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Church Hampers Their Habits - Bar Stools Let Nuns Show Some Leg

Sisters Mary Kate, Ashley Elizabeth, Dolores May, Catherine Francis & Rose Marie venture away from the cloistered confines of their convent to visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral for a day of celebration. A party atmosphere develops along the way to the church and and they decide refreshments are needed to raise a toast to the patron saint of Ireland before attending mass.

So five Catholic nuns walk into a bar, Paddy’s Irish Pub & Outdoor Ale House, seeking a divine drink worthy of a Saint Patrick’s Day salute. Since these church ladies aren’t in the habit of ordering cocktails, Paddy suggests a Black Velvet. An Irish dark stout beer topped off with Champagne from the monastery.

Show Me Something Sister

In all the excitement, nun [sic] of the sisters notice the bar stools. The seat rests support panty hose covered female legs in high heeled shoes tied to the floor. When the sisters go to sit down, the black religious habits on top of the black bar stool seats let the nuns appear to show off a little leg.

The jokes on them though as the panty hose stretches the truth to pull off the barstool leg illusion and a St. Patrick’s Day laugh. Fun nuns shake a leg for pun.

More St. Patrick’s Day Drinks and Wink-Winks

(via - not true religion, parody blasting humor at the church)

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It’s To The Club We Go*

The Hi-Ho Club that is. Named after its location on the corner of Highland Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California, this popular 1930s hangout was home to their signature Hi Ho Cocktail.

Other recipes invented at Hollywood’s Hi-Ho Club include the Los Angeles Cocktail and the Marlene Dietrich Drink.

Behind The Bar - How To Make The Hi Ho Cocktail At Home

Hi Ho Drink Recipe:

Stir well with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Squeeze lemon peel on top.

History Of The Hi Ho Cocktail
First Published

The Hi Ho Cocktail made its print debut in 1933 with the same trio of ingredients as a couple of others did decades earlier.†

Tipple Triplets

That’s right. The Hi Ho, Princeton and Union League cocktail recipes all initially listed Tom gin, port wine and orange bitters in their formula with various quantity combinations. Plus, the Hi Ho drink squoze some lemon peel on top.

Over time the drinks diverged and each became unique unto their own. Modern recipes for the Hi Ho generally specify white port wine, whereas both the Princeton Cocktail and the Union League call for red. Usually a ruby or tawny port.

Many now also add a squirt of seltzer to the Ivy League libation.

Movies and Awards

Arthur Lake didn’t win an Academy Award playing Dagwood at the Hi-Ho Club in the 1946 comedy film Blondie Knows Best, but the Hi Ho Cocktail he was probably sipping on in the movie deserves to join the other Hollywood drinks with top billing on your list of the perfect Oscars party cocktails.

Similar Drinks
  • Andalusia Cocktail - dry sherry, brandy, white rum and bitters.
  • Antrim Cocktail - Cognac, port wine and sugar.
  • Arawak / Dunlop Drink - rum, sherry and aromatic bitters.
  • Baltimore Cocktail - Cognac, rum, Madeira wine, cinnamon syrup and gentian bitters.
  • Broken Spur Cocktail - white port, dry gin, sweet vermouth, egg yolk and anisette.
  • Byculla Cocktail - both port and sherry wine with orange and ginger liqueur.
  • Clubland Cocktail - white port, vodka and Angostura bitters.
  • Coronet Cocktail - gin and port.
  • Creole Contentment - Cognac, Madeira wine, maraschino liqueur and orange bitters.
  • Crimson Cocktail - dry gin and orange bitters topped with ruby port that’s allowed to settle.
  • Doctor Zeus Cocktail - muddled raisins, Cognac, Fernet Branca, simple syrup, coffee liqueur and orange bitters.
  • Gin Sangaree - gin, port wine, water and sugar.
  • Irish Blonde Cocktail - Irish whiskey, curaçao liqueur, sherry wine and orange bitters.
  • Mary Rose Cocktail - ruby port, cherry liqueur and gin.
  • Moonlight Cocktail No. 1 - white wine, gin, grapefruit juice and kirsch.
  • My Hope Cocktail - brandy, port wine, gum syrup, bitters and red pepper.
  • Runt’s Ambition Cocktail - gin, white rum and port wine with bourbon or rye whiskey.
  • Simpson’s Cocktail - rye whiskey, sherry wine and curacao with both aromatic and orange bitters.
  • Suburban Cocktail - both orange and aromatic bitters with rye whiskey, dark rum and red port wine.
  • Tuxedo Cocktail - Plymouth gin, sherry wine and orange bitters.
  • Up To Date Cocktail - rye whiskey, sherry, orange liqueur and Angostura bitters.

More cocktails that begin with the letter ‘H.’


