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Archive for the ‘Gin’ Category

by MiMi

Protest singer, jazz vocalist, pianist, temperamental diva and American civil rights heroine, Nina Simone remains one of the most important musicians in American music history.

Born Eunice Kathleen Waymon on February 21 in 1933, Simone started playing the piano at the age of four, and made her concert debut when she was just ten years old. During her recital, her parents were moved to the back of the hall to make room for white people. She refused to play until they were brought back to the front.

She wanted to be the first black concert pianist and was one of the first black women to be classically trained at Julliard. She started playing jazz and pop music in clubs in the mid-1950’s while at Julliard to supplement her income, changing her name to Nina Simone, possibly to protect her classical standing. She never intended to sing, but started when a club manager told her she would lose her job if she didn’t. She became instantly popular, and was known for her inventive style that incorporated jazz, Bach, pop, soul, folk, gospel, and show tunes.

She had a majestic onstage presence, and was known for her love/hate relationship with the audience. She sang with such raw power and soul; if you didn’t like it, you could get out.
She paid great attention to the musical expression of emotions, and could range from intense highs to melancholy tragedy in a single concert or album. She was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder in the sixties, but it was kept secret until after she died.

Simone recorded over forty albums over the course of her life, each progressing in artistic control over the next one. She becomes more and more vocal about racial prejudice over the years; after 1964 the civil rights message became standard in her recording repertoire.
She recorded songs such “Mississippi Goddam” – her response to the bombing of a church that killed four black children and covered “Strange Fruit” – Billie Holiday’s anthem about lynchings of black men in the south. After Martin Luther King, Jr. was murdered she sang “Why? The King of Love is Dead.” She turned Lorraine Hansberry’s play “To Be Young, Gifted and Black” into a civil rights song. This song became the “National Anthem of Black America.”

When you raise a glass to toast the weekend, let’s toss one back for the late, great Nina Simone, whose birthday was yesterday and whose legacy lives on in song!

Chorus Lady
Juice of 1/4 orange
1/3 Gin

1/3 French Vermouth

1/3 Italian Vermouth

Shake well and strain into a medium glass, add slice of orange and a cherry.

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by Pinky Gonzales






Ada Coleman, American Bar, London

Hanky-Panky (n. slang)

Various definitions from the Oxford English to the American Heritage Dictionaries include “questionable or underhanded activity”, “sexual dalliance”, “trickery, double-dealings”, shenanigans”, “hocus-pocus”.

I like the Hanky-Panky. It’s got a great backstory, mysterious etymology, association with our president (LUPEC Boston’s that is, not the doofball in D.C.), and is simply a fine cocktail, back from the brink of extinction.

First of all, our own “Hanky Panky” (her LUPEC alias) has turned another year older this week, so from all of us, HP: Happy Birthday! And while she may be down in NYC engaging in first-class shenanigans, here at the blog we’re spinning old records, nibbling groovy party snacks, and meditating on the origins of the following drink (whip one up & join us):

Hanky-Panky (the original, from the Savoy Cocktail Book)

2 Dashes Fernet Branca
1/2 Italian Vermouth
1/2 Dry Gin
Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass. Squeeze orange peel on top.

or, two:

Hanky-Panky (recipe courtesy of John Gertsen)

1/4 oz. Fernet Branca
1 oz. Cinzano Rosso
2 oz. Beefeater Gin

Stir and strain into a cocktail glass. Squeeze the oil from an orange peel on top.

The drink, created in the 1920’s, is a variation on the original (sweet) Martini. It nicely utilizes the herbalicious Italian liqueur Fernet Branca. In spirit, it reminds me of another punchy drink with a potentially-overwhelming-but-not herbal liqueur element, the Alaska, made with Chartreuse.

According to it’s word origins at mindlesscrap.com , “About 150 years ago, British master magicians used to swing handkerchiefs with one hand to keep viewers from noticing what they were doing with the other. This practice was so common that the use of a hanky came to be associated with any clandestine or sneaky activity. It’s thought that since magicians used the words hocus-pocus, a rhyming word was added to give it pizzazz.

Who created the Hanky Panky? The first head barman at the famed American Bar in London, who happened to be a broad named Ada Coleman. As the story goes, “Coley”, a mixologist of reputable character who could trash-talk with the best of them, invented the drink for a colorful bar regular. Coleman spoke of it herself, to a London newspaper in 1925:

The late Charles Hawtrey … was one of the best judges of cocktails that I knew. Some years ago, when he was overworking, he used to come into the bar and say, ‘Coley, I am tired. Give me something with a bit of punch in it.’ It was for him that I spent hours experimenting until I had invented a new cocktail. The next time he came in, I told him I had a new drink for him. He sipped it, and, draining the glass, he said, ‘By Jove! That is the real hanky-panky!’ And Hanky-Panky it has been called ever since.


