Archive for October, 2005

Rabe on the Sixth Aperitif

Monday, October 24th, 2005

“The waiter brought the aperitif and Wheeler sipped at it. It tasted less and less strong now; perhaps he should stop. But why? A fine vagueness was taking over, an absence of thought, leaving only uncomplicated realities, like the light on the lake, the grain of the table top, and the squeak of the wire chair when Wheeler moved.”

— from Blood on the Desert (1958), Peter Rabe

Of Kilts and De Koven

Friday, October 14th, 2005

Lendler has another good creation myth, this one more grammatically precise, for the Rob Roy:

The Rob Roy came about with the debut of the Broadway show Rob Roy, in 1894. Back then, it was a popular pastime to create a new drink in honor of every Broadway opening. But in this case, the bartender may have been a bit of a wise-ass.

Rob Roy, the show, was written by Henry Louis De Koven, a mediocre talent whose songs were famous for being thinly veiled rip-offs of famous works. Robin Hood, his box office hit in 1891, was dubbed Robbin’ Ludwig by the critics.

Thus “Rob Roy,” the drink, is a thinly veiled rip-off of a Manhattan, simply replacing the rye with Scotch in honor of the show’s Highland hero.

My maternal grand-uncle, Commodore Angus McCulloch, Royal Navy (Ret.), feels the substitution of Scotch for rye was simply the rectifiction of Mrs. Churchill’s grave mixological error. Had we the bartender’s name I feel certain the Commodore would do something to honor his memory. He does drink several Rob Roys each night — perhaps that is tribute enough.

Wine: Not Just For Men

Monday, October 10th, 2005

Ah, me. Snoozing in my wing chair in the club library, I was entirely unaware that macho-men had taken over the world of wine. Thank heaven someone is speaking up on behalf of disenfranchised distaff drinkers. Introducing “The First Wine Magazine for Women!”

Wine explained in terms even women can understand:

Mike Steinberger of Slate discusses the matter sensibly:

And here I had been thinking that Scotch appreciation had become a bit feminized.

Churchill’s Amazing Mater

Wednesday, October 5th, 2005

Ian Lendler, in his new book Alcoholica Esoterica, cites a creation myth for the Manhattan that I had not yet heard:

Reputedly invented in 1874 by a swinging American named Jennie Jerome, who would later marry and give birth to Winston Churchill. It was first served during a party she hosted at the Manhattan Club in New York City, from which the drink eventually took its name.

Inventing the Manhattan, if true, would merit a prominent plaque. But her feat of procreation deserves a statue.