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.
The Lucien Gaudin Cocktail is a tribute to the skill and success of one of France’s national fencing champions. He first made his name in the very early twentieth century, went on to become European and world champion, then won two gold medals in the 1924 Olympics, and two more in 1928. A couple more silver medals made him one of the most decorated French medalists in the history of the Olympics.
Relatively few cocktails use honey as a sweetener. I suspect honey’s assertive and variable flavor is the likely reason—cane sugar’s simplicity and predictability make it a more attractive standard for amending cocktails.
But honey is one of Summer’s great delights, and there are some cocktails that include it.
The best known is the Prohibition-era’s Bee’s Knees. Continue reading “Mixing with honey: the Bee’s Knees”
In an earlier article, I wrote about the Full House Cocktail—complex, herbal, strong, and sweet. A little too sweet for me, so I looked at easy ways to cut that sweetness back.
After a certain amount of rejiggering, I ended up with a drier formula. The result nagged at me a little, because it seemed familiar. I finally got time to do a little research, and there it was: George J. Kappeler’s “The Widow’s Kiss.” Continue reading “The Widow’s Kiss”
Sloe gin has a lousy reputation. Red, sugary, and fruity, it is a hallmark of sweet, pink, “girlie” Spring Break drinks with lurid and lascivious names. Continue reading “The Savoy Tango — sloe gin’s revenge”