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Archive for the ‘Women’s History’ Category

texas-guinan-photo-post-cardWith the 75th Anniversary of Prohibition’s Repeal upon us, the ladies of LUPEC turn our thoughts to late, great Prohibition-era forebroads like Texas Guinan. We wrote a brief bio of the little devil in this week’s Dig; to read more about this actress-turned-Speakeasy-owner, check out Pinky Gonzales’ Women’s History Month toast on Tex.

Here are a few more fun facts* on the ol’ gal, for your reading pleasure:

  • When the Depression hit, Texas and the 40 chorus girls who worked her Speakeasy took the show on the road with plans to open in Paris. She was denied the permits necessary to open and entry to France. Ever the savvy marketer, Texas simply dubbed the show “Too Hot for Paris” and took the U.S. by storm.
  • “Miss Guinan was one of the finest and most grateful patients I have ever attended,” Dr. J. A. Machlachlan, who attended to Tex on her deathbed, told the New York Times. “She told me she had never touched alcohol in her life.”
  • Though she was infamous for having her joints raided and even padlocked by the fuzz, Tex never admitted to serving alcohol in her clubs.
  • Guinan has been credited with adding such gems to the vernacular as “butter and egg men” (to describe her well-heeled patrons) and for asking club goers to “give the little ladies a great, big hand.”
  • Texas closely studied contemporaries Lillian Russell and Mae West, and “while all three women could sing and act, only Texas could ride a horse (named Pieface) and shoot.”

*By facts we mean items we dredged up on her from old New York Times clippings and the Web. Tex wastexas_guinan-b larger than life and was commonly remembered that way; we invite you to take these anecdotes with a grain of salt.

Boston kicks off celebrations for the 75th Anniversary of Repeal Day TONIGHT at Eastern Standard! The staff will transform the restaurant into a Jazz Age Speakeasy, complete with barricaded entrance and guys and dolls dressed to the nines. Entrance to this party will cost ‘ya – $120 gets you pre-dinner canapes and cocktails (at 6:30 p.m.), dinner and cocktails (at 7:30 p.m.), dancing and more cocktails, with a late-night breakfast served for the last ones still standing circa-1 a.m. If you can’t make the scene ’til later, $40 gets you in for drinks, dancing, and mayhem at 10 p.m. Rumor has it Texas Guinan herself might be there – will you?

The actual anniversary of Prohibition’s Repeal is tomorrow, so you can keep the party going all night/day/night if you like. Why not stop toast Prohibition’s Repeal at a venue that occupies a former speakeasy’s space? The Marliave downtown fits this bill, as does Stanza dei Sigari in the North End. And remember, it’s always more fun if you dress up.

Cin cin!

Web

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The ladies of LUPEC Boston are thrilled to honor the hundreds of thousands of forebroads who’ve served this country as volunteers during times of war. We’ve written about the Hello Girls of World War I and the Clubmobile girls of World War II, and later this week we’ll talk about the entertainers who traveled to to war torn Europe bring hope to American troops before the USO even existed. We hope you’ll raise a glass to these and all women who’ve served courageously today, and join us in just ten days for the “LUPEC Boston USO SHOW”, an event designed to commemorate these fabulous broads.

The LUPEC Boston “USO SHOW” will be a 1940’s-themed cocktail party featuring retro-libations, live music, dancing, delicious canapés, a prize raffle, and a USO-style variety show. It’s a coed event, and all are welcome.

This is our second annual large-scale fundraising event and was created to benefit women at The New England Shelter for Homeless Veterans (NESHV). Tickets are $35 in advance/ $45 at the door, and can be purchased at Toro and Tremont 647 in the South End, Grand in Somerville, or online at grandthestore.com.

In addition to sipping delicious, ’40s era cocktails and watching fabulous live acts, you’ll also have a chance to win big in our prize raffle! We’ve recently added some great items to our raffle prize list, including gift certificates from Vee Vee, Flour Bakery + Cafe, A Brix Six Gift Pack from Brix Wine Shop, tickets to the Improv Asylum and Swing City!

Hope to see you there Friday, Nov 21st! In the meantime, you can raise one of these to celebrate veterans world wide today.

KISS THE BOYS GOODBYE COCKTAIL
1 oz fresh lemon juice
3/4 oz sloe gin
3/4 oz brandy
1/2 egg white
Shake in iced cocktail shaker and strain into your favorite vintage cocktail glass.

Cin-cin!

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The 2008 election has come and gone, and wasn’t it enough to drive anyone to drink? In this week’s Dig column, we suggested whipping up a batch of Martha Washington’s Rum Punch to muddle through that post-election hangover. (You can read more about the punch here.) Here’s a list of some other Presidential favorites from administrations past and some fun facts on Presidential partying, culled from Sarah Hood Solomon’s book of Presidential fare and trivia Politics and Pot Roast. Imagine yourself in period garb, washing down any of these concoctions before, during, or after a White House dinner, and see how fun history and politics can be.

