May 31: The BBC Bans “God Save The Queen”

sex-pistols-god-save-the-queenOn May 27, 1977 punk rock band the Sex Pistols released their masterpiece, the acerbic single “God Save The Queen”. A savage and hilarious attack on the British establishment and royal family, the song was both instantly controversial and an instant hit. However, in an effort to stop the single from drawing attention away from Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee celebration, the BBC banned the record on May 31, 1977.

It’s understandable why the British powers-that-be would feel threatened by “God Save The Queen”. After all, the song’s lightest attack is a plea for God to save the Queen “Cause tourists are money” and only gets sharper from there.The band denied that the release of the single was timed to coincide with the Jubilee. Lead singer Johnny Rotten later explained that the song’s message was as much a criticism of the celebration of England’s figurehead monarchy as a call for sympathy for the suffering working class. “You don’t write ‘God Save The Queen’ because you hate the English race. You write a song like that because you love them, and you’re fed up with them being mistreated.”

After the song was banned by the BBC, the Sex Pistols sought out alternate means to get their message out. On June 7, the day of the main Jubilee festivities, the band chartered a boat named The Queen Elizabeth and sailed down the Thames, playing the song in front of the Palace of Westminster. As they were performing without a permit, they were promptly arrested upon docking.

Despite all this, the song became a hit and made it all the way to number 2 on the official UK Singles Chart. Another chart, the TOP 20 POPS, refused to even list “God Save The Queen”, placing only a black line at the number 2 slot. There is some controversy about whether “God Save The Queen” really peaked at number 2. For 38 years, rumors (never confirmed nor denied by the BBC) have persisted that the song had actually hit number 1, but those in charge at the BBC had switched the chart positions of “God Save The Queen” and Rod Stewart’s “I Don’t Want to Talk About It” to place the latter song in the top slot in an effort to save face. For what it’s worth, the NME (New Musical Express) magazine placed “God Save The Queen” at the top of their chart. Today the song is considered to be a classic and a landmark moment in punk and British pop music history.

Finding a drink to tie into “God Save The Queen” was a bit tricky. The God Save the Queen is a little too prim and proper, while the Sex Pistol is more glam than punk (There’s nothing punk about cranberry juice and Goldschlager.), but eventually I stumbled across the Johnny Rottenseed. This drink was created at Detroit’s Sugar House craft cocktail bar and combines applejack with a Coca Cola syrup. According to the Sugar House, you can make this syrup by “[reducing] Mexican coke down to about 25% of it’s original volume.” Here are some handy instructions for making a reduction sauce or syrup.

Johnny Rottenseed

  • 2 ounces Laird’s Bonded Applejack
  • 1/2 ounce Coca Cola syrup
  • 1 dash Orange Bitters

Pour all ingredients over ice in a rocks glass and stir.


May 30: Pearl Hart’s Robbery

pearl heartEven though she only committed one robbery, Pearl Hart became a minor icon of Wild West mythology as one of the era’s few female outlaws, and it was on this day in 1899 that she committed that crime: One of the last stagecoach robberies.

Pearl Taylor was born around 1871 to an affluent family in Lindsay, Ontario, Canada. At the age of 16 she eloped with a young drunken gambler by the last name of Hart. Their rocky on-again, off-again marriage isn’t of any particularly notoriety, except for one event in 1893: During the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, Mr. Hart worked as a midway barker, and while he was working, Pearl Hart regularly attended Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show and began to fall in love with the Wild West. When the World’s Fair ended, Hart hopped a train to Trinidad, Colorado, leaving her husband behind.

By 1898, Hart had moved to the mining town of Mammoth, Arizona, working in either a boarding house or brothel/ Unfortunately, when the mine closed, her finances took a severe hit. Desperate for money, Hart began working on a friend’s mining claim and when it became clear that there was no more gold to mine, Hart and her associate determined the best way to make some quick cash would be to rob the Globe to Florence, Arizona stagecoach.

