Sunday, May 14, 2006

Rum! Rum! Rum!

In the weekend edition of the WSJ, they celebrate the Bicentennial of the Cocktail! Who knew? According to Eric Felton, the first "full-blown description" of a cock-tail appeared in the Balance and Columbian Repository, a newspaper in Hudson, NY, under the headline of Rum! Rum! Rum! Apparently, the paper was taking Thomas Jefferson to task for "buying votes" by serving drinks. Maybe he was getting his voters all liquored up with free rum, or maybe he is the reason we can't get a drink on election day. Either way, Jefferson served 720 rum grogs, 204 brandies, 32 gin slings, 411 glasses of bitters and 300 "cock-tails". The editor claimed later that a cock-tail is "vulgarly called a bittered sling" and the drink is "a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters." Ironically, Harry Croswell, the editor of the paper who defined a cock-tail for us, is also the same editor famous for a hallmark libel case, People v. Croswell. (If you've ever taken media law or j-law, you'll remember this one.) And as the WSJ notes, the humble recipe of the Bittered Gin Sling still survives. Put this one the martini menu at Scholar's Inn for a 1/2 price Thursday and I'm guessing it might be a hit.

Bittered Gin Sling

1.5 oz gin (1 jigger)
.75 oz sweet vermouth or sherry
.5 oz lemon juice
.75 oz simple syrup
dash or two of Angostura bitters (a much overlooked and integral cocktailing ingredient)
Soda water

Shake all but the soda water with ice, strain into a tumbler or highball over ice, top with soda, and garnish with a lemon peel.

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