* - A word play on the Heigh-Ho song from the 1923 animated movie Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs whose lyrics included the diamond and ruby mining dwarfs singing “heigh ho, heigh ho, it’s home from work we go,” and later in the film “heigh ho, heigh ho, it’s off to work we go!”

† - George E. Buzza, Jr., Hollywood Cocktails (Hollywood: Buzza-Cardoza, 1933), 23. Print.

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Finally… And Its A Dash To The Finish

The Eagle cocktail starts out as a Gin Martini and adds a few dashes of bittersweet flavor, but its probably not what you think. See below for the confusion.

Behind The Bar - How To Make An Eagle Cocktail At Home

Eagle Drink Recipe:

  • 2 oz gin
  • 4 dashes absinthe
  • 2 dashes vermouth
  • 2 dashes sugar syrup
  • 2 dashes orange bitters
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters

Add all the ingredients to a mixing glass filled with ice. Stir with a spoon and strain into a cocktail glass with or without an olive at your discretion.

History Of The Eagle Cocktail
First Published

New York’s famous Hoffman House Hotel on Broadway between 24th and 25th streets was the first to serve this recipe up in print in 1905.* That was followed by a long dry spell, literally and literarily.

Thankfully though, when prohibition ended in 1933 the aptly entitled Lest We Forget helped us remember the Eagle Cocktail once again, even if only temporarily.†

Then A Couple Different Drinks Got Muddled Together

If you search around looking for the Eagle cocktail today, virtually all you’ll find is recipes and references to the Eagle’s Dream cocktail which is generally mixed with gin, creme Yvette, lemon juice, sugar and egg white. Although also first published by the Hoffman House at the same time, its obviously a very different drink.

So Why All The Confusion?

It looks like ‘Cocktail’ Bill Boothby is to blame here. He and/or his publishers mislabeled or shortened the Eagle’s Dream recipe title and simply called it the Eagle in his 1934 bartending book.‡

Oscar Haimo and Lucius Beebe followed suit in 1943 and 1946, respectively.1,2 Then, countless others did the same over the years and you can see what happened.

Game Day

Now that that’s cleared up, its time to enjoy one and what better way than to show a little team spirit. Just so happens that arguably the most famous one is playing in Superbowl LII (52) this year against the New England Patriots on Sunday, February 4, 2018 at the US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The original Eagle drink is the perfect NFL team themed cocktail for the Philadelphia Eagles not only as a namesake, but because there’s a little green color from the absinthe to mirror Philly’s football team colors as well.3 Garnishing with a green olive enhances this even more.

Similar Drinks
  • Attention Cocktail - gin, crème de violette, dry vermouth, orange bitters and pastis.
  • Ballantine’s / Deep Sea Cocktail - London dry or Old Tom gin, dry vermouth, pastis and orange bitters.
  • Du Barry Cocktail - gin, dry vermouth, pastis and aromatic bitters.
  • Get Together Cocktail - Gordon’s orange-flavored gin, Noilly Prat French vermouth, orange juice and absinthe.
  • Maurice Cocktail - gin, orange juice, dry vermouth, sweet vermouth and absinthe.
  • Merry Widow Drink - dry vermouth, gin, Peychaud’s bitters, absinthe and Benedictine.
  • Moonshine Cocktail - gin, dry vermouth, maraschino liqueur and absinthe bitters.
  • Nineteen Cocktail - kirsch, dry vermouth, gin, sugar syrup and absinthe.
  • Piccadilly Cocktail - London dry gin, sweet vermouth, grenadine and absinthe.
  • Silver City Cocktail - dry vermouth, London dry gin, Grand Marnier, Cointreau and absinthe.
  • Third Degree Drink - orange bitters, Curacao or Maraschino liqueur, Old Tom gin, French vermouth and absinthe garnished with an olive.
  • Turf Tipple - gin, dry vermouth, absinthe, maraschino liqueur and orange bitters.
  • Tuxedo Drink - an Eagle cocktail recipe with the aromatic bitters and sugar replaced by maraschino liqueur.
  • Yachting Club Cocktail - genever gin, dry vermouth, Peychaud bitters, absinthe and gum syrup.
  • Yellow Daisy Drink - gin, dry vermouth, pastis and Grand Marnier.


* - Charles S. Mahoney, The Hoffman House Bartender’s Guide - How To Open A Saloon And Make It Pay (New York: Richard K. Fox, 1905), 156. Print.

† - Canfield’s Beverages, Lest We Forget (Racine, Wisconsin: Commercial Press, 1933), 21. Print.

‡ - “Cocktail Bill” Boothby, The World’s Drinks And How To Mix Them (San Francisco: Recorder Printing and Publishing Co., 1934), 65. Print.

1 - Oscar Haimo of the Hotel Pierre, Cocktail Digest (Brooklyn, New York: Comet Press, 1943), 38. Print.

2 - Lucius Morris Beebe, The Stork Club Bar Book (New York: Rinehart, 1946), 34. Print.