The robbery occurred on May 30, 1899 just outside of Kane Springs Canyon. The Globe-Florence route was one of the last surviving stage coach routes and had not been robbed in years; as such it did not have a shotgun messenger riding alongside the driver. So, when Hart appeared dressed in men’s clothing and brandishing a .38 revolver, with her associate at her side with a Colt .45, it was easy pickings. They quickly held up the stage, taking the driver’s revolver, two pistols belonging to the passengers and $431.20. Before departing, Hart returned a single dollar to each passenger.

Of course, the law caught up with Hart soon enough when she and her partner were caught by deputies a week later. Hart put up a fight while her partner surrendered quietly. The novelty of a female stagecoach robber struck the public’s fancy and Hart became a media star, especially after she made a successful escape attempt in October. After two weeks on the lam, she was recaptured and forced to stand trial. Hart pleaded with the jury, saying that she only robbed because she needed money for her ailing mother. Amazingly, the jury found her not guilty, which inspired the furious judge to scold the jurors.

As soon as they were released, Hart and her partner were rearrested, this time on the charge of tampering with the U. S. mail. During this second trial, Hart was found guilty and sentenced to five years imprisonment. Despite being sent to the big house, Hart remained a subject of fascination. The warden came to enjoy the attention Hart brought his prison and gave her a large cell with a yard and plenty of opportunities to speak with reporters.

She was pardoned by Arizona’s governor three years into her sentence, the reasons for which were never made clear. After leaving prison, she went on tour recreating her famous crime for paying audiences, and amusingly enough even spent some time as a member of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. In 1904, Hart was running a cigar store in Kansas City, and it’s said that in 1928, Hart made a surprise appearance at the Tuscon jail she was imprisoned in and asked to visit her old cell…and that was the last anyone heard from Pearl Hart. Various reports claim that Pearl Hart sightings were made as late as 1960, but her true fate remains unknown.

Let’s toast Pearl Hart’s stagecoach robbery with a decidedly western cocktail called Stagecoach. It’s a bright and aromatic cocktail with a slight citric notes that’s as mysterious and complex as Pearl Hart’s life.


  • 1 1/2 ounce Reposado Tequila
  • 3/4 ounce Punt e Mas Sweet Vermouth
  • 1/2 ounce lime juice
  • 2 dashes Fee Bros Aztec Chocolate Bitters
  • 1 or 2 dashes Angostura Orange Bitters
  • 1/4 amber agave nectar

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Tomorrow: Punk rock’s greatest moment.

May 29: The Rite Of Spring

StravinskyIt was on this day in 1913 that Igor Stravinsky’s (at right) landmark ballet and orchestral work The Rite Of Spring debuted at Paris’ Théâtre des Champs-Élysées. The Rite Of Spring is now viewed as a essential piece of classical music, but when it premiered it was met with a decidedly negative reaction. How negative? Well, it caused an actual riot!

How did a night at the ballet turn into a riot? Well, first we must look at the crowd that gathered at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées that evening: There was the wealthy who wanted to witness nothing more than traditional ballet with traditional music, and then there were the Bohemians who according to Jean Cocteau, would “acclaim, right or wrong, anything that is new because of their hatred of the boxes”. Stravinsky’s Rite was distinctly primitive with heavy rhythms. The accompanying ballet depicted a primal pagan celebration that ended with the sacrifice of a virgin who dances herself to death. Obviously, there was no way that the older, richer crowd in the boxes would enjoy this.

On the evening of May 29, 1913, the theater was packed. The trouble started almost as soon as The Rite began. According to Stravinsky, derisive laughter began during the first bars of the introduction. As the performance went on, the laughter from the wealthy box seats rose, which led to calls for silence from the Bohemian contingent. Eventually, the two sides began to fight, with some people even attacking the orchestra! According to conductor Pierre Monteux, “Everything available was tossed in our direction, but we continued to play on”. Eventually order was restored when the police kicked out 40 of the more egregious troublemakers. Shockingly, despite all the action in the audience, the orchestra played on and the performance continued without interruption.

As we toast The Rite Of Spring and the last month of spring, let’s drink a Spring Sling. This cocktail was invented by T.J. Palmieri for Tito’s Vodka and is a refreshing springtime cocktail.

