Sunday, November 15, 2015

Cazapra French Dry Vermouth

I was recently looking through the October 31, 1938 edition of the New York Times through their TimesMachine website for some information on the Orson Welles radio performance of the War of the Worlds. I wrote about it for my HistorySisco Tumblr page if you feel inclined to check it out. Now as with prior posts, where I look for old advertisements for old liquor postings, I found this one in that day's edition.

The ad was for a French Dry Vermouth called Cazapra. As you see above, the unlucky fellow is brooding that he has "Martini-envy" and can't live up to the standard set by this particular fellow of the name of Jim. Apparently Jim's Martini skills are strong that the sun knows about it and states that Jim uses Cazapra aka The Sunshine Vermouth. Now this is not to be confused with a Sunshine Cocktail which contains French Vermouth. I'll touch on that particular concoction in a later post. Sorry for the digression.

From what I found about this particular French Dry Vermouth, is that it is/was distributed in France by a company called Cazalis and Prats. There seems to be another French Vermouth of the same era aptly named Cazalis and Prats French Dry Vermouth and I haven't been able to find anything to state whether both the Cazapra Vermouth and the Cazalis and Prats Vermouth are one and the same with a different label.

The main reference that I found for both Vermouths is from the New York Public Library What's on the menu? collection. They have catalogued over 45,000 menus and digitized 17,545 of them that you can search through by a variety of search options. It really is a fascinating website which I have successfully used before for my October 15, 2013 post The Cocktail List at the Copacabana 1943. I highly recommend it.

In terms of the Cazapra, I found one mention for this vermouth on the menu listing for The Wine and Food Society, Inc's 70th tasting (during the season of 1946-1947) that was held at Starlight Roof of the Waldorf Astoria on March 21, 1947. The event was called A Tasting of Apéritifs and Hors D'Oeuvre and in said event there were numerous types of apéritif that were paired with particular hors d'oeuvres. I'll devote a future post on the other aperitifs that were offered at this event. For the moment, here is the page that highlights the Cazapra

Courtesy of the NYPL Labs What's on the Menu Database
To find out a little more of where Vermouth is traditionally made, I decided to check out the Vermouth 101 website. Here is how they describe the traditional area of Vermouth production:
Geographically, The cradle of vermouth is the ethnically Italian Piemonte and ethnically French Savoy regions, which, in the 18th Century comprised the mainland territory of the Kingdom of Sardinia.
In addition to economic ties, these regions shared the local wine production and the rich botanical diversity of the Alpine foothills necessary to produce vermouth and related beverages. (By the 1861, the Kingdom of Sardinia had gobbled up the rest of the peninsula to create what we know today as Italy, losing the Savoy region permanently to France by treaty.)
If you want to know more about Vermouths, definitely peruse the Vermouth 101 website. While I couldn't find anything on the Cazapra French Vermouth on the website, it is an amazing resource to research. It just might be that the Cazapra brand was absorbed by another brand or just ceased to be in production. If I find anything else, I'll return to this post.

I do have a brief Vermouth story that I will relate in a future post. So keep an eye out for it.

Until Then Happy Drinking,

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Drip-Along Daffy (1951)

With all the comments based on the events that led to my Liquid Cocaine Cocktail post and a side tangent on whether or not real men like cowboys from the Wild West put ice in their scotch whisky, I somehow ended up gravitating to this Looney Toons cartoon starring Daffy Duck as a western hero showing up to a one-horse town to clean things up. His arrival leads him to conflict at the bar with the most wanted man in town: Nasty Canasta. Inspiration comes the weirdest of places folks. On to the bar.

Daffy and Nasty square off at the bar when Nasty orders what he calls his "usual". Now as a former bartender, we learn what our regular patrons like to drink and the bartender in the cartoon is no exception. He even has the necessary bar tools to make Nasty's drink.

This is some serious mixology folks. Sitting in an asbestos lined case on the top shelf are bottles of Cobra Fang Juice, Hydrogen Bitters and Old Panther. I guess bartenders in the Wild West were whipping up craft cocktails using exotic ingredients. As we see, the bartender gets to work on Nasty's drink.

This drink is so strong, that the drops coming from the layering are searing the bar. No wonder he wears a welder's mask and heavy duty gloves to hold the tongs!!!

