Thursday, February 17, 2011

How To Make 44 Party Drinks (early 1960's)

Forty-four! Count 'em! :)

I finally got around to scanning the bounty of paper goods given to me by Barry a few weeks ago at karaoke... can you imagine the two-step beat of my heart as one of our favorite Corner Bar regulars handed me a package with pamphlets deeee-rect from an inheirited dry bar?! He and his equally awesome girlfriend Kimmy were at my house for a Mad Men themed dual birthday party in August, when Barry first mentioned the possibly of handing down these sacred texts to me. Being the complete nut I am for any kind of 1950's/60's recipe cards, much less DRINK recipe cards, I was bowled over both by how neat the finds were and how kind Barry was to pass them on to me. So, first of all, big shout out to Barry!

The first in the set, "How To Make 44 Party Drinks" was published by Southern Comfort, to the greater glory of Southern Comfort, in the early 1960's. Couldn't place an exact date on it, but the address on the barware order form on the last page is zip code less, so I'm guessing pre-1963?

I've noticed that many party manuals from the Kennedy era stress pre-planning and convenience-- in the atomic age, one needn't spend hours bent over elaborately arduous-to-make canapes. Just pop some Chex Mix out, shake up a couple shakers, and laisse rouler les bon temps, mssr.

Here's me, enjoying the solicitous attention of a drink-bearing, blue blazered gentleman, while simultaneously complimenting myself on both my choice of green wiggle dress and lovely purple furnishings in my well appointed living room. I mean, duh. Man in the tab collar, please stop touching my faux objets d'art. They are not to be handled.

This page explains the various measuring methods and bar set up you're going to need to get this party started. If you don't already have a fully equipped Darren Stevens living room bar cart, this, even without a witchcraft savvy wife, would get you well on your way to at home bar competency. Despite my ridiculously large barware collection (Lord, if you don't want me to buy Your kitschy hi-ball glasses, do not make them so cheap and available), I admit I'm yet missing the last three of these glass types, but I'll get there. Also, the ratio of booze-to-guest table is particularly helpful. Multiply by three if you're drinking at Dean Martin's house.

Lunch time, brunch time....breakfast-time....just after you wake up time....anytime pre-cocktail hour is appropriate to drink these cocktails. I really want to try the last one, The Alamo, which is simply whiskey and grapefruit juice. The flavor combination there, when served alongside a plate of "Bacon suzies" (pancakes dusted with powdered sugar, filled with bacon, and then covered in syrup...Olé!), must be something very close to heaven. The dainty glasses remind me, as mentioned in the last paragraph, that I really must get some of the smaller ones. If not only to curb the voracious thirst of my guests, then to show off my hosting prowess in having a glass for yes, every drink and occasion. The cherry and orange garnishes sure make for a pretty cocktail.

"Yes, I remember you, Mister Butler..."

A French Quarter favorite, apparently, the Scarlett O'Hara is Ocean Spray, Lime Juice, and SoCo. As they promised in the introduction, the authors of this booklet provide you with the correct measurements for batches of 1, 4, 6, and 12. After that, you're on your own, scamp. "Strawberry Blonde" is a new one to me, but looks good! That hair classification always reminds me of the turn of the century set James Cagney movie of the same title and saying "23 skiddoo" over and over again for the next week after having seen it.

Always have been fond of the practice of putting the product name in the drink name, like a "7 and 7". In this instance, we get a "Comfort Collins", as well as a "Comfort Cola" (do not look for the latter in vending machines). "Comfort n Tonic" just seems like a waste of an opportunity to play with the name.

"Host special: mix now, play later"...that's right, kids, you can mix, and then you can relax, and then you can serve these drinks. I love preplanning! I never manage to pull it off at my parties though... you'll see me three hours in, still scuttling around, drink in hand, trying to make sure everything food-wise has come off as planned, no one needs anything, and that my slip isn't showing. The life of a bab.

