Rowdy Inaugural Party Punch

“Inaugurations are jolly events,” Judith Martin wrote in “Miss Manners’ Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior.” But they are not without their hassles, including “messy weather” and “spectator events you can’t see.” But traditionally, the most chaotic challenge at inaugural festivities has been the quest to get a cocktail. Drinks are “acquired after massive physical exertion only to be spilled on one’s best clothes.” Which is why Miss Manners suggests that inaugurations have less in common with coronations than they do with football weekends.

Come this evening, there will be plenty of drinking opportunities. The day promises to be remarkably boozy, but probably not quite the bash seen after Andrew Jackson’s inauguration, when a parched mob followed him back into the White House.

“A monstrous crowd of people is in the city,” Daniel Webster wrote his sister-in-law from Washington on Inauguration Day, 1829. “I never saw any thing like it before. Persons have come five hundred miles to see General Jackson; and they really seem to think that the country is rescued from some dreadful danger.” The president-elect struggled to get to the Capitol, what with the throngs surrounding his lodgings, Gadsby’s Tavern. After the oath and his address, the old general climbed on his horse and headed for the White House. The multitude went with him. As one witness told it, “The President was literally pursued by a motley concourse of people, riding, running helter-skelter, striving who should first gain admittance into the executive mansion, where it was understood that refreshments were to be distributed.”

The unruly bunch pushed into the White House, clods standing on the silk-upholstered furniture in muddy boots to get a glimpse of the new president (who was up against a wall, busy trying not to be crushed by his well-wishers). “The reign of King Mob seemed triumphant,” wrote Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story, appalled. “I was glad to escape from the scene as soon as possible.” But the madness reached its zenith (or nadir) when the stewards finally delivered the refreshments, buckets full of Orange Punch. The crowd lunged for the pails, overturning furniture, smashing the glassware, and — perhaps worst of all — spilling the punch itself. Luckily, barrels and barrels of the stuff had been prepared, and quick-thinking waiters lugged the remaining punch out onto the White House lawn, enticing Jackson’s raucous admirers to take the party outside.

I scoured 19th century cookbooks for Orange Punch recipes, and found the instructions to be fairly consistent: make a sugar syrup and infuse it with orange peel; use it to sweeten a mix of orange juice, lemon juice, rum, and brandy. Some also added a taste of orange curaçao (which tasted to me like orangey overkill) or maraschino liqueur. As specified, the drink isn’t bad, but it isn’t anything I would trample White House furniture to get at. And so I did a little tweaking here and there. To get away from the relentless citrus one-note I flavored the sugar syrup not only with orange peel, but also with mulling spices (cinnamon sticks, allspice berries, and whole cloves). The punch was also a bit too heavy and needed to be brightened, which was easily accomplished with the judicious addition of soda water. And to counteract the drink’s tendency toward over-sweetness, I added a dash of Angostura bitters to each glass.

I’ve given the recipe in proportions, easy to make by the bucketful if you’ve got a mob of your own to serve inauguration day.

Inaugural Orange Punch

3 parts fresh orange juice

1 part fresh lemon juice

1 part mulled orange syrup (see below)

1 part dark rum

1 part cognac

2 parts soda water

Combine in a punch bowl with a large block of ice. Serve in punch cups with a little crushed ice, and give each glass a dash of Angostura bitters.

Mulled Orange Syrup

Combine 1 cup sugar with 1 cup water and heat to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce heat to a low simmer. Add the peel from an orange and mulling spices (a couple of cinnamon sticks, some whole cloves and allspice berries). After 15 minutes, remove from heat and let it sit for several hours. Strain.

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Athletes Doping vs Athletes Boozing

The Lance Armstrong mea culpa is slated to air Thursday. It is yet another example of the elaborate, sophisticated methods modern athletes have to boost their performance. It wasn’t so long ago, however, that the performance-enhancing drug of choice was alcohol (or at least cocktails, the active ingredients of which were not always the product of grain or grape).

Take Thomas Hicks, who never would have crossed the finish line in the 1904 Olympic marathon if it hadn’t been for the cocktails he drank on the course – concoctions that nearly killed him.