3 - The Philadelphia Eagles colors were changed in 1996 to the current midnight green, silver, black and white from the former kelly green, silver and white used on their team logos and football uniforms in various designs and combinations for decades prior.

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The History Of Canned Beer
American Can Do Spirit

The American Can Company actually began experimenting with beer can packaging long before 1935, back in 1909, but the initial tin cans could only withstand between 24 to 35 pounds per square inch and the internal pressure from the pasteurization process generated up to 80 psi (comparable to Champagne at up to 90 psi) so they exploded.* While using rephosphorized strengthened steel for the tops and bottoms of the can solved the weakness problem, one issue still remained. The beer chemically reacted with the metal which caused discoloration and made it undrinkable.

A Silver Lining

Just before the end of the Prohibition in 1933 (3.2 percent alcohol beers were actually legal eight months prior to full repeal) the company developed a keg lining technique which coated the interior of the can much like the kegs which were available in bars and pitched the design to Krueger brewing officials. They were skeptical with the idea at first, but agreed when American Can installed the canning equipment for free along with requiring no payments if the beer foundered.

First Beer Cans Sold In The U.S.A.

2000 cans of Krueger’s Special Beer were the first to be filled, but none of them were ever actually made available for sale. That honor went to Krueger’s Cream Ale (formerly Boar’s Head) which on January 24, 1935 became the first brand of canned beer to be sold commercially to the public in Richmond, Virginia.

Thirty seven additional breweries followed the lead of the Gottfried Krueger Brewery with their own brands of canned beer available for sale by the end of that year too.

Space Saving and Hassle Free

Touted as being able to get twice as much in the same space in your ice-box and not having to pay a bottle deposit or hassle with returns, canned beer was an immediate success and has been popular ever since. The initial flat top design required a sharp church key style can opener to drink the contents with cone top models (able to be filled on existing bottling lines) debuting shortly after in September of 1935.

World War II briefly halted canning operations for several years to redirect materials elsewhere for the war effort, but once resumed another milestone happened when aluminum cans were developed in 1958. This was followed by the invention of the pull tab in 1963 and the stay tab improvement in 1975, which still continues to be the preferred design today.

Thanks Pilgrim

Brewing and packaging have come a long way since the first European beer was brought over to America on the Mayflower. The Pilgrims ran out on their voyage, but fortunately today there is a cornucopia of beers to pair with Thanksgiving and other foods (canned, bottled, bulk and more).



* - D. B. S. Maxwell, Historical Archaeology - Beer Cans: A Guide for the Archaeologist (Rockville: Society for Historical Archaeology, 1993), 95-113. Print.

(99+ bottles cans of beer on the wall photo: via.)

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One If By Land, Two If By Sea

This isn’t the story of Paul Revere’s midnight ride to warn Lexington and Concord that the British were coming during the American Revolution. Its about Prohibition’s turbulent ride through American history, 145 years later.

More specifically, its not about how many lanterns were hanging in Boston’s Christ Church (now the Old North Church) as a warning signal, its:

Bootlegging if by land, Rum Running if by sea.

Although both involve illegally transporting alcoholic beverages, the term bootlegging usually refers to smuggling over land whereas rum-running is more commonly applied to smuggling over water. While both ‘activities’ sport namesake drinks, let’s seas [sic] upon the Rum Runner cocktail now and the Bootlegger cocktail later.

Rum Runner Cocktail No. 1
Behind The Bar

Rum Runner No. 1 Drink Recipe:

  • 1 jigger rum
  • 1 spoon sugar
  • 2 ponies pineapple juice (unsweetened)
  • 1 lime - juice only
  • 1 dash Peychaud’s bitters

Add the sugar to the unsweetened pineapple juice to dissolve. Squeeze in the lime juice (lemon juice works but there’s not quite the flavor). Dash on the bitters and muddle well.

Finally, pour in the rum along with several lumps of ice. Stir or preferably shake. An egg white makes it extra smooth.

Drink History

Rum Runner cocktail No. 1 appears to have been first published in 1937 as a famous New Orleans drink by Stanley Clisby Arthur.* He noted:

During the unlucky thirteen years that Prohibition darkened the land, the rum runner was the only little ray of sunshine on an otherwise sombre horizon. What more appropriate than a demon rum drink be named for this angel of mercy?

The hostess who strives to give her guests something deliciously different can do no better than fix upon a Rum Runner. But she must be prepared for many repeats. They always come back for more.

