– Jerry Lewis, The Nutty Professor (1963)
I promised a blog geared towards the guys … and this is it … but ladies who enjoy the spirits, read on …..
Have you ever had the perfect mixed drink? Cocktails have been a longstanding favorite in American bartending history. Reports are varied, but it seems that most experts date the first print reference of the term “cocktail” to 1803 in the US, and 1798 in London, England. By the late 19th and early 20th century, bartenders got increasingly creative with cocktail ingredients. The first known book of American cocktail recipes, How to Mix Drinks, by Jerry Thomas was published in 1863.
Whiskey, an old favorite in the US and abroad, especially appears as the heart and soul of many cocktail recipes. I’d like to think that both on its own and as a cocktail component, it is supremely vintage. One famous vintage whiskey-centered drink, The American Boilermaker, is said to have become a favorite in the US in the first half of the 20th century. Traditionally, it is very simple: A pint of beer chased by a shot of whiskey. Later, we see these two components as a mixed drink.
I took a trip to Ye Olde Durty Bird in Toledo, OH to learn a little bit more about bartending and mixed drinks from Matt “Elvis” Palmer. He presented me with three (delicious) recipes: One traditional boilermaker, and three modernized vintage favorites.
The Traditional Boilermaker:
- 1 shot whiskey
- 1 beer
There are several ways to serve. Some drink the liquor separately and chase with beer. Some simply pour both elements into the glass, while others insist on the following method:
Pouring the whiskey to the brim of the shot glass and then placing the shot glass so it is held against the inside base of an upturned glass. The bartender then flips the glass over so that the whiskey is trapped in the shot glass and pours the beer into the glass over the whiskey filled shot glass.
The “Applesauce” Boilermaker
Combine the following ingredients in a pint glass:
- ½ oz. Wild Turkey American Honey
- ½ oz. Fireball Whiskey
- 12 oz. Stella Cidre
The Durty Sidecar
Combine the following ingredients into a shaker with ice, and then pour into a sniffer and serve with an orange slice.
- 1 oz. Jacobs Ghost
- 1 oz. Wild Turkey American Honey (Elvis says, “Give ‘em the bird”)
- ½ oz. Grand Marnier
- A splash of sour mix
The Elvis Palmer
Combine ingredients in a pint glass and finish with ice:
- 1 oz. Sailor Jerry
- 12 oz. Smirnoff Ice
- Fresh squeezed lemon to taste
The Horse’s Neck
Here’s another traditional recipe that I love, although the name is a little less than appetizing. Combine ingredients in a Collins style glass and garnish with lemon peel:
- 2 oz. Bourbon Brandy or American Rye Whiskey
- Ginger Ale
- A dash of bitters (optional- we see this more in earlier versions)
If you are in pursuit of some delicious vintage fieldwork, feel free to visit Matt "Elvis" Palmer at Ye Old Durty Bird. Aside from being a beautiful bar in downtown Toledo, it is also the site of Retro Night on April 19. The Pinup Project will be playing tunes all night long, and at 10 pm a pinup girl competition will commence. It’s not too late to pick out some vintage threads and attend (or even compete!). The bonus? Matt “Elvis” Palmer will be turning out his twists on traditional vintage drinks all night long.
If you aren’t a local, and can’t make it to Ye Old Durty Bird, picture yourself in a speakeasy and try a few of these recipes. I know firsthand, they are delightful!!!
Blue, Anthony Dias (2004). The Complete Book of Spirits.
Regan, Gary (2003). The Joy of Mixology (first ed.).
Thomas, Jerry (1862). How To Mix Drinks.