A nearly dead Thomas Hicks, who ran the 1904 Olympic marathon with the help of a potentially lethal cocktail

The race that day in St. Louis wasn’t exactly runner-friendly. Most of marathon was on dirt roads, with spectators riding ahead in automobiles, kicking up thick, choking clouds of dust. One runner ingested so much dirt that he collapsed with a stomach hemorrhage.

The sweltering August heat in Missouri notwithstanding, there was water for the athletes at only two spots along the way. But Hicks’s coach came prepared. He had water with which to sponge his runner. And, according to David Martin and Roger Gynn’s history, “The Olympic Marathon,” he had a peculiar cocktail at the ready. When Hicks flagged at about mile 19, his coach dosed him with a drink of cognac, egg whites, and 1/60th grain sulphate of strychnine. Now, rat poison is well known to cause convulsions and death in even small quantities, but such a tiny amount was thought by the pharmacological geniuses of the era to be just the right stimulant to give a runner some extra pep. And so when Hicks began to fail with a couple of miles to go, his coach gave him the cocktail again. A third dose and Hicks likely would have died on the spot.

Even juiced on strychnine, Hicks wasn’t the first man to finish. That honor went to Frederick Lorz – the original Rosie Ruiz. Just before First Lady Alice Roosevelt was to hang a gold medal around his neck, it was discovered that Lorz had hopped in a car on the course, enjoying a leisurely ride from mile 9 to mile 18. And so the medal went to a nearly catatonic Hicks, who was promptly raced to a hospital.

Three decades later, alcohol was no longer allowed for American athletes, on or off the course. American swimmer Eleanor Holm Jarrett learned it the hard way.

As the 1936 Berlin games approached, Holm Jarrett wasn’t just the reigning Olympic champion in the women’s 100-meter backstroke, she was also a champion partier. Married to a third-rate bandleader – with whose band she would appear, dressed in a white bathing suit and Stetson, singing “I’m an Old Cow Hand” –  Holm Jarrett was used to nightclubbing into the wee hours. Onboard the S.S. Manhattan, sailing for the Olympics with the rest of the U.S. athletes, the wee hours found Holm Jarrett drinking champagne and shooting craps with the press pool. American Olympic Committee chairman Avery Brundage concluded the swimmer was a “bad example” and kicked her off the team.

Holm Jarrett tried to get herself reinstated: “I’ve never made any secret of the fact that I like a good time, particularly champagne.” She pointed out that not only were the other athletes drinking their share at the nightly cocktail parties, “the officer-members of the Olympic party disgraced themselves” with drunkenness. For some reason, this line of appeal failed to sway the American Olympic Committee.

“I was heartbroken,” Holm Jarrett would later recount, but she made the best of the celebrity that the scandal gave her. “He did make me famous,” she said of the Olympic team boss. “I would have been just another female backstroke swimmer without Brundage.” Soon after the fiasco, she ditched the bandleader and married impresario Billy Rose.

Holm Jarrett was hardly the first Olympic athlete to get in trouble for drinking. The following rule was carved in stone at the stadium at Delphi: “Wine is prohibited in the vicinity of the dromos,” or race track. Also chiseled into the 5th century B.C. wall was a lapidary punishment for violators. An Olympian caught bibbing had to make a sacrifice, pour some sacramental wine on the ground, and pay a fine – “half to Apollo and half to the informer.”

So clearly Lance Armstrong is in a long tradition of athletes getting ratted out to the authorities.

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Bottled in (James) Bond

Daniel Craig is no George Lazenby, thank goodness. But the new James Bond movie, “Skyfall,” isn’t without its detractors, fans who complain 007 has been metrosexualized.

The one issue I’ll take with the new Bond representation is his taste for Heineken, and not because of some wrongheaded notion that the secret agent is too sophisticated to drink beer (the Bond of Ian Fleming’s novels was no stranger to beer). No, the problem is that Heineken is a culturally generic product, one that creates neither a sense of character nor locale. The green bottle, in short, misses the whole point of why Bond drinks.

It isn’t long into “Dr. No” – the first of the James Bond books made into a movie – that Sean Connery is brought “One medium dry vodka martini, mixed like you said, sir, and not stirred.” That drink formula would soon become an iconic part of the Bond mystique. Later, through sheer repetition, Bond’s vodka martini became a tired punchline, as dull and formulaic as the post-Connery-pre-Craig Bond pictures themselves.