Similar Cocktails To Rum Runner #1
  • Barracuda - gold rum, pineapple juice, Galliano and lime juice topped with Prosecco.
  • Bon Bini Cocktail - Curaçao, white rum and pineapple juice.
  • Calypso Cooler - white rum, lime juice, pineapple juice and powdered sugar topped with club soda.
  • Cooper’s Ranch Punch - pineapple juice, guava nectar, Puerto Rican rum, lime juice and grenadine.
  • Cuban Special Cocktail - white rum, lime juice, Curaçao, pineapple juice.
  • Fern Gully Fizz - pineapple juice, white rum, Jamaican rum, lime juice and club soda.
  • Frozen Pineapple Daiquiri - pineapple chunks, light rum, lime juice and sugar.
  • Hawaiian Daisy - white rum, pineapple juice, 151 proof rum, grenadine, lime juice and club soda garnished with papaya.
  • Hotel Nacional Cocktail - light rum and apricot liqueur with pineapple and lime juice.
  • Hurricane Punch - light and dark rum with passion fruit syrup and lime juice.
  • Irish Elegance Cocktail - Jamaican rum, lime juice, brandy, pineapple juice, crème de violette and sugar.
  • Jamaican Elegance - Jamaican rum, lime juice, pineapple juice, brandy and sugar syrup.
  • Key Cocktail - gin, lime juice, Jamaican rum and falernum garnished with a pineapple stick.
  • Missionary’s Downfall - sprig of mint, pineapple juice, lime juice, white rum, peach-flavored brandy liqueur and sugar syrup.
  • Oriente Cocktail - pineapple juice, white rum, lime juice, Amer Picon and sugar.
  • Pago Pago - Puerto Rican rum, pineapple juice, lime juice, crème de cacao and green Chartreuse.
  • Pilgrim’s Progress - substitute grapefruit juice for pineapple in the No. 1 Rum Runner drink recipe.
  • Rum Pineapple Fizz - gold rum, egg white, lemon juice, lime juice, 151 proof rum, sugar, diced pineapple and club soda.
  • Santiago Julep - white rum, sprig of mint, lime juice, pineapple juice and grenadine.
  • Snow White Cocktail - a Rum Runner drink No. 1 with egg white minus the bitters.
  • Tahiti Club - gold rum, maraschino liqueur or crème de prunelle, lemon juice, pineapple juice and lime juice.
  • Tall Islander - pineapple juice, white rum, lime juice, dark rum, sugar and club soda.
  • Treasure Island Special - pineapple juice, Jamaican rum, white rum, sugar, lime juice, peach-flavored brandy liqueur, Curaçao and Angostura bitters.
  • Zombie Drink - lime juice, falernum; gold, dark and 151 rum, grenadine, Pernod, Angostura bitters, grapefruit juice and cinnamon-infused sugar syrup.
  • Zoomar Cocktail - pineapple juice, dark rum, grenadine and lime juice.

Rum Runner: A cocktail with a beachy origin - YouTube

Rum Runner Cocktail No. 2a, 2b, etc.

Many of the stories surrounding the origins of Rum Runner cocktail No. 2 tell a similar tale but date the drink’s history going back to the 1950s. The CNN video above shot at the Holiday Isle Tiki Bar sets the record straight with all the actual details. A partial transcript is below.

Drink History

“Welcome to the world famous Tiki bar in Islamorada in the Florida Keys, the birthplace of the original Rum Runner. We are about half way between Key West and Miami, so whether you’re passing through to Key West or want to come down for the weekend to Miami its a great spot to stop.

“A dentist in 1968 started collecting driftwood off of Windley Key and started building the Tiki bar. It actually opened in 1970 and was originally about 10 foot long and a thatch hut.

“A lot of times there’s liquor that’s not used anymore and its called dead stock. They had a lot of it behind the bar and the owner wanted to get rid of it so in 1972, Tiki John who was a famous bartender down here in the Keys was challenged by the owner to burn off all of the deadstock liquor and come up with a cool drink that they could use. After many attempts, he came up with the original Rum Runner.” ~ Nikki Bell

Behind The Bar

Tiki John’s Original Rum Runner Cocktail Recipe:

  • ½ oz Bacardi black rum
  • ½ oz Bacardi 151 rum
  • ⅞ oz Hiram Walker blackberry brandy
  • ⅞ oz Hiram Walker banana liqueur
  • ⅝ oz Giroux grenadine
  • 1 oz lime juice

Holiday Isle Tiki Bar’s Rum Runner Drink Recipe:

  • 1 part silver rum
  • 1 part Myer’s rum
  • 1 part blackberry brandy
  • 1 part banana liqueur
  • 1 splash orange juice
  • 1 splash pineapple juice
  • 1 dash grenadine

Both recipes above are shaken and served ice cold.

These last two Rum Runner recipes may not have been the first, but Tiki John’s is definitely the most famous.