Here is why cowboys never used ice in their drinks. Those concoctions were so potent that the ice cubes would jump out and extinguish themselves in the water bucket reserved to putting out fires. That's some serious heat.

Daffy is in awe of the boiling cocktail and just tells Nasty "You wouldn't dare." To which Nasty takes up the challenge and doesn't even bat an eyelash as he chugs away. His hat does a flip but that is only effect the cocktail has on the big man. 

Canasta only smiles as he demands that Daffy drink. In a move that I personally witness on more than one occasion, Daffy pawns his drink off to an unsuspecting friend, in this case it is Deputy Porky that is offered a free drink. As with those unsuspecting friends I saw, Deputy Porky is not one to say no to a free drink and proceeds to polish off the drink.

With nary an ill effect, and to the chagrin of Daffy, Porky walks away wiping his mouth. Daffy has the look on his face that says "Well if that schmuck can do the drink, why can't I" as he bangs on the bar to get the bartender's attention for another one of Canasta's "Usual". As we are prone to do while behind the bar, if the customer orders it, they get it.

Daffy chugs away and then the drinks kicks in on both himself and Deputy Porky.

After hitting the floor, flying to the ceiling, Daffy drifts down telling Canasta "I hate you." I'm sure I had many a customer say the same about me as they were nursing their next-day hangovers. LOL. Ah the memories of bar shifts gone by.

Here is the Drip-Along Daffy cartoon in its entirety:

That was a fun post. I have to remember to do more of these in the future. 

Until Then Happy Drinking,

Liquid Cocaine Cocktail

Don't hold the title against me folks. I didn't invent this cocktail. I can't even tell you who invented it or why it was invented. But there is a funny story behind it. My friend Ellie recently had her debut at the Hollywood Improv Comedy Club and after a successful set, she sat down with friends and ordered herself a Liquid Cocaine cocktail. At this point things take a comedic turn (no pun intended). Here is the dialogue that Ellie says took place.
Conversation with waiter last night after being served "liquid cocaine":
waiter: how was it?
me (Ellie): awful. it sucks hairy balls and dingleberries.
(time lapses)
Rosa Margarita: we want to order another round.
Waiter: No. I am cutting you guys off.
All: What? Why?
Waiter: (pointing at me) She's being belligerent.
Me (Ellie): Huh?
My friends: How is she being belligerent?
Waiter: She said dingleberry.
Me (Ellie): You're kicking us out because I said dingleberry?
waiter: yes.
"And I am glad I had a table full of people that can vouch that this shit really happened to me."
NICE!!!! Damn I wish I was in Hollywood to have seen that exchange. Since they were cut off, Ellie and friends just took their business elsewhere. Keep in mind, Ellie had just done a set there. Talk about not having a sense of humor folks. Sounds like Ellie has new material to work with. But on to the cocktail in question.

From what I can find in my research, there are two popular versions of the Liquid Cocaine. One can be found on the Common Man Cocktails YouTube channel.

Here is the recipe for the Liquid Cocaine:
Liquid Cocaine #1
1/2 oz. Dark Rum
1/2 oz. Jagermeister
1/2 oz. Goldschlager
1/2 oz. Rumple Minze 
Pour into a ice filled cocktail shaker. Shake and serve over ice. 
On a side note, why would you ruin the Bacardi 8 in this drink. Really now. In this drink any dark rum would work. Just use Bacardi gold.  Anyway, here is the video on the Liquid Cocaine:

The second recipe I came across calls for the Liquid Cocaine to be made in the following manner:
Liquid Cocaine #2
1-part Grand Marnier
1-part Southern Comfort
1-part Vodka
1-part Amaretto
Splash of Pineapple
Dash of grenadine
Build and shake in an ice filled shaker. Pour over ice or in shot glasses.
Apparently the second cocktail is popular in South Dakota. Why? I have no clue. A person who commented on the video for the first version said so. Since it isn't that important to me, I'll take his word for it. Either recipe might work as a shooter. But drinking these over the period of a night will definitely give you the nastiest sugar hangover in the morning plus as Wilford Brimley says:

At the age of 43, I can't deal with those any longer.

More importantly, kudos to my friend Ellie on her kickass turn to stand-up comedy. You've never ceased to amaze me before and you sure as hell haven't stopped now. Keep rocking on like the rockstar that you are. Cheers!!!!

Until Then Happy Drinking,