As F Scott Fitzgerald wrote, the past is a different country – they do things different there. It’s something that is occasionally brought to mind as I look at the cocktails of yesterday.
The most prominent example is Prohibition. It was probably a factor in the rise of the popularity of cocktails in the 20’s and 30’s – adding additional ingredients hid the terrible taste of the bathtub gin that was served in the speakeasies.
Nowadays, the notion of the United States banning alcohol despite the fact a sizable portion of the population still wanted to drink it (and did) seems bizarre. The fact that the ban stayed in place for so long just adds to its strangeness.
Another cocktail oddity from the past is this week’s CotW – the RAC.
It was created in 1914 at the Royal Automobile Club by the brilliantly named Fred Faecks.
Of course, the notion today of a motoring organisation having any kind of alcoholic beverage associated with it would be anathema. But as I said, it was a different country back then. Attitudes have changed – and in this case, we should be thankful.
But regardless of its name, this is a rather good cocktail.
1 1/2 msr gin
3/4 msr dry vermouth
3/4 msr red vermouth
Dash of orange bitters
Add ingredients to cocktail shaker with lots of ice, shake and pour. Garnish with cherry. (Unless you forget, like I did.)
This is basically a sweeter, orange tinged Martini. But this is a good thing to my mind – it’s refreshing and has a complexity of flavour that grows on you.