But the secret agent found in Ian Fleming’s books isn’t quite the slave of habit that the movie producers (with their lucrative product-placement deals) made him out to be.  The producers would do better to look to the original books to freshen Mr. Bond’s glass.

James Bond’s first drink on record occurs some 30 pages into Fleming’s debut novel, “Casino Royale.” 007 strolls into a bar at a French resort hotel – a bar full of fashionable young lovelies drinking dry gin Martinis, no less – and he orders…an Americano.

An Americano, of course, is made of Campari, sweet vermouth, and soda water over ice in a highball glass. One of my favorite cocktails, with its perfect balance of bitter and sweet, the Americano is admittedly an acquired taste – or in the case of my wife, a taste she has chosen not to acquire. The drink was so popular among Americans visiting Italy at the turn of the last century that it was named after them. The Americano was once even bottled as a pre-made cocktail. Nowadays it is obscure enough to be a fair test of your favorite bartender’s skills.

Bond’s taste for Americano highballs is explained in the short story “From a View to a Kill,” which starts with Bond licensed to kill time in Paris. “One cannot drink seriously in French cafes,” Fleming writes. “Out of doors on a pavement in the sun is no place for vodka or whisky or gin.” Instead, one makes the best of the “musical comedy drinks” appropriate to the venue, in which case “Bond always had the same thing – an Americano.”

Fleming knew that in drink no less than food, it pays to play to an establishment’s strength. I wouldn’t ask for foie gras at Bob’s Country Bunker. And were he to pull up to Bob’s bar, Bond wouldn’t waste his time elucidating the comparative virtues of shaking versus stirring; he’d just order a Miller High Life (as he does at a roadhouse lunch with Felix Leiter in “Diamonds Are Forever”) and toss his empty bottle at the band.

When in Jamaica, 007 favors gin-and-tonics extra heavy on juice from the island’s fresh limes. When Bond trails Auric Goldfinger to Geneva, he relaxes with a tot of Enzian, “the firewater distilled from gentian,” the root of an Alpine wildflower. In the Athens airport he knocks back Ouzo; in Turkey it’s Raki. At Saratoga racetrack, the secret agent blends in with the thoroughbred set by drinking Old-Fashioneds and “Bourbon and branch” (ie, Bourbon and water). And when Bond goes out to lunch in London, he orders up one of the most distinctively British of mixed drinks, a Black Velvet. Equal parts champagne and Guinness stout, a Black Velvet might sound awful in concept, but proves to be startlingly good in the drinking – I find it tastes curiously and deliciously like hard cider.

This is the problem with putting Heineken in Bond’s hand. Heineken is such an international brand, it has no connotations of place. At a bar with a Heineken, you might be in LA or Mumbai — the beer tells you nothing about where you are. And thus the drink fails to fulfill the purpose Fleming had with Bond’s drinking, which was to make the spy’s world travels seem vivid and real through his consumption of the local booze, whatever the locality.

Which isn’t to say that 007 always bows to local custom. In “Casino Royale” James Bond for the first and only time tries his hand inventing a drink, a “special martini” he specifies to the barman thusly: “Three measures of Gordon’s [gin], one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel. Got it?” Later, he names it a “Vesper,” in honor of his doomed love-interest, fellow British agent Vesper Lynd. When Bond finds out she’d been working for the Russkies, the cocktail is as dead to him as the girl.

The Vesper is not without controversy. No less a worthy than the great post-war British novelist Kingsley Amis declares the Vesper to be one of Fleming’s only missteps in the drinking department. Amis was a connoisseur both of drinks and of the Bond books, authoring two books on drinking and a small, semi-scholarly musing on 007 called “The James Bond Dossier.” Amis was also the first (and best) ghostwriter to pen a Bond novel after Fleming kicked. So we must take it seriously when Amis denounces Fleming’s Vesper recipe as “the great Martini enormity.”

“Kina Lillet is, or was, the name of a wine apéritif flavored, I’m assured, with quinine and not at all nice,” Amis writes in his “Bond Dossier.” “I’ve never drunk it myself and don’t intend to, especially as part of a Martini.” The best Amis can figure is that Fleming must have meant for Bond to specify the vermouth made by the Lillet firm, as opposed to the company’s signature aperitif.