Spring Sling

  • 1 1/2 ounces Vodka
  • 3/4 ounce cucumber water
  • 3/4 ounce St. Germain
  • 1/2 ounce lemon juice
  • 2 dashes Bitterman’s Hopped Grapefruit Bitters

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into an ice filled highball glass and top with a splash of ginger beer. Garnish with a thin cucumber slice.

Tomorrow: An old west bandit.

May 28: The Crypt Of Civilization

Crypt_of_civilizationWe’re all familiar with the concept of a time capsule; a (hopefully) weatherproof container, filled with items that are supposedly emblematic of the era in which the capsule was created, that is sealed and buried and not intended to be opened until a predetermined date. Today marks the anniversary of the sealing of one of the world’s most famous time capsules, the Crypt of Civilization, which was sealed on this day in 1940 and won’t be opened until May 28, 8113 CE.

The Crypt of Civilization is located at Oglethorpe University in Georgia, and was the brainchild of college president Thornwell Jacobs. Jacobs had become fascinated with the discovery and exploration of Egyptian tombs in the 1920s and took note of how little information was available about ancient civilizations. Naturally, he began to wonder how historians of the distant future would look back on the early 20th century.

So, in order to give future humans an accurate depiction of the 1930s, Jacobs dreamed up the Crypt of Civilization. As it had been 6,177 years since the year 4241 BCE, then thought to be the earliest recorded date in human history (as marked by the start of the Egyptian calendar), Jacobs decided that an additional 6,177 years should pass between the conception of the crypt in 1936 and its opening.Jacobs told the media of his idea, and soon suggestions for crypt items and actual physical donations came flying to Oglethorpe. Here are a few items included in the Crypt:

  • Microfilm of 800 works of literature including the Bible, Koran, Iliad, Dante’s Inferno and the script to Gone With The Wind plus a timeline of historical events and photos of 20th century life.
  • Audio and video recordings of the human voice including everyone from Franklin Roosevelt to Popeye the Sailor to a champion hog caller.
  • An apparatus for teaching the English language in case it is no longer spoken, placed at the entrance of the Crypt.
  • A Lionel model train set.
  • A specially sealed bottle of Budweiser.
  • A Donald Duck doll.
  • One male and one female mannequin.
  • A specially prepared copy of The New York Herald-Tribune.
  • An Artie Shaw record.
  • A dial telephone.
  • Several sets of clothing.
  • Seed samples.
  • Plastic home goods.
  • Various electronics.

Of course, in addition to including microfilm readers, record players and projectors so that future civilizations can engage with the works included in the Crypt, Jacobs and Crypt archivist Thomas Kimmwood Peters included a windmill powered generator to power the devices, and a seven-power magnifier which would allow the people of 8113 to read the microfilm records by hand.

On May 28, 1940 the stainless steel door of the Crypt was sealed. Most items were placed in glass lined, stainless steel containers and the Crypt was filled with an inert gas to prevent aging. The 20 feet long, 10 feet high and 10 feet wide stone walled Crypt is located in the basement of Oglethorpe University’s Phoebe Hearst Memorial Hall and above the door is a plaque which explains the contents of the Crypt and instructs humanity to leave the site alone until 8113.

While we wait out the next 6,098 years until the Crypt is opened, let’s enjoy a Crypt Cocktail. It’s a sweet, liqueur heavy variation on the Long Island Iced Tea, and too many of these might just knock you out until 8113.

Crypt Cocktail

  • 1 ounce Sloe Gin
  • 1 ounce Peach Liqueur
  • 1 ounce Amaretto
  • 1 ounce Vodka
  • 1 ounce Orange Liqueur
  • 1 splash 151-proof Rum
  • 1 splash lime juice

Shake all ingredients, except the 151, with ice and strain into an ice filled highball glass. Float the 151 on top.

Tomorrow: The riot of spring.

May 27: The Preakness

PreaknessRight now we’re all pretty excited about American Pharoah’s chances of becoming the first Triple Crown winner since 1978. American Pharoah’s much anticipated run for the Belmont Stakes isn’t for another week and a half, so in the meantime we’re going to flashback to 1873 because it was on May 27, 1873 that the second leg of the Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes, was first raced.

