1897 in Atchison Kansas.

Among her many accomplishments were: first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic, and the first person to fly solo from Hawaii to California.

Earhart disappeared in 1937 while en route to Howland Island during an attempt to fly around the world.

The drink itself was created by a user named StriperGuy on a ChowHound message board back on June 28, 2009. Here’s the text of his post:

Came up with another winner. Because it is basically an adapted Aviation I will call it an Amelia Earhart (the strawberries are a bit girly):

Amelia Earhart Cocktail
2 oz fresh local strawberry puree (I blended some with the gin)
•2 oz gin
•2 Tsp marascino liquer
•1 Tsp creme de violette
•2 Tsp simple syrup
•Juice and zest of 1/2 meyer lemon

Shake and serve on the rocks, or straight, or whatever

For my money, that recipe’d make for a heck of a pretty cocktail served up in a martini glass or champagne glass.

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Happy Birthday, Hemingway!

Today is Ernest Hemingway’s birthday.

Talk of the man tends to go hand-in-hand with talk of cocktails and libations.

There have been a great number of articles and cocktail lists written regarding Hemingway in the last few years, due in part to the publication of Philip Greene’s book “To Have And Have Another.”

I’m not an expert on Hemingway, but I am more than passingly familiar with some of the drinks that get associated with his name:

Cocktails associated with Hemingway:
•Death In The Afternoon
•Dripped Absinthe
•Dry Martini
•Jack Rose

I’ve written about Death in the Afternoon before! Click the link and check out the cocktail in all it’s glory:

Hemingway’s recipe for the drink:

“Pour 1 jigger of absinthe into a champagne glass. Add iced champagne until it attains the proper opalescent milkiness. Drink three to five of these slowly.”

As I said earlier, I’m not a Hemingway expert, but today’s a perfect day for learning a little about the man and all the cocktails he’s associated with.

Below you’ll find resources with info about absinthe and daiquiris and details debunking Hemingway mojito and Bloody Mary lore.

Links worth reading::
•A Liquor.com piece from 2013.
•A Food Republic piece from 2012.
•The Wondrich write-up on “Death in the Afternoon.”

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Remembering ‘Wrong Way’ Corrigan

Tonight I’ll be having a bottle of Brooklyn Lager and a shot of Jameson in remembrance of Douglas Corrigan’s flight from Brooklyn to Ireland.

On July 17, 1938, Douglas Corrigan filed a flight plan for a return trip to California from Brooklyn.

He ended up in Ireland.

The story’s really quite fascinating. Some say he pulled the stunt intentionally, after having been denied permission to cross the Atlantic.

The following is from History.com:

After arriving in New York, Corrigan filed plans for a transatlantic flight, but aviation authorities deemed it a suicide flight, and he was promptly denied.

Instead, they would allow Corrigan to fly back to the West Coast, and on July 17 he took off from Floyd Bennett field. After takeoff, he made a 180-degree turn and vanished.

Twenty-eight hours later, Corrigan landed his plane in Dublin. He stepped out of his plane and exclaimed: “Just got in from New York. Where am I?”

Seems like the sort of thing that should be remembered with suds and spirit.

As I said at the outset of this post, I’ll be having a bottle of Brooklyn Lager and a shot of Jameson tonight. Still, I think the old boy deserves a drink named after him.

I was thinking something along the lines of a Manhattan made with Irish whiskey (plus a few other little additions):

Wrong Way Corrigan
•2 ounces Irish whiskey
•1/2 oz sweet vermouth
•1/2 oz dry vermouth
•Splash lemon juice
•Dash orange bitters

Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass or serve in a lowball glass with fresh ice.

Thoughts? It’s essentially just a a perfect Manhattan with Irish whiskey and some citrus (lemon juice and orange bitters).

If this drink already exists and has a name just let me know in the comments section.

Of course, any occasion such as this is a perfect time for an Aviation Cocktail:
•Imbibe Magazine
Cold Glass

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