Tag Archives: vintage cocktail

Carousel Cocktail

carousel-cocktailA prohibition era style cocktail, the Carousel Cocktail is a modern riff on the oddly named Japalac Cocktail.  Japalac was an extremely popular tinted varnish from Glidden that was heavily advertised on billboards, in magazines, and on radio – so recognizable that it eventually ended up having a cocktail named after it, as was the style (I remember a cocktail named after the TV series “Miami Vice” in the mid-1980s).  After making the rounds of many cocktail lounges, the Japalac Cocktail made its first appearance in print in 1931.

This cocktail has a nice balance between sweet and sour and is not too alcohol forward.

Carousel Cocktail

  • 1 oz bourbon
  • 1 oz Aperol
  • 1 oz raspberry syrup
  • 1 oz lime juice

Shake all with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with a Luxardo cherry.

A Nolet’s Vesper at The Big 4 restaurant and bar, San Francisco

Vesper @ Big 4 Dec 2014
A Nolet’s Vesper at The Big 4

During my 2014 winter holiday travels in the San Francisco Bay Area I made the trek to a few of the wonderful bars and lounges, both historic and new, that San Francisco has to offer.

I remembered that my old friend Peter Mintun once played (for 16 years) at the famous L’Etoile restaurant and bar on Nob Hill, and that it (and the Huntington Hotel it is part of) had recently undergone a multi-million dollar restoration.  The restaurant and bar had changed previously into The Big 4, and the hotel is now known as the Scarlet Huntington San Francisco.  Happily, they have kept the historic feel to the bar and restaurant, and it feels like walking into a piece of San Francisco history.  What a wonderful respite from an afternoon of shopping, and a climb up the famously steep Taylor street to the top of Nob Hill.  The cocktail menu features several classics as well as contemporary craft cocktail creations.  I was treated to a classic Vesper (Ian Fleming’s famous creation from his 1953 novel Casino Royale) made with Nolet’s gin, which brings light floral notes to the vodka and lillet.  Why didn’t I think of using Nolet’s for this cocktail!  I will from now on.

Classic Movie Cocktail Scenes: All About Eve

All About EveOne of the finest examples of cocktails enhancing a film is writer/director Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s 1950 masterpiece All About Eve.  The story of a Broadway legend, the people in her orbit, and the ruthless newcomer she takes under her wing, it stands out as one of the finest films ever made about the Broadway theater.  A crackling script lets the larger than life Bette Davis rip and tear into everyone and everything around her, aided almost always by a steady stream of Martinis and Champagne.  Whether it’s at a birthday party at her penthouse, or dinner at the exclusive Cub Room inside the Stork Club, cocktails are an essential prop for Miss Davis’ character Margo Channing – much like a cigar was an essential prop for George Burns.

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Classic Movie Cocktail Scenes: The Thin Man

the thin manPerhaps no other single film has done more for popularizing a single cocktail than the delightfully effervescent “Thin Man” film series (or ‘franchise’).  Based on characters created by Dashiell Hammett, the first film in the franchise is an adaptation of his bestselling novel “The Thin Man,” first published in 1934 in the magazine Redbook.  The film was released the same year, and became an instant hit.  Although it was the last novel Hammett would write, it spawned 5 film sequels.

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The Atomic Cocktail

Las Vegas Atomic Test 1951Las Vegas, January 11, 1951 – The US Department of Energy establishes the Nevada Proving Ground (now known as the Nevada Test Site) 65 miles northwest of the city for the testing of nuclear devices.  Little was known about the effects of nuclear blasts at the time, and above ground, or atmospheric, testing was seen as a necessary step towards the development of our atomic future.  Mushroom clouds from these tests could be seen for almost 100 miles, especially from the glamorous hotels and casinos along Fremont Street. Continue reading The Atomic Cocktail

The Egg Sour

eggsEggs have been an integral ingredient in cocktails for at least the last two hundred years.  They add a silky frothiness, and body that a cocktail wouldn’t have otherwise.  The reason the egg was removed from many cocktails in the last few decades was from some bad publicity.  At some point in time it was stated that “eating raw eggs could lead to serious illness from salmonella.”

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