Similar Cocktails To Rum Runner #2 et al†
  • Bacardi Rum Runner - Bacardi rum, blackberry brandy, cranberry juice, OJ and pineapple juice.
  • Banana Daiquiri - white rum, slice of banana, lime juice and sugar.
  • Bitter Banana Cooler - white rum, pineapple juice, slice of banana, lime juice, lemon, Peychaud’s bitters and soda.
  • Blackberry Mojito - mint leaves, blackberries, agave syrup, light rum, lime juice and club soda.
  • Blackberry Pineapple Rum - plus Grand Marnier and lime juice.
  • Caribbean Champagne Cocktail - banana cordial, white rum, orange bitters and dry Champagne.
  • Metropine - pineapple juice, rum, crème de bananes and Caloric or Swedish Punch/Punsch.
  • Oracabessa Cocktail - banana liqueur, dark rum and lemon juice topped with lemonade.
  • Rose Hall - orange juice, dark rum, banana cordial and lime juice.
  • Somerset Cocktail - Puerto Rican rum, papaya nectar, Bonivar and lemon juice.
  • West Indies Yellow Bird - orange juice, pineapple juice, white rum, Galliano and crème de banane.
  • Yellow Monkey - cream, white rum, crème de cacao, Galliano and banana.

More cocktails that start with ‘R.’


National Bootlegger’s Day a.k.a Rum Runner’s Day is January 17th.‡


* - Stanley Clisby Arthur, Famous New Orleans Drinks and How To Mix ’Em (New Orleans: Harmanson Publisher, 1937), 66. Print.

† - There are seemingly countless recipe variations including the Cancun Rum Runner, Florida Rum Runner, Island Style Rum Runner, Las Vegas Rum Runner, Nancy’s Backstage Rum Runner, New York City Rum Runner, Old Timers Rum Runner, Ruby (Tuesday) Runner, Tom’s Rum Runner and many more.

‡ - January 17th is also Hot Buttered Rum Day and Ben Franklin Day on the National Days Calendar.

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Dinner for one - YouTube

Dinner For One Is MUST SEE TV Across Europe On New Year’s Eve

In many European countries New Year’s Eve means the same procedure as last year. In fact, it has meant the same procedure there every year since 1972 when the 1920s play by author Lauri Wylie filmed in 1963 for German television in its original English language was re-aired by NDR. People across Europe ritualistically gather around on December 31st* to watch what has become an almost mandatory annual viewing of the classic British comedy sketch Dinner For One.

And for good reason. Its pretty funny!

Happy Birthday Miss Sophie

However, Dinner For One, also known as The 90th Birthday or The Butler and the Countess, is not a New Year’s Eve celebration at all. It’s Miss Sophie’s 90th birthday party dinner and she thinks four of her former admirers, Sir Toby, Admiral von Schneider, Mr. Pommeroy and Mr. Winterbottom, all now deceased, are in attendance at the table.

Dinner For One - Drinks For Five

The comedy begins with the sound of the Happy Birthday To You song playing in the background and revolves mainly around the role of the butler, James (Freddie Finton). He recreates each past persona while serving a four course meal to the countess, Miss Sophie (May Warden), along with the accompanying drinks to her and each of her four imaginary guests. After repeatedly tripping over the head of a tiger rug located between the dinner table and the home bar, or buffet table depending on the TV version, he impersonates raising a toast from each of the guests and drinks from each of their four glasses.

The suitors and their respective toasts that James imitates in turn are from Sir Toby who says, ‘Cheerio,’ Admiral von Schneider who declares ‘Skál’ while clicking his heels together, Mr. Pommeroy who wishes her “Happy New Year,” and Mr. Winterbottom who remarks, “Well here we are again my old lovely…” while mumbling off. Its Mr. Pommeroy’s toast that may have started this New Year’s Eve tradition, however his Happy New Year salutation was really a birthday reference.

Most Watched British Comedy Not Seen In Great Britain?

“Every New Year’s Eve, half of all Germans plunk down in front of their televisions to watch a 1963 English comedy sketch called Dinner for One. Walk into any bar in Bavaria and shout the film’s refrain:

The same procedure as last year, madam?

The whole crowd will shout back in automatic, if stilted, English:

The same procedure as every year, James.

Even though Dinner For One is, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, the most frequently repeated TV program ever,† it has never been aired in the United Kingdom or the United States, and most of the English-speaking world is ignorant of its existence. When Der Spiegel probed the mystery last New Year’s Eve, it found that the BBC had not only never contemplated broadcasting this veddy British nugget in the United Kingdom, the BBC’s spokesperson had never even heard of it.” ~ Slate

Make A New Year’s Resolution To Watch Dinner For One

The drinking antics may be a little predictable, but the ending where James helps Miss Sophie retire to bed is hilarious. Maybe a screening of this in at home bars around this country will become the elixir for a New Year’s Eve ritual over here as well. While Miss Sophie works her way through sherry with the mulligatawny soup, white wine with the fish, Champagne with the bird (a chicken) and port with the fruit, you may want one of these Champagne cocktails to pair with your own viewing of Dinner For One on New Year’s Eve.

The Happy New Year cocktail or Resolution martini would be great drink choices too.

Want More British Humor?