It’s a shame Amis never gave Lillet a chance. (It’s usually a good idea to taste a drink before proclaiming it to be nasty.) Lillet Blanc, as the white-wine version of the aperitif is now known, is delightful on its own (if a bit sweet), and absolutely spot-on in the Vesper. With vermouth instead of Lillet, the drink is just a hybrid gin-vodka Martini, hardly warranting Bond’s confidence that “my cocktail will now be drunk all over the world.” But with Lillet, the Vesper does have a unique and appealing taste. And, it’s worth noting that Bond was hardly the first to use Lillet in a cocktail with gin. A classic 1920’s drink called the Corpse Reviver #2 combined equal parts gin, Lillet, Cointreau and lemon juice, finished with a couple of drops of Ricard.

Even with all these worldly drink choices to try, no doubt many Bond stalwarts will still want to stick with the talismanic Vodka Martini. Ask for a Vodka Martini these days, and chances are the drink will have little or no vermouth, which just won’t do. Bond liked to be able to taste the vermouth, and had his preferred ratio of vodka to vermouth at the ready: “I hope I’ve made it right,” says Solitaire in “Live and Let Die,” mixing Vodka Martinis for herself and a battered Bond. “Six to one sounds terribly strong.” Well, it sounds right to me, if you don’t forget the lemon peel.

 

Americano Highball

1-1/2 oz Campari

1-1/2 oz sweet vermouth

soda water

pour Campari and vermouth over ice in a highball glass. Top with soda water. Garnish with orange peel.

 

Black Velvet

½ Champagne

½ Guinness Stout

Pour  equal parts champagne and stout into a tall beer glass.

 

Vesper

3 oz Gin

1 oz Vodka

½ oz Lillet Blanc

Shake over ice and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with “a large, thin slice of lemon peel.”

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Bearding Old Scratch

Halloween now rivals St. Patrick’s Day as a drinking holiday and – untethered as it is from green beer and Irish whisky – the fright night has become a preeminent cocktail occasion. But I must admit I have a horror of the drinks commonly put forward for spooky sipping. For starters, there is the unfortunate reliance on frightful shtick, as when the Martha Stewart crowd suggests making green drinks that bubble, serving them in beakers and laboratory flasks. But for the most part, the problem is just lousy drinks – a devilment I hope we can exorcise with a classic cocktail that’s dying to become the drink of the season.

Some Halloween party advisors can’t help but suggest the sanguinary Bloody Mary. Not bad, but not particularly successful at the witching hour — the brunchy old Bloody isn’t exactly designed for consuming after six.

Others push the candy theme. The last few years have seen such morbidly sugary things as the Jolly Rancher (with green apple-flavored vodka) the Gummy Worm Martini (made from – ugh –  mango vodka, raspberry vodka, blue curacao and Sprite), and the Tootsie Roll, an abomination assembled out of something called “chocolate vodka,” Amaretto, and chocolate syrup.

Nor has there been any shortage of drinks with pumpkin themes or flavors. Among them the Jack-O-Tini (bourbon, sour-apple schnapps and cranberry juice), the Jack O’Lantern (tequila, Baileys, and Kahlúa), and, riffing on the Spanish word for pumpkin, the Calabatini  (tequila, Monin pumpkin spice syrup and half-and-half). Alas, my personal taste is for eating pumpkin pie, not drinking it.

Among this year’s holiday offerings are various drinks labeled Witches Brew. Typical is a punch made with of spiced rum, orange soda, pineapple juice and orange sherbet. And if that isn’t sweet enough, how about a Halloween highball called Dracula’s Kiss (black cherry vodka, grenadine and Coke)?

All of the above strike me as more tricks than treats. Not that it comes as a surprise. Take a children’s romp and ramp it up into a fancy-dress bacchanal and what do you expect? It’s hardly the formula for sophisticated cocktails. And yet, not every drink promoted for Halloween this year is doleful (a remarkable development that is, in a way, some of the best evidence yet that the quality of cocktails is on the rise). There are plenty of artisanal cocktail shops putting together a better sort of spooky-themed drink. For example, the Austin Chronicle has a round up of local holiday specials that includes a drink called the Haunted Honeymoon from a bar called Drink.Well (tea-infused applejack, Campari, dry curaçao, fresh lemon juice, Bénédictine and bitters).

