Oh yeah, there’s a blog here.
Anyway, I’ll be at Manhattan Cocktail Classic this weekend, and an ancillary event or two. I’m not going out for everything possible because I have a kid and a pregnant wife and not a lot of money for childcare and ticketed events. As it is, Jen’s taking off Tuesday afternoon so I can do the Expo, which means I’m skipping Monday’s events and hopefully submitting a writeup of the weekend to Serious Eats.
Tonight, 6pm – 10pm, Speed Rack Finals, Element Nightclub, 225 E. Houston.
Tomorrow, 9pm – 1am, MCC Gala, NYPL.
Saturday, 11:00am – 7:30pm, Industry Invitational, Andaz Hotel, 485 5th Ave
Sunday, 11:00am – 7:30pm, Industry Invitational, Andaz Hotel, 485 5th Ave
Tuesday, 3:30 – 5:00, Indie Spirits Expo, Penn Club, 30 W. 44th St.
Now for something a little different. If you know anything about the history of American whiskey, you probably know that for about four decades, from the Forties through the Eighties, it went through a dark period in which the most popular brands were blended whiskeys. It’s not unfair to say that most of these blends tasted like whiskey-flavored vodka because that, in essence, is what they were — mainly grain alcohol with a small amount of straight whiskey added for flavor.
The American palate wanted a smooth, unchallenging spirit, and that’s what the blends provided.
But the trend toward blends started with Prohibition, when some of the only whiskeys available were blends imported illegally from Canada and Scotland. Marketers of straight bourbons and ryes tried to regain a foothold post-Repeal, but the Second World War put the kibosh on that, as most distilleries were repurposed for making grain alcohol for the war effort.
Today’s ads feature two straights and two blends, and it’s interesting to look at how they’re marketed. But enough talk.
[LIFE; April 18, 1938]
Yes, this is the entirety of the ad. I love its simple elegance. You wanna see it in context of its original page? Sure you do.
Peat, the fuel that adds smoke to scotch, is a non-renewable resource. But what are the odds of its running out? Slate takes a look.
In modern times, Four Roses does indeed make a helluva great old-fashioned. Too bad the blasphemy pictured here isn’t an old-fashioned.
[LIFE, of course; April 11, 1938]
I wouldn’t normally return to a subject this soon, but this ad is funny. I’m amused by the idea that the wifey would be embarrassed by a husband who can’t mix a cocktail to save his own damn life. (I don’t have a larger size than this, but go look at it on the Google Books site, and you can blow it up as big as you please.)
Here’s a list of their bottled cocktail range:
Damon Runyan, newspaperman, author. Covered baseball for many years, and entered the writers wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1967. Wikipedia lists 20 of his stories that became motion pictures; the most famous of these is probably Guys and Dolls.
My favorite lyric from the title song of that film, incidentally, is found in only certain recordings, such as at 1:24 in the Bobby Darin rendition:
When you see a mouse
Hurry, scurry out of the house
And she runs 20 blocks for cigars and rye
Oddly, Runyan’s Wikipedia entry indicates that he quit drinking altogether by 1920, some 18 years before this ad ran. I wonder what the truth of it is.
[LIFE; March 21, 1938]
You might think this question sounds silly:
“If you could be any drink, what would it be?” But I love the way it’s answered here:
I’d be the first sip of a perfect gin and tonic swallowed on the dock of a cottage bay with the July sun setting, kids inside setting up Scrabble and nothing but two weeks of classic WWII spy novels ahead. To my mind, all other drinks aspire to be this.
A little background. I’ve been reading Drinking Diaries for almost a year now. You might not be familiar with this site; it’s a forum for women to discuss the role of alcohol in their lives, and a place for them to tell stories about drinking, families, and our boozy, boozy culture.
I find the site so compelling because I am a father to an 18-month-old, and we have another child on the way. I am a parent who drinks, which means I am a parent who is modeling drinking behavior for my son. This is something I take seriously, although I have yet to come to any sort of conclusion about how to approach it. Drinking Diaries provides me the kind of perspectives I wouldn’t otherwise encounter.
The secret to good bourbon? Breeding and artificial selection. [From LIFE; March 14, 1938]