Benny Hill’s antics behind the bar are always good for a laugh. Are you OK with risque?


* - Watching the broadcast of Dinner For One has become more of a Christmas tradition in Norway. Its an integral part of their Little Christmas Eve celebrations held each year on December 23rd along with some Norwegian Glogg.

† - The Guinness Book Of World Records listed Dinner For One as the most frequently repeated TV program ever in their 1988 to 1995 editions. The category has since been removed.

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Shake The Branches And Xmas Recipes Will Fall
On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me … a partridge in a pear tree.

Inspired by the classic Christmas carol “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” there are more drink recipes for a pear tree cocktail than you can shake a stick at. Really.

Many are drinks with a pear and elderflower combination like this one, but there are lots of unrelated concoctions too. This holiday champagne cocktail version of the pear tree drink sticks with the same fall flavor pairing and adds a splash of bubbly.

Behind The Bar

Pear Tree Champagne Cocktail:

  • 1 oz pear flavored vodka
  • 1 oz elderflower liqueur
  • 1 oz champagne
  • 1-2 pear slices for garnish

Add the pear infused vodka and elderflower liqueur into cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into chilled glass. Top off drink with champagne. Garnish with a slice of pear fruit fresh from the tree.

When you’re home for the holidays, the pear tree is a light libation that’s great for Christmas cocktails or Thanksgiving themed tipples. If you can’t decide what the first day of Christmas is (holiday or shopping), then celebrate the fall harvest or both.

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Drink Fights Historic Battle

The French 75 champagne cocktail is caught in the battle of a war being waged over its invention. While there seems to be consensus on the drink’s name (in honor of the potent kick of the French 75 millimeter field artillery gun Canon de 75 modèle 1897 used in World War I), the when, who and even what goes into the cocktails original creation is a skirmish the WWI fighter pilots who loved the drink, and some say one invented, never fought.*

Harry’s ABC of Mixing Cocktails suggests the first French 75 was made in 1915, but credits no one for the concoction. ‘Count’ Leon Bertrand Arnaud Casenave, former owner of the French-Creole restaurant Arnaud’s in New Orleans, is rumored to have given himself credit for the drink’s invention a few years after that date, and Duncan MacElhone, the proprietor of Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, told us his grandfather Harry undoubtedly created the recipe in the mid-‘20s. Some mixologists suggest that the French 75 was first made with brandy, not gin, which would certainly be more in line with the tastes of the French. ~ Cocktail: The Drinks Bible for the 21st Century†,‡

Let’s delve a little deeper.

French 75 Drink Recipe Timeline
  • 1921 - The original “75” Cocktail is first published by Harry MacElhone of Ciro’s Club in London with Calvados apple brandy, gin, grenadine and absinthe or Anis-del-Oso.1 See recipe below.

  • 1922 - Robert Vermeire eliminates the absinthe, adds lemon juice and reduces the grenadine in his “75” Cocktail recipe.2

  • 1927 - Judge Jr. publishes the now classic French “75” cocktail recipe during prohibition in the first of three pamphlets loaded with humor and drinks.3 His recipe called for Gordon water (London dry gin), lemon juice, powdered sugar and cracked ice in a tall glass topped with champagne.

Notes: Although New Orleans claims the honor of inventing the 'cocktail,’ Arnauld’s only claims to have begun serving the French 75 cocktail in 1918 after opening their restaurant that year in the French Quarter.5

As for being made with brandy, the “75” drink recipe was first made with brandy and gin. Additional confusion may have been added though when American attorney David Embury, turned avid connoisseur / author, wrote in his 1948 book The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks: “Gin is sometimes used in place of Cognac in this drink, but then, of course, it no longer should be called French.” Nowadays, most refer to this formulation as a French 125.

How To Make A French 75 and Counting

“75” Cocktail Recipe:

  • ⅔ Calvados
  • ⅓ gin
  • 1 tsp grenadine
  • 2 dashes absinthe or Anis-del-Oso

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

French 75 Drink Recipe:

  • 1 ½ oz gin
  • 1 tsp simple syrup
  • ½ oz lemon juice
  • 3-4 oz Champagne
  • lemon twist for garnish

Use a citrus juicer to fresh squeeze a lemon. Add to a cocktail shaker with ice along with the gin and simple syrup mixture. Shake and strain into a chilled champagne flute. Top with champagne and garnish with a twist of lemon peel.

Recipe Variations To The French 75 Cocktail
  • French 76 - substitute vodka for gin, some French 74 versions call for OJ too.
  • French 77 - elderflower liqueur blossoms flavor into the bubbly.
  • French 79 - grapefruit infused gin, elderflower liqueur & rhubarb bitters.
  • French 85 - brandy based along with other similar drinks listed as French 125.
  • French 90 - rye whiskey, golden grains replace juniper berries.
  • French 91 - L’Oreal champagne cocktail color, not for consumption, just making sure you’re paying attention.
  • French 95 - bourbon, not gin, uses Brut force to overpower the Champagne.

