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Posts Tagged ‘Hotel Oloffson’

*The latest ruminations from LUPEC Boston, in case you missed them in The Weekly Dig

by Pink Lady

A 7.0-magnitude earthquake; over 1.5 million left homeless; as many as 200,000 dead. The statistics flickering across the television screen nightly about the recent earthquake in Haiti seem improbably tragic, difficult to comprehend from the comfortable vantage point of a barstool.

Restaurant industry colleagues have rushed to donate time and talent to raise money to support relief efforts: Via Matta and Radius will donate 100 percent of dessert sales, servers at Myers + Chang have been donating a portion of their tips, Stella did a mini-celebrity chef dinner, and Upstairs on the Square held a day-long fundraiser offering guests opportunities to dine and donate at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Our friends over at Drink offered an opportunity for charitable imbibing via a special menu of tropical cocktails made with Haiti’s famous Rhum Barbancourt, with a portion of proceeds going to Haiti relief. The list goes on an on, and we only hope it will grow.

Generous Bostonians, LUPEC salutes you. We invite our readers to do the same by raising a glass of Oloffson’s Punch, invented at the Grand Hotel Oloffson in Port-au-Prince. The eponymous hotel has been many things since it was erected at the turn of the 19th century: a fancy private residence for the then-ruling family, a military hospital occupied by US Marines, a fashionable tourist destination for glitterati like Mick Jagger and Jackie Onassis, and an artistic hub, a sort of “Greenwich Village of the Tropics.”

The enchantingly decrepit hotel also served as backdrop for Graham Greene’s novel, The Comedians. In his words, “You expected a witch to open the door to you or a maniac butler, with a bat dangling from the chandelier behind him.” The hotel’s “tropo-Gothic gingerbread façade” also inspired cartoonist Charles Addams, creator of the famed Addams Family. LUPEC loves a good story, and the Grand Hotel Oloffson is full of ‘em, from tales of an eccentric owner who raised alligators in the hotel swimming pool to the American expat owner who fancied himself a Caribbean version of Rick from Casablanca (weapons scandal and all).

Even as it fell into disrepair in the early ’80s, the Oloffson remained a destination for reporters and aid workers needing a safe place to stay near the heart of the city. Today, it’s where many American journalists are staying as they cover the earthquake that has devastated the country.

LUPEC hopes to partner with member chapters in other cities in the coming weeks to prepare a fundraiser of our own, allowing you to sample some of Haiti’s fine alcoholic heritage, from Rhum Barbancourt to cordials like Combier and Grand Marnier, which source bitter oranges from the tiny republic. Stay tuned for updates, and in the interim, enjoy one of these.

OLOFFSON’S PUNCH

2 oz Haitian dark rum
1 tsp maraschino liqueur
3 oz orange juice
1 1/2 oz lime juice
0.5 oz simple syrup

Shake in an iced cocktail shaker. Strain into a goblet and fill with crushed ice. Serve with straws and garnish with twists of orange and lime.

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