From the First administration…

MOUNT VERNON’S MINT JULEPS
Recipe from the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association
Handful of fresh mint
1 to 4 tablespoons sugar
1/8 to 1/2 cup water
Crushed ice (about 1 cup)
1/2 to 1 cup bourbon
Powdered sugar

Reserve one mint sprig for garnish. Put remaining mint in the bottom of a (tall) glass, and crush with a mortar. Put in simple syrup (made from the sugar and water). Fill with crushed ice. Pour bourbon on top. Dip mint sprig in powdered sugar as garnish. Quantities of the ingredients may be adjusted for individual tastes.

From the Madison Administration, President #4…

President Madison’s Favorite WHISKEY SOUR
Recipe supplied for Montpelier, the Madison home in Virginia by a family descendant. It is supposed to produce the same whiskey sours served at the White House during Madison’s tenure.
4 lemons
1/2 pint water
1/3 cup sugar (more to taste)
1 pint aged bourbon whiskey (100 proof)

Squeeze juice from the lemons and set aside. Boil water, sugar and lemon rinds for 3 minutes. Cool. Add lemon juice and bourbon. Taste, adding a little more sugar if needed, and refrigerate at least 12 hours. Remove rinds and squeeze dry. Strain and bottle.

From James K. Polk’s Administration, President #11

RASPBERRY SHRUB
President James K. Polk occasionally sipped these poured over crushed ice; adapted from The American Frugal Housewife by Lydia Marie Child, 1844
4 cups fresh raspberries
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
Juice of 1 lemon
2 cups sugar
2 cups brandy

Place raspberries in a bowl and pour in vinegar and lemon juice. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Crush the berries to a pulp with a spoon or potato masher. Cover the bowl with a cloth and let the mixture sit for 5 hours at room temperature.

Remove the cloth and strain the juice to remove all seeds and pulp. Mix brandy with the juice. Pour into sterilized jars and seal. This dinner drink can be served at room temperature as an after dinner drink, or served over crushed ice on a hot summer day.

From Ulysses S. Grant, President # 18

ROMAN PUNCH
1 quart lemon sherbet
1 cup rum
1/4 cup Cointreau
1 split champagne

Put lemon sherbet into a chilled bowl. Slowly mix in rum and Cointreau. Quickly add champagne and stir until it is a mushy texture. Ladle into sherbet dishes. Serves 10.

Presidential Tipplin’ Trivia

  • In later years the Mount Vernon distillery became a commercial operation, making Washington the first and only founding father to own and operate a commercial distillery. It enjoyed two good years of robust whiskey production before Washington’s death in 1799.
  • Though Polk occasionally partook in the aforementioned Raspberry Shrub, he and his wife Sarah took their roles in the White House very seriously (and solemnly). Food & drink were not served at most receptions and dancing was forbidden.
  • Grant’s Army quartermaster served as White House chef for a brief time, preparing basic and unimaginative menus for the first family. Eventually Grant’s wife rebelled and hired an Italian to chef replace him. State dinners became extravagant affairs where the new Italian chef Melah served Roman Punch as a post-entree digestivo. It was also served at daughter Nellie Grant’s White House wedding.
  • The simple ceremony planned to celebrate Andrew Jackson’s inauguration went horribly awry when 20,000 people invaded the White House mansion. The celebrants caused a ruckus of epic proportions, breaking windows, china, furniture and causing several fires. The place was so packed that people who came in the door had to crawl out the windows. Clever cooks eventually lured revelers out of the Presidential mansion by putting out tubs of whiskey on the lawn.
  • President James Buchanan had a legendary tolerance for alcohol & once reprimanded a liquor merchant for sending pint bottles of champagne to fulfill orders of bubbly because they were too small. On his way to church, he liked to stop at the Jacob Baer distillery to purchase a 10-gallon cask of “Old J.B.” whiskey, tickled that he and the whiskey shared the same initials.
  • Alice Roosevelt, Theodore’s oldest daughter, was an independent woman after our own hearts: “She smoked on the White House roof, wore pants, and was known to have a cocktail.” To Alice!
  • Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt were fond of informal Sunday dinners consisting of eggs scrambled by the First Lady in a tableside chafing dish (allegedly the only recipe in her repertoire) and martinis poured by self-appointed bartender, FDR.
  • While Governer of NY, FDR never let a guest’s glass go empty, often pressing his company to have a second and third cocktail. “How about another little sippy?” he’d ask and pour another of his favorite drink, a ‘Haitian Libation’ (made with orange juice, rum, and grenadine.) Over-served guests dumped the excess in the houseplants.
  • President and First Lady Truman were fond of Old Fashioneds, which their butler never seemed to make correctly. They were finally satisfied the day he tried the following recipe: pour bourbon over ice; serve. Truman was prescribed 2 shots of bourbon a day by his doctor, which he took each morning with a glass of orange juice.
  • John F. Kennedy’s favorite drink was beer; Jackie Kennedy liked daiquiris.