When you want something stiffer than sparkling, you need to have the French 75 in your home bar’s drink arsenal. Also, if you run out of champagne, you can always make your own soda water and mix up a Tom Collins instead.

BTW, both drinks are IBA Official Cocktails.

What The Dickens Is This?

Judge Jr. may have been the first to dub the French 75 cocktail as such, but the mixture of ingredients might actually have literary origins. An 1885 article about Boston’s Parker House hotel claims that Charles Dickens used to entertain his guests there while in town with “Tom gin and champagne cups” as far back as 1867.4

Champagne cups are sparkling wine, citrus, sugar and ice that when served with Old Tom gin are basically French 75 cocktails with Old Tom instead of London dry gin. Similar punch recipes have been documented prior as well. Here’s a quote from 1902:

Most punches use a combination of strong liquors and wines, such as gin and champagne. Lemon is indispensable, and they are usually well sweetened with sugar. ~ Banquet Book5

Sound familiar?


* - Many articles discuss the rumors of WW1 Franco-American flying ace, Gervais Raoul Lufbery, some with possible input from French Aviator Colonel René Paul Fonck, as being the inventors of the French 75. However, none have proven credible.

† - The King’s Peg is a similar cocktail, but with only two ingredients, brandy mixed with champagne. The reference to French Officers sipping a 75 sans without lemon and Cointreau, later in the book, seems to also describe this drink.

‡ - Their French 75 formula is a lighter libation which is more of an aperitif that includes orange liqueur. The recipe listed above was chosen to represent the kick that supposedly inspired it and the ingredients remain consistent with most.

1 - Harry MacElhone, Harry of Ciro’s ABC of Mixing Cocktails (second impression) (London: Dean & Son LTD, 1923), 65. Print. Inclusion in the 1921 first edition is often cited, but hasn’t been verified.

2 - Robert Vermeire, Cocktails - How To Mix Them (London: Herbert Jenkins, 1922), 44. Print.

3 - Toast The Cocktail via Arnaud’s restaurant.

4 - Unverified. Needs citation.

4 - Cuyler Reynolds, The Banquet Book (New York / London: Knickerbocker Press, 1902), 419. Print.

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Plan Your Christmas Party Drinks Menu

Celebrate the festivities and bring out the spirit of the season with these Merry Christmas cocktails and Happy Holiday drink recipes which are themed to match the occasion. Along with the countless activities required to plan and prepare for the big day, there’s also normally lots of entertaining before, during and on through the New Year.

Whether you’re hosting family, friends, neighbors or co-workers these seasonal sips with give you enough ideas to throw different parties for each group if you want. Warm up or cool down, there’s Christmas cocktails for adults and non-alcoholic holiday drinks for the kids or others who don’t want to imbibe.

Entertaining Elixirs

Glogg - a sweet and spicy wine punch which is a popular Nordic drink served hot during the Christmas holidays and winter nights. Glogg has roots in Sweden and means mulled wine. Steeped with raisins, orange peelings, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and more, this old Norwegian Glogg recipe will warm your holiday spirit.

Eggnog / Tom & Jerry - probably the most popular Christmas drink. Eggnog is a creamy cocktail with those familiar spices that make your home smell like the holidays. Substitute brandy for the bourbon and you have a drink so special that its almost sacrilegious not to serve it in glasses labeled just for “Tom and Jerry.”

Mint Stinger - creme de menthe flavors this favorite to match the peppermint candy canes hanging on Christmas trees and fireplace stockings. Bing Crosby had something to say about this deceptive dessert drink in the movie High Society and something to sing about as the man known as the “voice of Christmas.”

The ‘Merry Christmas’ Cocktail - this cranberry Tom Collins has the festive color to match the holiday season and as a long drink its recipe can be made as light as you like. Just add more club soda to the gin and juices or skip the alcohol altogether and serve as a Xmas party mocktail to the kids and adults alike.

Partridge in a Pear Tree - on the first day of Christmas cocktail pays homage to the carol. Trouble is, what day is that exactly? Christmas Day or the day after are traditional, but business calendars have promoted the 12 days of Christmas starting December 14 & others use Black Friday (1st day of Christmas shopping).

More Holiday Themed Drinks

When entertaining, the first rule of holiday drinking should be “humor helps.”

Finally, other than the obvious, what do Christmas and home bars have in common?

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The Classic Chicago Cocktail Tops Brandy With Champagne

The Chicago Cocktail is a classic brandy drink that is similar to a Champagne Cocktail topped off with brandy. Just reverse the proportions and substitute orange liqueur for the sugar cube.

Another comparison may be to a Sidecar with just a twist of lemon juice and topped with champagne. The lack of a sour component does make this drink a little sweet. Some would say, too.