The Preakness is held annually at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland, but its name actually comes from New Jersey. The race’s name was chosen by Maryland Governor Oden Bowie in tribute to a horse named Preakness,  a colt from Preakness Stables in Preakness, Wayne Township, New Jersey. When Pimlico opened on October 25, 1870, the big race that day was the Dinner Party Stakes, and the winner of that race was Preakness. So, the Governor thought it was only appropriate that the track’s biggest race be named after the winner of the first major race to be held at Pimlico. Although the date of the race bounced around during the first 60 years of the Preakness, since 1932, the race has consistently been scheduled for the third Saturday in May.

The Preakness is known as “The Run For The Black-Eyed Susans”. The black-eyed Susan is the Maryland state flower and in 1940 it was first proposed that horses who won the Preakness be draped in a garland of black-eyed Susans. There was just one small problem with this idea, namely that black-eyed Susans don’t come into bloom until late June or early July. A solution was soon found to this problem and rather than being draped in black-eyed Susans, winners were covered in yellow viking daisies that had been painted to resemble the state flower. Since the early 21st century, viking poms, a flower that resembles the black-eyed Susan, have been used to make the winners’ garland. In short, at no point in the history of “The Run For The Black-Eyed Susans” has a winner received black-eyed Susans.

With all that said, the official cocktail of the Preakness is the Black-Eyed Susan. The Black-Eyed Susan cocktail was invented in 1973 when some marketing exec decided that the Preakness needed an official cocktail and tried to come up with something as respectable as the Kentucky Derby’s Mint Julep. Unfortunately, the original Black-Eyed Susan was something of a mess. In 2014, the Baltimore Sun described the original recipe as follows:

Take vodka, rum, whiskey, bourbon, peach schnapps, orange juice, pineapple juice, sour mix, orange-flavored liqueur, elderflower-flavored liqueur, shake, pour into a souvenir glass and garnish with an orange slice, cherry and mint sprig.

Then dump it on the infield grass and get a real drink.

The recipe for the Black-Eyed Susan is ever-evolving and has gone through several interpretations. Today we’ll mix the recipe that’s currently featured on the Preakness recipe. It’s a floral and citrusy cocktail that works quite nicely for a spring day at the races.

Black-Eyed Susan (circa 2014)

  • 1 1/2 ounce Vodka
  • 1/2 ounce St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
  • 2 ounces pineapple juice
  • 1/4 ounce lime juice
  • 3/4 ounce orange juice

Shake with ice and strain into an ice filled highball glass (or Preakness souvenir glass) and garnish with an orange slice.

Tomorrow: A time capsule.

May 26: Apollo 10 Returns

Apollo-10It was on this day in 1969 that Apollo 10, the Apollo space program’s fourth manned mission, returned to Earth.

Apollo 10 was essentially a dress rehearsal for the Apollo 11 moon landing, a test of all the procedures for a moon landing, with the notable exception of actually landing on the moon. Astronauts Thomas P. Stafford and Eugene A. Cernan were deployed in the Lunar Module Snoopy and orbited the Moon, while John W. Young remained aboard the Command Modual Charlie Brown. During the mission, Stafford and Cernan scoped out the Sea of Tranquility, where Apollo 11 would land, and even came within a nautical mile of landing. The mission would come to an end when the Charlie Brown made splashdown in the Pacific Ocean on May 26, 1969.

Interestingly, all three Apollo 10 crew members later took part in an additional Apollo mission, the only Apollo crew to hold this distinction. Young served as the commander of Apollo 16 and became the ninth person to walk on the moon. Cernan commanded Apollo 17 and was the last person to walk off the moon. Stafford commanded the U. S. vehicle in the 1975 Apollo–Soyuz Test Project joint U.S.–Soviet space flight, which was coincidentally the last Apollo mission.

There are a few cocktails inspired by the moon, but I’m partial to the Blue Moon. I pulled this recipe from Ted Haigh’s indispensable book Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails. This blue cocktail has a nice violet aroma.

Blue Moon

  • 2 ounces Dry Gin
  • 1/2 ounce Crème Yvette or Crème de Violette
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Tomorrow: Another day at the races.

