Friday, December 10, 2010

10 December 1956 “Cocktail Party”

This is the card I designed, laid out and printed for our upcoming Christmas cocktail party. I played around with a few ideas. I was going to have the rooster on the rim of a martini glass with a woman in a 1950’s cocktail dress as the olive in the martini, but it became too fussy. Obviously, the tongue-in-cheek of it is that the rooster, also known as a cock, his ‘cock-tail’ forms the “C”.
There are many stories as the derivation of the word ‘cocktail’, most of which were probably told after having a few, thus their truth is only as good as the amount imbibed. This is my favorite version:
In 1779, after her husband was killed in the American War of Independence, innkeeper Betsy Flanagan opened an inn near Yorktown that was frequented by American and French soldiers. An English chicken farmer lived nearby. Due to the political climate at the time, Betsy was probably not too fond of her neighbor, prompting her to promise her American and French customers that she would serve them a meal of roast chicken one day. Her guests occasionally mocked her boasts saying she would never go through with it. One evening, an unusual number of officers gathered at her inn, so Betsy served a lavish meal of chicken, stolen from her English neighbor. When the meal was over, Betsy moved her guests to the bar, where she served up drinks decorated with a tail-feather from the chickens. The officers drank until morning, periodically making rowdy calls for more "cock tails."
The old use ingredient for cocktails use to require: stimulating liquor composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters. When a cocktail no longer  required this recipe with bitters, that cocktail that did have all these ingredients became known as ‘The Old Fashioned’.  Thus, an Old Fashioned contains this old recipe for what was once considered a cocktail
Old Fashioned
2 oz. bourbon or rye whiskey
2 dashes Angostura bitters
1/4 oz. 2:1 rich simple syrup (or one sugar cube if preferred)
orange peel
Ice cubes
Tools: muddler, barspoon
Glass: old fashioned
Muddle syrup and orange peel in glass. Add bitters and whiskey and stir. Add ice cubes and stir again. (I like mine with a maraschino cherry for taste-though I never eat them)muddlerbarspoonThis is a muddler barspoon combo. A muddle is used like a pestle to mash the fruit etc in the bottom of a glass to release the flavor for when the liquor is added.
cocktailparty We will be serving various vintage cocktails, such as
Cranberry Champagne Cocktail
¼ oz Grand Marnier®
1 oz cranberry juice
5-6 oz Champagne
Pour Grand Marnier into a champagne flute. Add chilled cranberry juice. Fill flute with ice cold Champagne. Garnish with a long, curly sliver of orange peel.
2 oz Rye or Bourbon whiskey
½ oz sweet vermouth
2 dashes Angostura® bitters
Add the ingredients to a mixing glass half full of ice cubes and stir. Rub the cut edge of an orange peel around the lip of the chilled cocktail glass. Strain the drink into the glass and garnish with a maraschino cherry.
This next drink is fun and surprisingly delicious. Do you like thin mint girl scout cookies? Then you must try this cocktail. Even though my recipe is from my 1956 May Gourmet magazine, I am making it for our Christmas party, as it is Green! I might serve it with red-sugared rim glasses, how fun and festive!
Grasshopper recipe
3/4 oz green creme de menthe
3/4 oz white creme de cacao
3/4 oz light cream
Shake all ingredients with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and serve.

What are some of your favorite cocktail recipes?


  1. I LOVE Rye Manhattans! The best I've ever had (even better than the new posh cocktail places) is at a tiny family-run Italian place in Burlington, VT. They haven't updated their cocktail menu in decades and my family is probably the only group that orders them :)

    I'm also fond of a good, classic Manhattan, although I've found I have to specify "medium-dry" these days or risk getting a glass of cold gin with no vermouth (some bars have been known to forget the bitters in Manhattans as well.) This summer I was on an Aviation kick and even made my own variation on it.

    Classic Aviation:
    1 part Lemon Juice (fresh)
    2 parts Gin
    2 dashes Maraschino liqueur
    2 dashes Creme de Violette

    Shake well in a mixing glass with cracked ice, strain and serve.

    Airship (my variation)
    1/2 inch slice ginger
    1 barspoon honey
    1 barspoon rose water
    Juice of 1/2 lemon
    2 oz Hendrick's Gin
    1/2 oz Maraschino liqueur

    Muddle first three ingredients in a shaker. Fill shaker with ice and add remaining three ingredients. Shake, strain into a cocktail glass and serve.

  2. ACK ! Make that Martini in the second paragraph. I've never had anyone forget the vermouth in a Manhattan!

  3. Closest to a cocktail I drink is hot chocolate with a shot (or less) of frangelico. probably too modern, but it's wicked tasty. top with whipped cream, and life is good.

  4. recently i've really been into a good bloody mary!! i'm not a big cocktail lover, so maybe it's b/c my great grandmother used to drink them. most of the time it's bellinis and mimosas for me! :)but i'm happy with just a glass of wine.

  5. No one has mentioned my card. I can take criticism, but I am curious, do you like the style? I have really been playing with very 1950's illustrative/children's book illustration styles in my drawings this year. I have not shared them, as it has been a process, but just curious what any of you think. Even if you hate it, tell me, but tell me why as well. Thanks.

  6. I wanted to mention about your card....but so many good cocktails recipes...I got a little carried away. LOVE the card, and the rooster is simply gorgeous!!!! Very well designed. Oh, my first legal drink was a Grasshopper, so good back in 1971! Hugs * Holiday Cheer.... Mumzie

  7. I love the card! I've always been fond of the highly stylized imagery of that era. I like that the rooster, the ornament and the feather are reduced to simple, flat elements and yet they are instantly identifiable. The font is also really jazzy - I can almost hear Dean Martin singing when I read it.

    As for cocktails, I am currently on an Old Fashioned kick, so we've been having those for cocktail hour. Some of my other favorites are mint juleps, martinis and margaritas (on the rocks, not frozen). My husband has mixed up his annual batch of eggnog, so we'll be enjoying that over the holidays. It is sublime, similar in texture to melted ice cream with a hint of sweetness and a hearty kick. :)

  8. The card is, of course, marvelous!

  9. Very elegant card! :)

    Now I’m off to dress up vintage (DH asked if I would, haha) – we’re having good friends for dinner and DH has been in the kitchen most of the day. How I love that man! :D

    Have a lovely weekend.

  10. A classic champagne cocktail is deeeeve on a special occassion:

    **Sprinkle a sugar cube with bitters and add it to a classic vintage champagne glass (with a bowl, not a flute), and fill to-the-brim with Krug.

    For our regular pre-dinner cocktails, we usually have whiskey sours.


    Mrs. Amory Hollingsworth

  11. Ooh...a Grasshopper sounds lovely. I'm primarily a white/dessert wine drinker, so a dessert drink like that would still be palatable to me. The picture of the folks at the party is such fun! I can almost hear the clatter of voices, clinking of glassware and hum of a crooner in the background.
    What a clever idea for the card. Certainly not busy at all, and so festive!

  12. i loved the card, and even more when it arrived at my person!!
    I have been a manhattan girl all the way, since my 30th birthday. this summer i was going to go the old fashioned route, but never got around to actually finding out what was in it...still thinking about it now, seeing how popular it is! :)
    can't wait to put on the sequins and rhinestones! get ready for some assorted cheeses, and a white cranberry spritzer!!
    3 cheers for good clean fun!!


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