But I still think that the official drink of Halloween should be a 1920s classic called Satan’s Whiskers. The name comes from what was once a common exclamation (from back in the days when exclamations were rather more elaborate, employing, as they did,  more than four letters). The original drink can be found in Harry Craddock’s 1930 Savoy Cocktail Book, which compiled the recipes that were served to thirsty Americans when they visited the bar at London’s Savoy Hotel. Craddock’s guide included two recipes for Satan’s Whiskers, one “straight,” the other “curled” (a variety that suggests the drink did boffo box office). The recipes had in common gin, sweet vermouth, dry vermouth, orange juice, and orange bitters. The remaining ingredient – one or another sort of orange liqueur – made for the difference in nomenclature: Add Grand Marnier and you get a straight Satan’s Whiskers; use orange curaçao and the whiskers are curled.

Washington, DC barman Owen Thomson makes a killer Satan’s Whiskers, and achieves it by ever-so-slightly tweaking the original recipe.  Craddock called for using equal parts of the gin, vermouths, and juice, with a half-part of the orange liqueur. And that may be the best call when using orange curaçao. But Mr. Thomson found that in using Grand Marnier, equal parts made for a better, more balanced drink. It is a cocktail he likes to make for people who think they don’t like gin. “If they like Satan’s Whiskers,” Mr. Thomson once told me, they’ll enjoy its cousin, the Bronx, and “then you’re almost at a Martini or Martinez.”

Make the Satan’s Whiskers at home and you will be tempted (is that Screwtape or Wormwood on your shoulder?) to use orange juice out of a carton. That way damnation lies (well, that or at least a pallid and unsatisfying cocktail, which is plenty bad enough). You really must squeeze fresh orange juice — blood oranges, if only they were in season — for the drink to work at all. Forget the curled version of Satan’s Whiskers and stick with the Grand Marnier.

One last point on the drink: Don’t forget the orange bitters, and avoid the mistake of substituting Angostura.

Satan’s Whiskers is a superb drink appropriate to any time of year. But give the devil his due and try it Wednesday night.

 

Satan’s Whiskers

½ oz gin

½ oz dry vermouth

½ oz sweet vermouth

½ oz freshly squeezed orange juice

½ oz Grand Marnier

1 dash orange bitters

Stir with ice until bitingly cold and then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with orange twist. 


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Papa Likes His Martinis Cold

Ernest Hemingway was a man of extremes when it came to Martinis. It wasn’t enough for a Martini to be dry, it had to be positively desiccated — which meant, in practice, a glass of cold Gordon’s gin and a garnish, with only the faintest whispered suggestion of vermouth. I can’t say I embrace the categorical dryness imperative, but Papa’s other Martini mania was spot on — an obsession with extreme coldness.

Writing from his house in Cuba, Hemingway bragged to his publisher, Charles Scribner, about the coldness of the Martinis he was making in the tropics: “We…have found a way of making ice in the deep-freeze in tennis ball tubes that comes out 15 degrees below zero and with the glasses frozen too makes the coldest martini in the world.” To others he raved the “whole drink comes out so cold you can’t hold it in your hand. It sticks to the fingers.”

These details can be found in a worthy new book by cocktail historian Philip Greene, “To Have and Have Another: A Hemingway Cocktail Companion.” Mr. Greene amiably catalogs drinks that Hemingway drank, drinks his friends enjoyed, and the beverages that  Hemingway characterized his characters with. There are classics and obscurities and even a few absurdities (including a Hemingway original that combined vodka, gin, tequila, rum, and Scotch with a little bit of tomato and lime juice).

Enjoyable and informative, Mr. Greene’s book also has this going for it: The author correctly concludes that the famous claim Hemingway drank Mojitos at a place called La Bodeguita del Medio is a laughable fraud

Now, to go make an impossibly cold Martini…

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The Electioneering Potion

No one knows when or where the first drink called a cocktail was mixed. But, with the 2012 election fast upon us, it is worth noting that it was in the context of an election that, over 206 years ago, the first full-blown description of a “cock-tail” made it into print.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word “cocktail” first appeared in 1803, in a publication called the “Farmer’s Cabinet,” but there was no explanation of what sort of drink this cocktail was, other than that it was “excellent for the head.” It was in 1806 that the word turned up again, this time in “The Balance and Columbian Repository,” a Federalist newspaper in Hudson, New York, where it figured in one of the paper’s regular jibes at the party of President Thomas Jefferson.