May 25: Star Wars

A_long_time_agoOn May 25, 1977 20th Century Fox released a strange little film called Star Wars. Although we all know Star Wars as a multi-billion dollar franchise and a cultural touchstone, nobody, not even creator George Lucas, expected the film to be a hit.

Prior to its release, Fox wasn’t exactly sure what to do with Star Wars. Let’s be real, it was a really weird movie for the time: It’s a futuristic sci-fi movie that doesn’t have many aliens and Its characters are a strange blend of genre archetypes: A farmboy with a destiny, a kidnapped princess, an old knight from a dead kingdom, a western gunslinger, a villain in samurai armor, a Sasquatch and two robots (here referred to as droids) that are essentially doing a Laurel and Hardy routine. Oh, and did I mention that the first thing the film tells you is that it’s all set in the distant past?

Anyway, Fox was concerned that this odd picture would get crushed by the big summer releases of 1977 including 70s superstar Burt Reynolds’ Smokey And The Bandit. So, the studio decided to release it on the Wednesday before Memorial Day in the hope that they could give it some breathing room. As only a few theaters had booked Star Wars, Fox informed theaters that if they wanted to receive prints of the movie The Other Side of Midnight, an adaptation of a best selling novel, they’d have to order Star Wars too. In the end, Star Wars only opened on 32 screens on May 25. Eight more theaters began screening the film on the following Thursday and Friday. Lucas was convinced that the film would be a failure. He even booked a weekend trip to Hawaii for himself and his wife so that he could avoid hearing about his film’s misfortune.

But a funny thing happened on the way to Star Wars‘ obvious doom; something about the film clicked with audiences and the film became an instant hit. On opening day, producer Gary Kurtz appeared on a Los Angeles area radio call-in show and wound up speaking with someone who really liked Star Wars. “I said, ‘You know a lot about the film.’ He said, ‘Yeah, yeah, I’ve seen it four times already.’” Lucas was working at a soundstage in Hollywood on opening day and decided to go to lunch at the Hamburger Hamlet restaurant across the street from the Chinese Theatre, one of the few cinemas playing Star Wars. Much to his disbelief, there was a line of people wrapped around the block waiting to see the film. Even after Fox contacted Lucas and informed him that they had a major hit on their hands, he still didn’t believe him. It wasn’t until he saw Walter Cronkite reporting on the surprise success of Star Wars that Lucas realized he was about to become extremely rich.

As word spread about Star Wars, more and more theaters began asking for prints. By August, the film was screening in 1,096 American theaters and on August 3, 1977, it had an unprecedented second opening at the Chinese with C-3PO, R2-D2 and Darth Vader in attendance to leave their footprints. Shockingly, 60 theaters were still screening Star Wars on May 25, 1978 and Lucasfilm presented these theaters with a special “birthday cake” poster to celebrate. The film even received limited theatrical re-releases in 1978, 1979, 1981, 1982.

Oh, and one last thing…As we mentioned, Lucas didn’t have faith in his film’s chances, and in 1976 he visited his friend Stephen Spielberg on the set of Spielberg’s upcoming film Close Encounters of the Third Kind. After watching Spielberg work, Lucas became convinced that Close Encounters would greatly outperform Star Wars at the box office. Spielberg disagreed, and the two made a bet: If Close Encounters was more successful, Lucas would receive 2.5% of the film’s profits, and if Star Wars was the bigger hit, Spielberg would receive 2.5% of its profits. To this day, Stephen Spielberg still receives 2.5% of the money made by the first Star Wars film.

How about a cocktail inspired by a drink from the Star Wars universe? Early in Star Wars, Luke Skywalker sits down to dinner with his aunt and uncle, and Luke pours himself a nice frosty glass of blue milk. The unofficial Star Wars wiki Wookieepedia informs us that blue milk is produced by Banthas. Thankfully, the cocktail Blue Milk uses more earthbound ingredients like milk, cream, blue curacao, amaretto and coconut rum. This sweet drink comes to us from Jesse at the sci-fi and fantasy cooking blog Castles and Cooks.