Drink Brandied [sic] About As Windy City Namesake

While the Chicago Cocktail is a namesake for the windy city, its not their signature drink. Like Kansas City Ice Water, its popularity never seemed to take off and may be a better fit for their brandy loving next door neighbors in Wisconsin. Although, they’re a bit Old Fashioned about their brandy.

Behind The Bar - How To Make A Chicago Cocktail

Chicago Cocktail Drink Recipe:

  • 3 oz brandy
  • 1 dash orange liqueur
  • 1 dash aromatic bitters
  • 1-2 oz champagne

Add the brandy, orange liqueur and aromatic bitters into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well and strain into a flute with its rim frosted in castor sugar*. Top with champagne or sparkling wine to complete the Chicago Cocktail.

Drink recipe adapted from Harry Craddick’s Savoy Cocktail Book (1930). Other versions omit the champagne and serve the remaining ingredients over cracked ice in a old fashioned glass with a sugared rim frosting and a lemon slice for garnish.

History Of The Chicago Cocktail

The Chicago Cocktail was first published in 1922 as a reference to another drink.

The Chicago Cocktail is also called a ‘Fancy Brandy Cocktail.’ It is a plain Brandy Cocktail with a little Champagne on the top and the squeezed lemon-peel dropped in the glass. Before straining the mixture into the cocktail-glass, moisten the outside borders of the glass with lemon juice and dip into pulverized sugar.†

Well, Fancy That

While the Fancy Brandy cocktail dates back to the first cocktail book ever published in 1862, the recipe evolved over the years. Major milestones are highlighted below.

Fancy Brandy Drink Recipe Timeline
  • 1862 - Jerry Thomas’s original Fancy Brandy cocktail ingredients were brandy, Curacoa, Bogart’s bitters and gum syrup shaken with ice and strained into a ‘fancy’ wine-glass. Garnish with a lemon peel after first squeezing and moistening the edge of the glass.‡

  • 1878 - Leo Engel’s Fancy Brandy drink was made the same as his Criterion Cocktail (brandy, water, Boker’s bitters, plain syrup and Benedictine) except it too was strained into a ‘fancy’ wine-glass, a piece of lemon peel thrown on top and the edge of the glass was moistened with lemon and dipped in sugar.1

  • 1882 - Harry Johnson appears to be the first to add champagne to his Fancy Brandy cocktail (only if kept on draught), but skips the sugared rim. He also added a dash of absinthe “if required” which had become fairly standard by then and noted: “Mixed as directed… will make a very pleasant drink. It is a universal favorite in the western part of this country.”2

  • 1904 - Thomas Stuart finally fancied using both champagne and a sugared rim in his Fancy Brandy Cocktail No. 1.3

  • 1922 - Robert Vermeire dubbed the Chicago Cocktail as being the same as the Fancy Brandy Cocktail and eliminated gum syrup from his drink recipe.

More Drinks Mixed With Brandy and Champagne
  • Buck and Breck - a Cognac based Chicago cocktail named after the 1856 winning democratic presidential ticket of James Buchanan and John Breckinridge that’s made with absinthe instead of orange liqueur and sugar frosting the inside of the glass as well.
  • D’Artagnan Drink - specifically calls for Armagnac brandy and adds orange juice and simple syrup absent the bitters to its recipe.
  • Imperial Delight / I.B.F. Pick-Me-Up Cocktail - brandy, curaçao and Fernet Branca topped with champagne and a lemon peel twist.
  • King’s Peg - brandy and ice filled with champagne.
  • Luxury Cocktail - brandy, orange bitters and champagne.
  • Rajah Cocktail - half brandy and half champagne.
  • Russian Cocktail - lemon wetted and sugar frosted glass filled with Cognac, Kummel and champagne.
  • Valencia #2 - apricot brandy with orange bitters replacing Chicago’s aromatic and juice instead of liqueur.


* - Castor sugar has superfine granulated crystals sized in between powdered and standard table sugar. You can quickly grind table sugar into superfine for your at home bar by using a mortar and pestle, smashing between a barspoon and the inside of a bowl, or pressing the crystals with a flat bottom glass against a plate or other smooth surface with a twisting motion. Just don’t over do it.

† - Robert Vermeire, Cocktails - How To Mix Them (London: Herbert Jenkins, 1922), 23. Print.

‡ - Jerry Thomas, How To Mix Drinks, or The Bon-Vivant’s Companion (New York: Dick & Fitzgerald, 1862), 50. Print.

1 - Leo Engel, American & Other Drinks (London: Tinsley Brothers, 1878), 40. Print.

2 - Harry Johnson, The New And Improved Bartender’s Manual or How To Mix Drinks Of The Present Style (New York: Samisch & Goldmann, 1882), 172. Print.

3 - Thos. Stuart, Stuart’s Fancy Drinks and How To Mix Them (New York: Excelsior Publishing House, 1904), 19. Print.

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