Saturday, October 30, 2010

October 30 in Chicago history

O'Hare International Airport opens in 1955.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Friday Happy Hour: Happy Halloween!

Isn't this a smart looking Halloween party! A chance to slip on a new identity and forget your boring-old-self, Halloween is a night for tricks and treats! And we have drinks for everyone! For vampires:

For werewolves:

and . . .

For zombies:

And for what zombies really want:

Just remember, at midnight the enchantment ends! Cheers!

October 29 in Chicago history

Nine blocks of State Street are closed to traffic and dedicated as a pedestrian mall on October 29, 1979.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

October 26 in Rogers Park history

Two new bears, Ike and Adlai, arrive at Indian Boundary Park Zoo on October 26, 1952.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Happy United Nations Day!

Today, October 24, 2010, is the 65th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations!

Here's a toast to communication and cooperation in addressing the common concerns of the whole human race.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Friday Happy Hour: Aviation

The Aviation is a genuinely vintage cocktail that has gotten some attention in the recent revival of oldies-but-goodies. It fell out of fashion, we suppose, because it's mostly gin. Gin drinks, in general, have been shunned for decades -- and even the preeminent cocktail, the Martini, has become a standard vodka-based cocktail, rather than its original gin. Well, gin is back, baby! This drink might be just a little too obscure, though, because there are some variances on how it should be made. As we see above, it calls for gin and maraschino liqueur, and some lemon juice. In this recipe, from the 1946 edition of Oscar Haimo's "Cocktail and Wine Digest" we see the same basic ingredients, except with lime juice instead of lemon juice:

Plus, he adds triple sec. His recipe is startlingly close to a Corpse Reviver. Regrettably, these references exhaust our library on the Aviation. What these recipes are missing is any reference to Creme Yvette, which is a liqueur that was out of production for many years and has only very recently been reintroduced. Its robin's egg blue color lends an Aviation the soft blue of the open sky. It takes just a dash or two to do the trick; you can also use Creme de Violette. However, for some purists, they say leave out the Creme Yvette/Creme de Violette. We don't purport to be experts here at Rogers Park Retro -- rather, "we report, you decide." We'll let the true experts hash this out. Meanwhile, why not try these recipes and figure out what works for you?
Regardless, the sky is the limit for the Aviation! Cheers!

October 22 in Rogers Park history

Rogers Park Baptist Church founded in 1891.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

October 16 in Chicago history

The State Street Subway opens for business on October 16, 1943.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday Happy Hour: after the game

Now that we're well into football season, and now that the temperatures are getting a little cooler, here's an inviting way to warm up and unwind after the game. Whether after the local high school game, a touch football game in the backyard, or even a Sunday afternoon game rooting for the Bears, this menu is a perfect way to take in the post-game analysis! Particularly, of course, if you're greeted at the door with a "Big Thaw":

Go Bears! Cheers!

Monday, October 11, 2010

October 11 in Illinois history

The first Illinois State Fair opens in Springfield on October 11, 1853.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Friday Happy Hour: how to mix a perfect Martini

Well, of course we want that! As we have mentioned, the martini is the preeminent classic cocktail. Let's learn how!

Well, sounds like we can handle it, then . . .

Just as though it had been made at the North Pole and rushed straight to you!

Gallo? Martini & Rossi? Noilly Prat? Oh, Lejon!

Now, that is practically colorless!

(well, maybe depending on what town you're in)

See, it's easy! Cheers!

October 8 in Chicago history

The Great Chicago Fire begins on October 8, 1871 and rages until October 10, 1871.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Friday Happy Hour: Old Fashioned

Unlike last week's Happy Hour post on the Pink Lady, this week's post features a drink strictly for the gentlemen. Well, ladies are invited, but few accept. The name for the drink comes from the supposed "old fashioned" way of preparing a cocktail. Here's a recipe from Old Forester's 1950s-era "Favorite Recipes":

As we observe, this drink was created at the Pendennis Club in Louisville, now more than 100 years ago. It's a simple combination of some sugar, bitters, and whiskey (usually bourbon), with some soda added, if desired. By way of comparison, here's a recipe from Old Crow:
So, the amount of sugar and bitters -- and even the whiskey -- can vary, according to taste. Some recipes omit the soda and add water instead, as we see in the following recipe from Fleishmanns:

So, the precise combination of water, soda, bitters, sugar, and whiskey isn't precise. Basically, whiskey, with a little flavor from bitters and a little sweet, and some sparkle from the soda if you're in the mood. A man's drink. However, maybe you're picking up on the baroque garnishments that accompany this otherwise simple drink. There's practically a Carmen Miranda fruit basket hat in this drink! Lemons, oranges, pineapples, cherries -- no worry about getting your daily vitamins with this one.

Gee, we thought we were just having a whiskey. And they go and make it pretty. Cheers!