Archive for November, 2008

Thank you!

n1119052471_30206355_77502This week, LUPEC Boston is thankful for all of the fabulous people that helped make the LUPEC BOSTON “USO SHOW” a success last Friday night. The turnout was outstanding with an estimated 200 guests in attendance, all dressed to the nines and decked out in true 1940s style. Thanks also for your positive attitudes and patience when the line for drinks grew long.

We couldn’t have pulled off such a shindig without the help of our restaurant and retail partners who donated the delicious food: Tremont 647, Toro, Lionette’s Market and Island Creek Oysters;

Distributors and account reps who donated the products that made the Scofflaws, Rositas, Daiquiris and Moscow Mules possible, including Hendrick’s, St-Germain, Milagro, Cruzan, Mathilde Liqueurs, Chartreuse, Sazerac, Rain Vodka, Harpoon, DeLoach Vineyards, M Coffee, and Smart Water;

3050516691_d602ea39b2The entertainers and swing dancers who donated their time and talent to make this a real 40’s era “USO-style show”: the Boston Derby Dames, Thru the Keyhole Burlesque, 2 Girls for 5 Bucks, Harry Gordon (as Bob Hope), DJ Brother Cleve, and swing dancers Kellian Adams, Brian Pletcher, Cara Ball, Vichu Tanta-Nanta;

The technicians who supported these talented folks, Jenn Sutkowski and Will D’Amato;

The restaurants, retail stores, and other venues that donated covetable raffle prizes: Tremont 647, Toro, Brix, Polka Dog, Taza Chocolates,Vee Vee, Zipcar, La Verdad, Myer’s & Chang, Pho Republique, Flour Bakery, St-Germain, Improv Asylum, and Imbibe magazine;

A HUGE thanks to Grand for selling tickets for us online, bringing this retro-event into the digital age and maximizing convenience for all;

And most of all, to our guests for their generous support of LUPEC Boston and our beneficiary, the NEW ENGLAND SHELTER FOR HOMELESS VETERANS. We are always amazed at the outpouring of generosity that makes our events possible, and it is especially remarkable in these troubling economic times, when every last dollar seems to count so much more.n1119052471_30206361_9121

And for those of you looking for a place to grab a digestif or steal away from the family as you deal with your turkey this weekend, there’s still time to drink for charity with the “This One’s for the Ladies” drink promotion. Through the month of November, participating bars around town will donate a portion of proceeds from one “LUPEC-approved” cocktail to the NESHV. Hit up any of these spots through Sunday:

* Tremont 647
* Toro
* La Verdad
* Eastern Standard
* Rendezvous
* Highland Kitchen
* Flora
* Milky Way
* No. 9 Park
* Hungry Mother

All of these images are courtesy of Matthew Demers. For more great photo galleries, check out Boston.com & Bostonist‘s coverage of the event.

And have a Happy Thanksgiving, all!

Read Full Post »

luscious_liqueursby Pink Lady

In this week’s Dig column, we shared a recipe for limoncello from the recently published LUSCIOUS LIQUEURS by our pal A.J. Rathbun. The batch I made is steeping away in my closet and will be for the next four weeks, ready just in time for me to bottle it up and gift it to friends and family this holiday season.

Most of the recipes contained in this colorfully illustrated volume take at least three weeks to make, but if you’re looking for something you can sip right away after consuming turkey, try this recipe for Irish Cream Liqueur. You know, a homemade version of Bailey’s, a liqueur that I feel empowered to admit, after reading the round-up of Mixology Monday XXXII is one of my guilty pleasures. Recipe is below:


Makes about 2 1/2 pints

One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk (yes!)

1 2/3 cups Irish whiskey

1 cup light cream
2 tablespoons chocolate syrup

1 teaspoon instant coffee granules

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

1. Put all of the ingredients in any order you want in a sturdy blender. Blend on medium for 1 minute, making sure that everything is completely combined.

2. Pour the mixture into 1 large (at least 1 1/2 liters) bottle or a number of smaller bottles or jars with tight fitting lids. Seal and refrigerate before using (it can also be placed in the freezer, but it might get slushy). You can serve this right away, and please consume within 2 weeks.

Check back in a few weeks to find out how the great limoncello experiment turned out.

‘Til then, cin-cin!

*Excerpted from Luscious Liqueurs, by A.J. Rathbun. (c) 2008, used by permission from The Harvard Common Press.

Read Full Post »

A Most Fabulous Line-Up

The LUPEC BOSTON “USO SHOW” is shaping up to be so much more than just a cocktail party! Here’s a preview of what to expect for entertainment, all for the low, low price of $35 in advance/$45 at the door. Click here to buy your tickets now thru 6 p.m. tonight [service charges will apply]:

Guests who arrive on the early side will receive a complimentary swing dance lesson taught by a team of experienced swing dancers. Instructors Kellian Adams, Brian Pletcher, Cara Ball and Vichu Tanta-Nanta can be found tearing up a dance floor near you at least a few nights a week. They are affiliated with Boston Swing Central, a not-for-profit that puts on a dance every Friday night in Central Square, Cambridge, which is just one of many opportunities to swing dance in the Boston area. Didn’t know that you could swing dance around here? Opportunities abound! Dip a toe in at the LUPEC BOSTON “USO SHOW”, then visit www.havetodance.com for a full calendar of dances and lessons in the area.