Crab meat canapes, very fanciful! Has anyone every ordered a Gimlet in a bar? Or a Brandy Alexander? I'm always afraid they'll look at me cockeyed. Similarly, I always get jealous of the GQ man of the year looks my friend Brian gets when he orders something cool/tough guy, as he has when ordering Johnnie Walker or similar "your grandad's booze" choices. With girl drinks of the 60's, you are more than likely to get a blank stare or asked "what's in it, I guess I can make that"? Which leaves me stammering and red-faced. "I don't know, Lee Remick ordered one in a movie once. Can't you ask the other bartender?" I live in a world of inequity and strife.

Here's what we needed during that snowstorm. I have to say, the illustration of the punch bowl is one of my favorites in the booklet. Look at all the paper lanterns! Also, where can you get little sword shaped toothpick skewers outside of the internet now? I went to Krogers and a party store last time and the best I could come up with were some mildly festooned affairs with not a jot of the "gibe" of these little swashbuckling swords. Sigh.

The aforementioned Alexander, SoCo style, and a Grasshopper, and a Stinger. Put em all together, and you've got the liquid lunch of the century. Again, I wonder where I could comfortably order these? Must commit ingredients to memory, then insist.

I love that "Comfort on the Rocks", consisting of only So Co and ice, is a recipe pleasantly presented to you "As served on TWA Super Ambassador Jet Flights". Exactly what I would want with me at 30,000 feet. That's why I keep seeing that dude in the fuzzy suit on the wing, ok? I'm not crazy. Look!

((Monster: "Is that Southern Comfort you're drinking, Bill?" William Shatner: "There's a man out there!!" ))

Last but not least, has anyone spotted these gorgeous, teal-and-gold Steamboat glasses? Supposing this is 1960, a set of eight of any of the three varieties (Long Drink, Double Old Fashioned, On the Rocks) would cost about $25.00 in today's money. Matching napkins? $1.25. Steals, people! Steals!

What I should refer to in the future as "The Barry Collection" also includes two pamphlets on games of chance, and a flip book of drink recipes called "A Guide to Pink Elephants". Go ahead and start your weekend off right with the above recipes, and I'll bring you some more this time next week. Til then!


  1. Yay!!! I started buying 1960s cocktail booklets in middle school when my dad and I would spend Saturday mornings at estate sales. I have a Southern Comfort one from the same period. Looks like I have most of the drinks recipes but none of the party food recipes. Darn! I don't think I have the snowball flambé recipe, either. I'm going to have to e-mail that to the husband; he loves lighting food on fire.

    I love a gimlet, but I've never had one away from home. Once at the OU Faculty Club, I ordered an Old Fashioned and the ancient bartender regaled me with stories about a little old lady who used to show up and drink one every evening. Evidently she was the last person to order one and that was 30 years ago!

  2. Have you seen Mr. Modtomic's blog? He has a huge collection of those SoCo Steamboat glasses:

  3. This is such a fantastic post, it was so much fun to read! I want to try the Strawberry Blonde! And actually, the Grasshopper is a common favourite at the bar I go to, which is strange because it's a hick/student hybrid. Anyway, they're sooo good! They serve them in those funny glasses that are curvy and have a stem (I have no idea what they're called)!
    I want to start collecting glassare now, haha.
    M xo

  4. O WOW im loving those you just can't beat vintage advertising and cook books etc that lady in the green wiggled dress could have been me ;-)) Thank you for stopping by my blog im really gald you did yours is lovely and i will enjoy following you. Now fridays night i could just enjoy a cocktail ;-)) have a lovely weekend, dee x

  5. It's amazing and kind of sad that publications like this are no gone due to the power of the interwebz =/

  6. Thanks for sharing these, they're fantastic! Such an extensive set of basic glassware though - I think I might try some of these out sometime soon, but don't tell them I don't have the right glasses

  7. Awesome post! Thanks for sharing. That St.Louis cocktail looks interesting. I may have to try it...

  8. Hi Lisa! These cocktail cards are most excellent, I'll bear this post in mind next time I want an interesting tipple! Thanks so much for your good wishes, much appreciated.

  9. OMG I had to squint to read the St Louis cocktail because at first sight I was convinced that was an egg yolk and not a 1/2 peach in the glass! I needed to learn more.



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