And as we look ahead and drink in a new administration, we offer you this advice, taken from the sage “Etiquette Rules for State Dinners” in The White House Cook Book, circe 1887.

“Don’t, when you drink, elevate your glass as if you were going to stand it inverted on your nose…Drink gently, and not pour it down your throat like water turned out of a pitcher.”

Cin-cin!

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by Pinky Gonzales
March 30th, beginning at 9:00pm @:
Toro
1704 Washington St
South End, Boston, MA 02118
(617) 536-4300‎
toro-restaurant.com

Come down for a fashionably late-hour toast to Women’s History Month
(March), some great sips from local sponsors, and to get your copy of
our brand-spanking new Little Black Book of Cocktails, featuring the
photography of Boston’s Matt Demers. Did we mention a killer raffle,
too?

No cover charge, and ALL are welcome, so spread the word!! Cocktail
attire encouraged.

There will be complimentary hors d’oeuvres provided by Ken Oringer &
Toro, and the Ladies of LUPEC have created a specialty drinks list featuring liquids
donated by the good people of St Germain, Hendrick’s Gin and Harpoon
Beer, to name a few.

If that’s not enough you can jump aboard for the raffle – which includes dinners & goods from Oleana, Tremont 647, No. 9 Park, the Independent, Martignetti Fine Wine & Spirits and more.

ALL PROCEEDS from the sale of specialty cocktails, raffle tickets, and from the Little Black Book will be donated to The Friends Boutique at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, a unique shop designed for people undergoing treatments for cancer. http://www.friendsboutique.org/
This charity was chosen with our friends & relatives in mind who have themselves battled cancer.

Last fall LUPEC Boston partnered with Jane Doe Inc., the Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence and raised more than $10,000 in donations through fundraising initiatives such as a “This One’s for the Ladies” drink promotion and the “LUPEC Boston Tea Party” benefit event. We hope to make LADIES NIGHT, as well, a success.

Looking forward to seeing all of you Sunday!

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texas1

by Pinky Gonzales

…This was the standard greeting you’d likely receive from the jovial, peroxide blonde manning the house at one of several Manhattan speakeasies during Prohibition. Of course, this would foreshadow the spending of all your dough, on illegal hooch and tips for the showgirls. You’d happily fork over $25 (back then no chump change) for a fifth of Scotch, or $2 for a pitcher of water if you brought your own “booster”, and whatever else followed. texasclubsignThe place would probably be packed, open a few hours later than all the rest, and the wisecracking, witty pal of Mae West named Texas Guinan would be seeing to it you were having a darned good time.

Before being seduced into the world of club ownership through bartending and guest emceeing, Texas started out in Vaudville, then in Westerns as an actress and producer. 1917′s The Wildcat introduced America’s first movie cowgirl.
1926_burlesque_drena_beach
Her nite club career included “the grandaddy of speakeasies,” the El Fey Club, opened in 1924 with gangster Larry Fey. Later came Club Intime, a Dorothy Parker hangout and subterranean spot near Times Square where entry would involve a steep staircase, two bouncers and a peephole. There was also the Rendezvous, the 300 Club, the Argonaut, the Century, the Salon Royal, and Tex Guinan’s. Infamous for being hauled off to the pokey on a regular basis and having her joints shut down by Feds, Texas enjoyed having the band strikeup “The Prisoner’s Song” on her way out the door. And always would she deny selling anything but “mixers” to at her clubs, noting “a man could get hurt falling off a bar stool!” Re-opening after raids, she would sometimes wear a necklace of gold padlocks just to show the cops there were no hard feelings. guntex1_1She worked tirelessly until age 49, when she was stricken by illness and passed away. 12,000 attended her 1933 funeral procession in Manhattan, and a month later to the day of her death, Prohibition was repealed. Looks like a Women’s History Month toast is in store for this gal!

SCOFF LAW COCKTAIL (what else?)
1 oz rye whiskey
1 oz dry vermouth
.75 oz fresh lemon juice
.75 oz green Chartreuse (or pomegranate grenadine according to some recipes – also excellent)
2 dashes orange bitters
Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Cheers!

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March is Women’s History Month and the ladies of LUPEC Boston could not be more thrilled!

Thru March 31st we’ll be offering you as many reasons to raise a glass to unsung women in history as this group of ambitious, classic cocktail-obsessed broads can cobble together…while maintaining our full-time jobs and going about the general day-to-day business of dismantling the patriarchy one drink at a time, that is. Get your cocktail shakers primed!

We’ll also be celebrating with a “Ladies Night” Party at Toro on Sunday, March 30th! Stay tuned for more details…

Let’s start the month off with a Liberty Cocktail, in honor of each and every one of the women we’ll celebrate in the month to come…and ambitious women everywhere!

LIBERTY COCKTAIL
1 dash simple syrup
1/3 rum
2/3 Applejack
Stir with ice and strain. Serve in a cocktail glass.

Salut!

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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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