Coleman worked at the American Bar at the swank Savoy Hotel from 1903-1926, during the cocktail’s coming-out era in Europe. Owners renamed their establishments “American Bars” as a selling point – a way of distinguishing them from mere pubs or gin-&-tonic joints. The American craft of mixing up Sazeracs, Martinis, Ramos Gin Fizzes and the like became all the rage. Coleman’s barstools saw the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Marlene Dietrich, WC Fields, Prince of Wales, and Mark Twain. I wonder if Twain was sitting at Ada’s bar when he wrote: “The cheapest and easiest way to become an influential man and be looked up to by the community at large was to stand behind a bar, wear a cluster diamond pin, and sell whiskey. I am not sure but that the saloon-keeper held a shade higher rank than any other member of society.”

Bartender Harry Craddock filled Ada’s role managing the bar in 1924, after he had left dry America for work abroad. In 1930, he published “The Savoy Cocktail Book”, an Art Deco gem & many a bartender’s Bible. In it, for the first time is the printed recipe for the Hanky-Panky.

And speaking of Bibles, check out this theory on the origin of the term hanky-panky:

“It’s been plausibly suggested that hocus-pocus is a corruption of the genuine Latin words hoc est enim corpus meum, “for this is my body,” spoken during the consecration of the Roman Catholic Mass when the wine and wafer are said to be transformed into the body and blood of Christ. Some experts, presumably non-Catholic, think hocus-pocus itself was then corrupted into the word hoax.” (Cecil Adams, from The Straight Dope)

The Catholic Church, hocus-pocus. Ada Coleman, Hanky Panky. Shenanigans. I’ll drink to that.







Hanky Panky, a.k.a. Misty Kalkofen, Head Barman at Green Street, Cambridge MA
(Photo courteousy of Matt Demers)

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It’s the romantic day of the year…according to Hallmark, anyway.

Love it or hate it, Valentine’s Day gives us all good reason to kick back a few. Here are some LUPEC approved vaguely pink concoctions to get you through:

Bourbon Belle suggests…

The French Velvet

In a champagne flute add equal parts

Guinness
Champagne or Sparkling Wine
.25 oz Chambord

Sounds like a delightfully butch take on V-Day, n’est-ce pas? Thanks, BB!

Moscow Mule didn’t think Sex on the Beach sounded dreamy & romantic enough. Instead, try…

Bachelor’s Bait

1 1/2 oz gin

1/4 grenadine

Shake in iced cocktail shaker & strain. Serve in a cocktail glass.

Is it bait for the bachelor or bait for the objet d’amour? Thanks, MM!

Now let’s all raise a glass to love and the color pink!

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It’s Mixology Monday again! This month we are, with our host Jimmy’s Cocktail Hour, exploring Variations.

Here in Boston the ladies of LUPEC have been very excited with the recent availability of the Rothman and Winter Creme de Violette. It’s always thrilling to have a new product available, but in this case this is a new old product which opens up yet another window into cocktail past. In honor of our new favorite spirit we are going to take a look at three cocktails featuring gin, creme de violette, absinthe and french vermouth.

Within my modest collection of cocktail tomes I found the first recipe for the Atty Cocktail in The Savoy Cocktail Book.
ATTY COCKTAIL
1/4 French Vermouth
3 dashes Absinthe
3/4 Dry Gin
3 dashes Creme de Violette
Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass.
Now we adore all of the ingredients in this cocktail and think it is delicious. However when looking for a cocktail to showcase the Creme de Violette this would not be our first choice so let’s continue on to some other variations…

Thumbing through Patrick Gavin Duffy’s Official Mixer’s Manual we find the Attention Cocktail.
ATTENTION COCKTAIL
1/4 French Vermouth
1/4 Absinthe
1/4 Gin
1/4 Creme de Violette
2 Dashes Orange Bitters
Stir well with cracked ice and strain.
Once again, all things we love, but equal parts doesn’t really work for us. The strength of the Absinthe overpowers the other ingredients.

Jones’ Complete Bar Guide has the following recipe:
ATTENTION
1 oz gin
1/2 oz Pernod
1/2 oz dry vermouth
1/2 oz creme de violette
2 dashes orange bitters
Ah…we’re getting closer. The increase in the base spirit created a nice platform for the other flavors. Truth be told, we used Ricard instead of Pernod…desperate times call for desperate measures. The Ricard still was a bit powerful, but seemed to complement the Creme de Violette rather than battle it as was the case with Absinthe.

Sticking with Mr Jones we find the Arsenic and Old Lace. From the name alone we have very high hopes!
ARSENIC AND OLD LACE
1-1/2 oz Gin
1/2 oz Absinthe or substitute
1/4 oz dry vermouth
1/2 oz creme de violette
Once again we used Ricard and it was good, but we miss the bitters.