“Rum! Rum! Rum!” read the headline in the May 6th paper. “It is conjectured, that the price of this precious liquor will soon rise at Claverack,” the Balance wrote, given that a candidate there for the state legislature must have used up the town’s stocks of alcohol in a frenzy of boozy vote-buying. According to The Balance, the candidate had served up 720 rum-grogs, 17 dozen brandies, 32 gin-slings, 411 glasses of bitters and 25 dozen “cock-tails.” But all this generosity with refreshment was for naught, the newspaper teased, as the candidate lost.

A reader of the paper helpfully inquired, writing he had heard of a “phlegm-cutter and fog driver, of wetting the whistle, of moistening the clay, of a fillip, a spur in the head, quenching a spark in the throat,” but “never did I hear of cock tail before.” On May 13, the editor of the Balance responded that he made “it a point, never to publish anything (under my editorial head) but which I can explain.” A cock-tail is “vulgarly called a bittered sling,” he explained. That is, the drink is “a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water and bitters.”

The editor of the Balance was a man named Harry Croswell, and he had reason to be emphatic that he never published anything that he couldn’t back up. He had been prosecuted just two years before on charges of “criminal libel” for publishing disparaging copy about Jefferson – a case that provoked fundamental changes in the protection of press freedoms.

Harry Croswell had been happy to reprint all sorts of gossip about Jefferson, including the rumor that the president canoodled with Sally Hemings. Croswell also reported that Jefferson had given money to a man named James Callender, who had authored a notorious screed against George Washington, “The Prospect Before Us.” Callender’s pamphlet had tarnished Washington and his successor, John Adams, enough to help win the election of 1800 for Jefferson. Croswell was one of several newspapermen to make a blunt accusation of dirty tricks: “Jefferson paid Callender for calling Washington a traitor, a robber, and a perjurer.”

And we think modern campaigns are ugly.

The Callender affair was starting to get uncomfortable, and Jefferson decided to go after the noisome Federalist newspapers – or rather, he quietly asked his cronies at the state level do it for him. He wrote to his friend the governor of Pennsylvania that the “press ought to be restored to its credibility” and urged him that “I have therefore long thought that a few prosecutions of the most prominent offenders would have a wholesome effect.” Prosecutors in several states obliged, including New York, where Harry Croswell was charged with “deceitfully, wickedly and maliciously devising…to detract from, scandalize, traduce, and vilify” Thomas Jefferson.

Croswell’s defense was a simple one: Jefferson had indeed given the anti-Washington scribbler Callender $100. The defense team asked to bring Callender into the court to confirm as much under oath. But the judge ruled, “the truth of the matter published cannot be given in evidence.” The jury found the editor guilty.

Croswell’s appeal was argued by Alexander Hamilton himself. In a bravura six-hour oration stretching over two days, Hamilton demanded to know “whether Mr. Jefferson be guilty or not of so foul an act as the one charged,” The press could not be free if it could not publish the truth, he said, even if that truth cast an unflattering light “on government or individuals.” Three of the four judges hearing the appeal were Jeffersonians: The court let Croswell’s conviction stand. But swayed by Hamilton’s eloquence, the New York legislature promptly passed a new law making the truth a trump in libel cases. The People v. Croswell remains essential reading in Press Law 101.

Two years after his trial for criminal libel, Croswell was still sticking it to the party of Jefferson. And so, in response to the reader inquiring as to the nature of this new-fangled “cock-tail,” Croswell wrote that a cock-tail “is supposed to be an excellent electioneering potion inasmuch as it renders the heart stout and bold, at the same time that it fuddles the head.” And then  “It is said also, to be of great use to a democratic candidate: because, a person having swallowed a glass of it, is ready to swallow any thing else.”

As Croswell described them, the “gin slings” bought by the candidate in Claverack would have been a pretty simple affair – liquor, sugar and water. Add bitters and you got a “cock-tail.”  Some 200+ years later, it remains a fundamental formula for cocktail construction. (What is the essence of an Old-Fashioned, if not this most old-fashioned of cocktails?) It’s no longer Hoyle to ply voters with drink. But come the late hours of November 6th, when the election results are in, this most American of drinks will come in handy either for those celebrating, or those looking to fuddle their heads into a little forgetfulness.

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