Saturday, May 29, 2010

Exhibit #32: On the Rocks

When you visit the town of Savannah,
Enlist 'neath the temperence banneh,
For if you should lunch,
On Artillery Punch,
It will treat you in a sorrowful manneh.

When it attacketh a man it layeth him low and he knoweth not whence he cometh or whither he goeth.

In Savannah, it puts a man to bed like a gentleman.

(newspaper quotes excavated by David Wondrich)

Chatham Artillery Punch $5
A 19th century punch prepared in the traditional manner, starting with the all-important 'oleo saccharum' (sweet oil). The process begins with muddling lemon peels in sugar to extract their essence, then strawberries and pineapple are added, muddled and removed along with the lemon peels. The remaining ingredients are Pink Catawba wine from Stone Hill winery, aged Virgin Islands rum (Cruzan dark), rye whiskey (Old Overholt), lemon juice, and green tea. This forms the "stock" and must be aged for at least two days. Champagne is added before serving.

This punch was rather infamous throughout the 19th century. It is associated with Savannah, Georgia and its local fighting force, active from the late 18th century to the present (currently known as the Georgia National Guard's 118th battalion). Until the Civil War, the unit had more to do with Savannah's active and unique social life than fighting and it is thought that the punch dates from that era. Such was its deliciousness and potency that it was not long before it spread along the eastern seaboard.

Bermuda Rum Swizzle $6
Traditional drink of the West Indies, dating from the late 19th century. Pusser's rum, lime, pineapple and orange juices, a little Falernum and crushed ice.

Florodora $5
A wonderful fad drink from 1900, named for a racy Broadway show of the time. Plymouth gin, lime juice, ginger ale, and raspberry syrup, on the rocks.

Mamie Taylor $6
Another Broadway drink from the turn of the century before last - Black Bottle scotch, lime juice, and spicy ginger beer, on the rocks.

Moscow Mule $6
And here is the direct descendant of the Mamie Taylor - same drink, but with vodka. Before WWII, vodka was an exotic spirit and you'd be hard pressed to find more than a half dozen cocktails that featured it, which is why vodka drinks so rarely appear on Museum menus. The Moscow Mule, popular in the late 1940s and 1950s, put that spirit squarely in the public eye and from that point on vodka began its steady march to domination. We'll be pouring some old-school potato vodka for this one (Luksusowa), along with lime juice and Gosling's ginger beer, on the rocks. Sorry, we don't have the traditional copper mugs...

Vieux Carré $7
A specialty of New Orleans' Carousel Lounge from a century ago: rye whiskey (Russell's 6yr), brandy (Martell VSOP), dry vermouth, Benedictine, Angostura and Peychaud's bitters, on the rocks.

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