The Savoy Cocktail Book has been pretty well mined for century-old examples of classic cocktailing, and yet there are still a few attractive wallflowers that don’t get any attention. One of my favorites among these little charmers is the Ray Long Cocktail.
My uncle was a pilot. Hal flew light, high-wing planes, the type you’d fly into northern Ontario to hunt moose. A couple times a year, he’d fly to visit us, landing in Trimble’s pasture across the road from our house. A low fly-over to let us know he was there, a tight turn over the telephone lines, and there he’d be, roaring across the clover to park by the electric fence next to our mailbox. He knew how to make an exciting entry.
I’ve never been a follower of American horse racing, but I do enjoy the hype and pageantry of the three-race set known as the “Triple Crown” — in the US, it’s the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes.
The Kentucky Derby falls near my birthday, so for decades my birthday partly has been a Derby-watching event, replete with fancy outfits, good hats and, especially, whiskey juleps. The Mint Julep is the universally accepted symbol of the Derby, and the Run for the Roses starts the ice-crushing season right.
There have been many drinks bearing the name Automobile Cocktail. Two of them are particularly interesting.
One of the lasting icons of World War II is the public image of Winston Churchill—short, round, with a fat cigar clamped pugnaciously in his jaw.
And that ubiquitous, two-fingered “V” salute that became shorthand for the hope and courage of Allied soldiers and civilians alike.
But more significantly, I discovered that rye whiskey and brandy go astonishingly well together.
And the knowledge of that happy combination led to delight when I came across Brian Miller’s riff on the Old-Fashioned, the Conference cocktail.