So in conclusion, there is no conclusion. As women dedicated to our cause we will happily continue our research!

Cheers!

Oh my goodness! I almost forgot two very important things!

A huge shout out to Eric Seed, the man behind the availability of Creme de Violette. Besides having the cutest daughter in the world who claps when she eats head cheese, through Haus Alpenz he is making amazing products available to us! Please check out his website and encourage your local retailers and bars to carry his products.

For an updated variation on the Arsenic and Old Lace head over to this post on Cocktail Chronicles where Paul Clarke checks out Simon Difford’s Flower Power Martini.

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In 1917 General “Black Jack” Pershing began his search for bilingual switchboard operators to improve communication between commanders and troops on the European front. The women needed to speak French, be college educated and single. Over 7000 women applied and 450 were selected. Upon completion of military and Signal Corps training at Camp Franklin Maryland the ladies were issued their Army regulation uniforms complete with US crests, Signal Corps crests and dog tags.

By the end of the war over 200 women had served oversees as part of the Hello Girls. The women had been sworn into service, were considered combatants and one of their own, Grace Banker, was awarded the Distinguished Medal of Service by Congress. However, upon returning to the States the Hello Girls were denied veteran status as all military regulations had been written in the male gender. One of the operators, Mearle Eagan Anderson, spent fifty years advocating on behalf of the Hello Girls. Her diligence was rewarded in 1978 when President Jimmy Carter signed a bill recognizing the service of the Hello Girls and awarding them veterans status.

And now a (Mixology Monday) toast to our bilingual fore-broads!

The French 75
2 oz Gin
1 oz fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons sugar or 1 tsp simple syrup
Champagne

Shake the gin, lemon juice, and sugar in an iced cocktail shaker. Strain into a champagne flute. Fill with Champagne. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Cheers!

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Last night the lovely ladies of LUPEC Boston gathered at the home of Pinky Gonzalez to raise our glasses to the women of New Orleans. We nibbled on Shrimp “Arnaud,” fried okra, fried oysters, jalapeno cornbread, and “Bananas in Jackets”/”Nuts in Sticks.” And we washed it all down with the following delicious cocktails!

Pimm’s Cup
Pimm’s No 1
Lemon Juice
Simple Syrup
Ginger Ale
English Cucumber

Obituary Cocktail
2 parts Gin
1/4 part Dry Vermouth
1/4 part Absinthe
Stir and Strain

New Iberia Cocktail
2 parts Brandy
1 part French Vermouth
1 part Sherry
3 drops Tabasco
Shake and Strain

Sazerac
1 sugar cube
7 drops Peychaud Bitters
1/2 oz water
2 oz Rye
Splash of Herbsaint
Muddle the sugar cube, bitters and water in a mixing glass. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add rye. Stir with ic e for 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled old fashioned glass that has been rinsed with Herbsaint. Garnish with oil from a lemon peel.

(Shake Your Own) Ramos Gin Fizz
Egg White
2 parts Gin
1 part Simple Syrup
1/2 part Lemon Juice
1/2 part Lime Juice
3 drops Orange Blossom Water
1 1/2 part Cream
Club Soda
Put all of the ingredients except cream and ice into a shaker. Shake. Add the cream and ice. Shake hard for 10 minutes. Strain into a collins glass leaving 1/2 an inch for soda. Add soda and garnish with a long orange spiral.

Vieux Carre
(created by Walter Bergeron, Head Bartender, Hotel Monteleone c 1937)
1/2 tsp Benedictine
dash Peychaud’s
dash Angostura
1/3 Rye
1/3 Cognac
1/3 Italian Vermouth
Stir and Strain

Keep checking back this week for posts about the great broads of New Orleans!

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Born in Chicago on June 18, 1895, Blanche Sweet was one of the great actresses of silent film. Although not as well known as her contemporaries, Mary Pickford and Lillian Gish, Sweet made over 120 films.

Born into a show business family, Sweet was first carried onto the stage when she was eighteen months. She spent her childhood dancing with the Gertrude Hoffman troupe and made her film debut at the age of 14. Sweet worked for several film houses during her long career, including American Biograph. At that time performers’ names were not listed in the credits, so she became known as the Biograph Blonde. She gained a place in history in 1913 when she starred in America’s first full length feature film, Judith of Bethulia. One of Sweet’s most famous roles was the lead in the first film version of “Anna Christie,” the first Eugene O’Neill play to reach the screen. Although she had a beautiful speaking and singing voice, Sweet’s career plunged with the advent of “talkies” as movie executives began promoting new performers to draw attention to the new style of film.

Now a toast to Blanche Sweet, the Biograph Blonde.

Soft and Sweet
1 oz Gin
1 oz Orange Juice
.5 oz Amer Picon
.5 oz Curacao
Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Cheers!

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