Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday Happy Hour: a toast for Memorial Day

A toast to the "three great American birds" from a circa 60's era Old Crow booklet:

(Why am I thinking of Heckle and Jeckle? Or maybe Spy vs. Spy?)

Happy Memorial Day!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Friday Happy Hour: the Gimlet

English sailors, you say?

Staving off boredom, huh?

Getting off to a good start!

This colorful introduction to the Gimlet comes from the 1999 book "Vintage Cocktails: Authentic Recipes and Illustrations from 1920-1960"

And, no doubt about it, the Gimlet is an authentic old drink. So old that you'd probably struggle to remember the last time you ever saw anyone drinking one. Probably never, huh? Us too.

So, what is a Gimlet? Going back to "cocktails 101," here's the instructions from "Cocktails for Dummies" (circa "timeless"):

See? They even show you what kind of glass to use! To boot, they give you choices for your glassware.
But, not so fast. There is actually a diversity of opinion about the ingredients for a Gimlet. This is from a 1979 edition of Old Mr. Boston's:
(Maybe a cousin to those English sailors from before, there) So, two variations are arising: one is the age-old vodka vs. gin battle. The other, and more significant, one is whether or not there's a sweetener. Rose's Lime Juice (which we saw in the first recipe, too) is a proprietary syrup you've probably seen in grocery stores. There may or may not be actual lime juice in it, but it's certainly sweet.

Consider this version from a 1961 edition of Old Mr. Boston's:
In this earlier version, we find sugar -- also throwing in the curve ball of carbonated water. A little bit of sparkle!
So, the Gimlet is the kind of drink you can hang around casually with -- say, as you would with a gin & tonic -- or you can get dolled up with for a nicer occasion.
If that kind of sophistication and pedigree isn't really your thing, you can dismiss the Gimlet as the "granny drink" you might have thought of it as all along:

From "You Are What You Drink" (1974).
Note: doesn't say they aren't having fun!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

May 15 in Rogers Park history

On May 15, 1865, the first ten acres of Angel Guardian Orphanage were purchased near Devon and Ridge by German Roman Catholic parishes to safeguard the German cultural heritage of their dependent children. Closed in 1974, the grounds are now home to Misericordia, a community for persons with developmental disabilities.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Friday Happy Hour: the Sidecar

What do Margaritas and Cosmopolitans have in common with a Sidecar?

For one thing, they're classics. They're popular (well, maybe not the Sidecar -- but it should be!). The reason is because they all follow the basic formula of what some call the "New Orleans sour" -- that is, a base spirit, an orange liqueur, and citrus. The classic ratio is 3:2:1 for these ingredients, respectively -- but that can easily be experimented with.

Anyhoo .... halting the lecture. What's a Sidecar? Here's one recipe book's take on it:
Here's another recipe, this one from a 1957 edition of Old Mr. Boston's:

Their recipe is still the same 2:1:1 ration they used above. Except, of course, they call for triple sec (which is okay, actually).
Check out this recipe from the 1971 edition of Playboy's Host and Bar Book:
Obviously, their recipe contemplates a 1:1:1 ratio -- unless, they note, you want a "strong brandy accent," in which case, use a 3:1:1 ratio. Also, curacao (instead of Cointreau or triple sec) is going to make for a lot drier drink.
It so happens that the Sidecar is kind of a house specialty at Rogers Park Retro, and here's our signature recipe:
3 oz brandy
1 oz triple sec
1 oz lemon juice
1 tsp. maraschino liqueur
1 tsp. curacao (orange, not blue, just to clarify)
Garnish with a twist.

May 14 in Illinois History

On May 14, 1804, the Lewis & Clark expedition left Illinois -- for parts unknown!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Friday Happy Hour: hits for your after dinner enjoyment

With smiles and everyone in high spirits, it's obvious that this has been a successful evening.

As a capper, why not enjoy a dessert-in-a-drink?

This comes to us from another Southern Comfort booklet, this one published in 1967 and entitled "The Lively Life." Well, this picture proves their point!

We'll drink to that!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

May 4: Today in Rogers Park history

The Howard Theatre at 1626 W. Howard opened in 1918

Alas, the screen has since been silenced. But, the building has been readapted as an apartment building. The beautiful exterior still stands.

A hint of what you might have seen at the theater in its hayday:

Monday, May 3, 2010

May 3 in Chicago history

The Sears Tower -- uh, we mean the Willis Tower -- was completed on May 3, 1973.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

May in Rogers Park History

In the month of May:

Telegraphic communication between Rogers Park and Chicago established in 1875 (Rogers Park would not be incorporated as a village until 1878 and would not be annexed to Chicago until 1893)