It’s summer of 1883 in Washington DC. The air shines and wavers; you can see it, and you can smell it—the horses, the pavement, the flats of the Potomac River. A few blocks from the White House, on a section of E Street known as “Rum Row,” the dive bars are filling up with journalists, lobbyists, and any legislators who haven’t left town. At Shoomaker’s Bar, sometimes described as the “third room of Congress”, George Williamson is mixing drinks. On the other side of his bar stands Joe Rickey—“Colonel” Joe Rickey of Missouri—who is about to become that rarest of all things, a man with an entire category of drinks named after him.
There have been many drinks bearing the name Automobile Cocktail. Two of them are particularly interesting.
The French 75 Cocktail is a tribute to the 75mm artillery piece that the French and Americans fielded in World War I. Its story is a reminder that cocktails evolve; sometimes good things are lost, sometimes good things are gained. In the case of the French 75 cocktail, both things happened.
I never knew anyone who actually built a Cold War bomb shelter, though I do recall the very useful hide-under-your-desk drills in grade school. It didn’t occur to me at the time that I was one of millions of Americans living in harm’s way with respect to our open-air atomic tests and their fallout. Continue reading “Under my desk with the Atomic Cocktail”
OK, so you have champagne for your New Year’s brunch. Seems a little blah, doesn’t it? Try the Champagne Cocktail instead.
The Champagne Cocktail is one of the oldest of cocktails, and one of the quickest and easiest to make. It turns a glass of everyday champagne into a much more sophisticated flavor treat. Continue reading “The Champagne Cocktail”
It’s the Seelbach Cocktail‘s extraordinary ingredient list that caught my eye. The Seelbach is a champagne-based cocktail, which in itself is uncommon—there are only a handful of champagne cocktails in the canon. And it includes a healthy dose of bourbon as homage to its Kentucky heritage. But the shocker is that it also includes seven dashes—seven—of Angostura bitters.
But wait, there’s more: we need seven dashes of Peychaud’s, too. What th’…? Continue reading “Got bitters? — the Seelbach Cocktail”
You could think of the Old Cuban as a Mojito for grown-ups—more refined, more complex, and more sophisticated than the popular, tall summer drink. It starts with the same set of fundamental flavors—rum, sugar, mint, lime, soda—but expands on them to arrive at a delicious and memorable cocktail. Continue reading “The Old Cuban Cocktail”
We first encountered the French Pear Cocktail at one of our local restaurant bars. It was part of the promotional blitz that made St. Germaine the darling of cocktail inventors for awhile. The French Pear was floral, fruity, and champagne bright—springtime in a glass—so we set about to reconstruct it. Continue reading “French Pear Cocktail”