Emcees Cathleen Carr and Daiva Deupree of Two Girls for Five Bucks, a critically acclaimed and widely celebrated New York based two-woman sketch comedy burlesque, will take the stage next. The duo has been featured at comedy festivals across the country, including the LA Comedy Fest and SketchFest NYC, and have performed their anti-chick flick brand of humor at the Comedy Central Stage at the Hudson Theater in Los Angeles, Upright Citizens Brigade NYC, and Ars Nova Theater in New York. Carr and Deupree, with their provocative on-stage chemistry, are adept at portraying devastatingly comical ladies frantically trying to make their way through the world. Much like the ladies of LUPEC Boston.

Thru the Keyhole Burlesque will take the stage next and turn up the heat with their steamy act. Boston’s Sweethearts, Thru the Keyhole Burlesque is a refreshingly playful troupe that bumps grinds with their tongues planted firmly in cheek! From Maine to Connecticut, these broads keep New England entertained with saucy costumes, imaginative props, obscure musical selections and a kicky chorus line. In addition to a busy performance schedule, Thru the Keyhole also teaches classes, go-go dances, models, produces events & does private parties. Check them out on myspace.

Between live acts, legendary Boston DJ and cocktail historian Brother Cleve will spin more ’40s-era swing, so you can put your Lindy Hop lessons to good use. We couldn’t call it a proper cocktail event without Cleve.

After a little more dancing, Carr and Deupree will take the stage once again to introduce Boston-based actor, improviser and stand-up comedian, Harry Gordon doing his Bob Hope routine. Gordon has been performing on the main stages of Improv Asylum, ImprovBoston, and the Cantab Lounge since 1999. Thanks for the memories, Bob…er, Harry!

The Thru the Keyhole girls will perform another round of their sultry burlesque, before we segue into the moment you’ve all been waiting for — the prize raffle! The list of potential prizes is amazing, so come with deep pockets.

And throughout the evening, The Boston Derby Dames will skate around with samples of fine Taza chocolates for your enjoyment. The Boston Derby Dames is Boston’s first and only all-female, DIY, skater-owned and -operated flat track roller derby league. See how they roll at the LUPEC BOSTON “USO SHOW”.

Ticket price is $35 in advance/ $45 at the door including cocktail party fare and four drink tickets, with additional beverages available for purchase. They’re going fast, so buy yours today at any of the following locations:

  • Toro, 1704 Washington St., Boston, MA
  • Tremont 647, 647 Tremont St. Boston, MA
  • Grand, 374 Somerville Ave., Somerville, MA
  • Online at grandthestore.com thru 6 p.m. tonight [service charges will apply]

Read Full Post »

by Pink Lady

In this week’s Dig column we shared one version of the Moscow Mule story with you — the one that glorifies Heublein, Inc. President John Martin for his marketing savvy. You can read the New York Times’ take on the unique man behind the marketing campaign that made dusty bottles of unloved Smirnoff fly off the liquor store shelves here.

Eric Felten’s take on the Moscow Mule story suggests that the drink was actually invented in 1941 by Cock n’ Bull head bartender Wes Price. Price “‘just wanted to clean out the basement'”, which was overloaded with a shipment of Smirnoff that had been foisted upon the bar by John Martin, and some “dusty jugs of ginger beer that [bar owner Jack] Morgan had ordered in an earlier fit of misguided enthusiasm.” Price received no credit, but the drink went on to become a mega-hit with Hollywood’s glitterati, and has been immortalized as the original vodka cocktail.

It begs the question –what is more important to a cocktail’s success? Overall deliciousness? Or how you market it?

Whatever the answer, this highball will receive a hearty toast at the LUPEC BOSTON “USO SHOW” this Friday, where the Moscow Mule will be served. If you can’t join us, raise one of these at home, following LUPEC Boston member Moscow Mule’s favorite recipe:

Squeeze .5 lime into a Collins glass (or traditional copper mug) and drop in the skin.
Add ice and:
2 shots vodka
1 shot fresh lime
Top with cold ginger beer & finish with a good dash of Anostura bitters.

Cin cin!

Read Full Post »

Just three more days ’til our biggest event of the season, and the ladies of LUPEC Boston could not be more excited. The past week has seen a flurry of activity with several new acts falling into place and some exciting new donations to add to the list of raffle prizes:

Early arrivers will be treated to a complimentary swing dance lesson from 7:15 – 8 p.m. Whether you’re a Lindy Hop virgin or have been swing dancing for decades, the joint will be jumping!

