Muddlers, today – May 13 – is World Cocktail Day.
Good news is, it falls on a Friday this year.
I hope that most of you already have plans to weave a cocktail into your day today, but if not, get planning now.
There’s three reasons to get your cocktail on today. Plus, Friday. So that’s four.
On May 13, 1806, Editor of The Balance and Columbian Repository, Harry Croswell answered the question “What is a cock-tail?”.
Given both Australia and the USA are knee-deep in election mode right now, it becomes particularly relevant. Let us numb our sensibilities in order to get through the weeks and months ahead.
“Cock-tail is a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters—it is vulgarly called bittered sling, and is supposed to be an excellent electioneering potion, in as much as it renders the heart stout and bold, at the same time that it fuddles the head. It is said, also to be of great use to a democratic candidate: because a person, having swallowed a glass of it, is ready to swallow any thing else.”
In what I thought unusually unprofessional of a newspaper editor (who am I kidding?), Harry not only shows us his political leanings here, but openly pushes us towards an Old Fashioned.
If that’s your chosen path, remind yourself how to – and how not to – make an Old Fashioned in this Shake, Stir, Muddle offering from February here.
(While you’re considering what to drink, take a listen to this great song Old Old Fashioned by Scottish band Frightened Rabbit. There’s no clip so just let it play in the background while you read on about World Cocktail Day. Full multi-media experience here at SSM).
But there are plenty of options to mark World Cocktail Day.
May 13 , 1931 also saw the opening of Harry’s Bar in Venice. This legendary bar is the
birthplace of the Bellini. While not technically a cocktail (certainly not by Harry Croswell’s definition, nor by the standard definition of it having a minimum of three ingredients, at least one of which is alcohol), it is an official IBA cocktail and it is delicious so convention be damned.
And according to Eric Felten in The Wall Street Journal, one Sunday in May 1917 also saw the very first recorded cocktail party.
The 13th was a Sunday in 1917, so 1 in 4 chance.
A Mrs Julius S. Walsh Jnr of St Louis invited 50 guests to her house at noon, many of the guests coming straight from church and I imagine feeling as though their Sunday was looking markedly better when the sun was highest in the sky.
Dunno what Mrs Walsh’s first name was before she married old Julius but let’s just agree that we ladies being graciously allowed to keep as many of our names as we like when we get married is a step forward. That’s one hundred years of progress peeps, you don’t have to call me Mrs Peter.
Anyway, The St Paul Pioneer Press reported that the one hour party was an instant hit, no doubt fueled by the Manhattans, Martinis, Sazeracs, Gin Fizzes, Clover Leafs and Mint Juleps served during the 60 minutes of fun.
Apparently the most sought-after cocktail at the party though was a Bronx Cocktail, and that’s what I’ll be One-for-Road-Testing tonight in celebration of World Cocktail Day. It’s essentially a perfect Martini with orange juice. I’m anticipating that it might be a little sweet for my liking, but I do feel a little cold coming on, so I’ll consider it medicinal.
To stay on theme, I’ll be listening to Happy Hour, a 1986 classic from The Housemartins who I’ve forgotten about, but who will be back on high rotation now due to increased happiness factor. Watch this great clay-mation clip (pasted below) and tell me you don’t feel at least 3% cheerier.
I’ll be back on Tuesday with a full report.
Happy World Cocktail Day – let me know what you drink to mark the day!