VF 1/35 (this is as large as it gets):
Be sure to check in next week for a surprise, and a story.
Tonight at Thursday Drink Night, in the Mixo chat room, we’re hosting Allison Evanow, founder of Square One, and bartender H. Joseph Ehrmann, to discuss Botanical, the latest offering from Square One.
Here’s a great recipe that uses this spirit.
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with cracked ice. Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass. Add garnish.
(Disclaimer: Square One sent me a sample bottle of Botanical.)
For months now, I’ve been combing through the digital archives of various magazines, building a “collection” of liquor ads. Starting today, I’m going to post ads here, once a week. If I have anything to say about the ad or the brand, I will, but often I’ll just post the ad itself without commentary.
I now have hundreds of ads, and so far from only three magazines–Vanity Fair, Life, and Playboy–so I know I’ll have plenty of fodder to keep this going indefinitely. In small doses, it’s really absorbing, watching the tastes and mores of the United States change over time. It’s also a fun way to learn about drinking habits, and how they’ve changed over the decades.
Brands come and go; I’ve seen brands I had never heard of prior to finding the ad. In one amusing coincidence, I saw an ad for a blended scotch whisky called Vat 69. I did a little research into the brand, and then a few hours later came across a reference to it while reading a Leslie Charteris short story about Simon Templar, a.k.a. The Saint. I was so amused by the coincidence that I laughed aloud and had to explain myself to Jen.
In the earliest of these magazines, there are no ads for vodka or tequila brands. These spirits arrived rather late to the American palate. Instead, there are many ads for gin, whisk(e)y, brandy, wine, and beer. And yes, although wine and beer are normally outside the remit of this blog, I’ll be including them here as well. If there’s alcohol in it, it’ll be here.
Some of the ads are funny (intentionally or not), some are lushly illustrated, and some are banal. I’m going to post them all, at least for as long as I keep the blog alive and retain interest in posting these ads.
I know I’m not the first to tread this ground. Cask Strength did a post recently on booze ads in Seventies-era Playboy. And James Lileks just turned his wit on the topic, with Forgotten Hooch. But I think my approach to it is different enough to be somewhat new. At any rate, I had no intention of stealing anyone’s idea. I’ve been planning this for months and wanted to be sure I had enough material to keep it going for a while without running out.
Now I’m ready, so once a week, every Friday morning, expect a new booze ad.
First up, an ad for Old Schenley Rye, from the January 1935 issue of Vanity Fair (click through for full size):
Don’t be bitter! We’ve got a very rare bottle of bitters in our hands—and we’re looking to give them away. “We” in this case are me and Samantha Harrigan from Nova Marketing and the Cocktail Culture blog. The bitters are specially made for Beefeater 24 by the fine folks at The Bitter Truth. There are currently only 100 bottles in the United States, none of which are actually for sale. Not much is known about the bitters, but check out what Beefeater 24 Brand Ambassador Dan Warner had to say about them:
In order to produce the bitters we send Stephan [Berg, of The Bitter Truth] high proof, straight off the still Beefeater Gin and he uses this as a base. The recipe is Stephan’s secret but he did tell me that lemongrass, kaffir lime leaf, and ‘a few different types of citrus’ are featured. They work amazing in martinis and I’ve also been dashing them in my G&Ts.
Interested in giving them a try? Well, to win this bitter collection gem, you’ll have to participate in Beefeater 24’s “Don’t Be Bitter” contest. All participants will be given an equal shot at winning the bitters—as the winner will be randomly selected from the group. Here’s what you have to do to participate:
Post a submission on your blog or website and include the photo of the Beefeater 24 bitters (please download it here and host it yourself) and the title “Don’t Be Bitter” to make it official. Then, use the post as a “shout out” to another cocktail blogger—discuss a time when you were jealous of (or “bitter” about) another blogger’s booze collection, prized bottle of liquor, a cocktail-related trip they took, or an experience they had. Put any bitterness aside and share the link-love with your fellow cocktail bloggers. Make sure you link back to this post so your name gets thrown in the hat. You’ve got the whole month of October to get your post up [final deadline: 11:59pm Eastern time, 10/31/09] and the winner will be announced here the first week of November. Get on board, bitters-lovers!
I think Sam’s handling the actual mechanics of this, in terms of making the random pick, having the bitters shipped out, and so on. Any questions, please get them in to us by the end of the day Friday. Sam’s getting hitched on Saturday and will be on her honeymoon for the week following her wedding.
Oh, and you want to know what I’m bitter about? That I can’t win my own freakin’ contest!