Members of Boston’s sweethearts Thru the Keyhole Burlesque will bring their delightfully steamy act to the event, interspersed between stand-up comedy routines, hilarious sketches, and of course, more dancing.

In addition to sampling just-shucked oysters by Island Creek, adventurous American treats from Tremont 647, and Spanish delights from Toro, you will also be able to try sensational pulled pork finger sandwiches provided by Lionette’s Market.

East Coast Grill has donated four gift certificates to our prize raffle, and Imbibe magazine has donated a one-year subscription. After glancing at the complimentary copy of the November/December issue of Imbibe you’ll receive as a special parting gift, you’ll be vying for a year’s worth, on the house.

And folks, please note: the event is being held at the Jorge Hernandez Cultural Center at 85 West Newton Street in the South End, across the street from Upper Crust. We tried to send you to the financial offices in the last email blast, and we are deeply sorry for that potential buzzkill.

Ticket price is $35 in advance/ $45 at the door including cocktail party fare and four drink tickets, with additional beverages available for purchase. They’re going fast, so buy yours today at any of the following locations:

  • Toro, 1704 Washington St., Boston, MA
  • Tremont 647, 647 Tremont St. Boston, MA
  • Grand, 374 Somerville Ave., Somerville, MA
  • Online at grandthestore.com [service charges will apply]

Cin cin!

Read Full Post »

180px-elsiejanisAs you well know, LUPEC will celebrate lady veterans of all stripes at the LUPEC Boston “USO Show” on November 21, a 1940s themed cocktail party and retro-variety show. Before the USO even existed, there was trailblazing entertainer Elsie Janis “the sweetheart of the A.E.F.”, for whom we raise a in this week’s Dig column. Elsie Janis was a lifetime performer: she debuted on the stage at age 2, and made a name for herself in the vaudeville circuit as child star “Little Elsie”. As an adult, Janis became a headline act on Broadway and in London, and spent her later years working as a screenwriter, songwriter, and actor in Hollywood.

Elsie Janis’s self-proclaimed “high point” came when she took her song and dance comedy show on the road to entertain American troops during World War I. Janis’ involvement with the war effort began in 1914, when she began incorporating patriotic songs into her vaudeville act, and using her shows as a stateside recruiting tool. After the US entered into the war, Janis traveled to France to entertain troops on the front lines.

A New York Times article published on June 17, 1918 describes the effect she had on the troops:

And at last…a locomotive trundled in out of the night, in its cab a pair of proud and grinning engineers, on its cowcatcher, Elsie Janis.

A moment later and the engine was near enough to the stage for her to clear the space at a single jump and there she was, with her black velvet tam pushed back on her tossing hair, with her eyes alight and her hands uplifted, her whole voice thrown into the question which is the beginning and end of morale, which is the most important question in the army:

‘Are we downhearted?’

You can only faintly imagine the thunderous ‘No’ with which the train shed echoed till the peaceful French households in the neighborhood wondered what those epatants Americans would be up to next. And it is the whole point of Elsie Janis…that whatever the spirit of the boys before her coming they really meant that “No” with all there was in them, that any who might have been just a little downhearted before felt better about it after seeing and hearing her.


Performing as the “Sweetheart of the American Expeditionary Forces ” was indeed the role of a lifetime. Janis remained committed to the fighting men she entertained after the war, and even created a revue featuring some of the out of work soldiers she’d entertained, called

Elsie Janis and Her Gang which hit the stage in the fall of 1919. Critics predicted that no one would want to hear about the war after it ended, but Janis considered the show a success. Janis also wrote a memoir of her experiences entertaining the troops which was published in 1919, titled The Big Show: My Six Months with the American Expeditionary Forces.

The period after the war was tough on Janis, as fewer and fewer people wanted to hear about the war and her work entertaining troops in Europe, a period that she considered “her high point.” As she later wrote in her autobiography, “[T]he war was my high spot and I think there is only one real peak in each life!”

But, as the New York Times argued, the positive impact Janis and performers like her had on the troops could not be overlooked:

When she leads a leather-lunged regiment in the strains of “God Save Kaiser Bill” the future of that uneasy monarch really seems more insecure than it did, and it is not fanciful to say that more than one company has marched off to its first night in the trenches with brighter eyes, squarer shoulders, and a more gallant swing because, at the very threshold of safety, this lanky and lovely lady from Columbus, Ohio, waved and sang and cheered them on their way.”

We’ll drink to that!

THE ATTA BOY COCKTAILapreslaguerresm
2 oz gin
1/2 oz dry vermouth
2 dashes grenadine
Stir in mixing glass with ice & strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

* Images borrowed from the Ohio State University Libaries Exhibitions website & wikipedia***

Read Full Post »

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.

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.


Read Full Post »

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…

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

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

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.”


Read Full Post »