Blue Milk

  • 3 ounces milk
  • 1 ounce cream
  • 2 ounces Blue Curacao
  • 1 ounce Coconut Rum
  • 1 ounce Amaretto

Shake with ice for about 20 seconds until chilled and strain into a chilled highball glass.

Tomorrow: We go near the moon.

May 24: The Purchase Of Manhattan

ManhattanIt was on this day in 1626 that Peter Minuit, the Director of the Dutch colony of New Netherland, purchased what is now known as the island of Manhattan from Native Americans.

The popular myth is that Minuit bought the island for beads valuing no more than $24. In truth, he provided the native tribe with trade goods that were valued at 60 Dutch guilders. In 1846, a New York historian converted the guilders into American dollars and came up with a figure of $24. So, from that point on the story was passed along by rubes as “The Dutch bought Manhattan for $24 in beads” which is especially dubious as the dollar didn’t exist in 1626. Conveniently, in 2013, the Institute for Social History of Amsterdam estimated that those 60 guilders were the equivalent to $1,060 in modern money; which is still the real estate steal of the millennium.

Although there is a popular belief the the native tribes were swindled out of their land, historians have found some benefits for the natives in the trade agreement. According to the National Library of the Netherlands, “The original inhabitants of the area were unfamiliar with the European notions and definitions of ownership rights. For the Indians, water, air and land could not be traded.” In addition to the goods the Dutch gave the indigenous peoples, there were other intangible “goods” that were included in the trade: The native tribes believed that through this trade, the Dutch could become strong military allies against rival tribes; and both sides believed that the trade would lead to further trade.

Perhaps most fascinatingly, it turns out that the Dutch “bought” Manhattan from the wrong people! The Manhattan deal was actually arranged with the Canarsee tribe, who resided in what is now Brooklyn. Manhattan actually belonged to the Wappinger Confederacy, and it seems the Canarsee were more than happy to give up their neighbors’ land. Later on the Dutch would learn their mistake and work out a better deal with the Wappinger Confederacy. So, it turns out that the Dutch bought Manhattan twice!

So, on the anniversary of the Manhattan purchase, let’s drink a New Amsterdam. This drink was created by Jim Meehan at New York’s East Village hotspot Please Don’t Tell. This cocktail combines Bols Genever (otherwise known as Dutch gin) with the unsweetened cherry brandy kirschwasser to create a nicely balanced herbal flavor.

New Amsterdam

  • 2 ounces Bols Genever
  • 1 ounce Kirschwasser
  • 1 teaspoon simple syrup
  • 2 dashes Peychd’s aromatic bitters

Stir everything with ice and then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon zest.

Tomorrow: A long time ago…

May 23: Abie’s Irish Rose

Abies Irish RoseWhen Abie’s Irish Rose opened on May 23, 1922, it was instantly heralded by critics as the worst show to ever hit the nascent Broadway stage. Despite this, it wound up running for over five years, becoming at the time the longest running play in Broadway history.

The play by Anne Nichols tells the simple tale of Abie, a boy from a Jewish family, who falls in love with Rosemary, a girl from an Irish Catholic family; stereotypical hilarity ensues. Upon its opening, the play was met with harsh reviews, but for some reason the crowds loved it. The show’s continued success annoyed the theater world, with the show becoming the subject of frequent barbs at the hands of critics, actors, and writers. In the Rodgers and Hart song “Manhattan”, lyricist Lorenz Hart wrote of the play’s seemingly endless run, “Our future babies we’ll take to Abie’s Irish Rose — I hope they’ll live to see it close” and theater critic Heywood Broun called the play “synthetic farce”.

However, it was Robert Benchley who perhaps most despised Abie’s Irish Rose. As the theater critic for Life magazine, Benchley was tasked with writing capsule reviews every week for every show that was currently on Broadway. So, as Abie continued playing on Broadway, Benchley’s critiques got snappier and snappier. Here are some of Benchley’s choicer lines:

  • “The comic spirit of 1876″
  • “In another two or three years, we’ll have this play driven out of town.”
  • “Where do people come from who keep this going? You don’t see them out in the daytime.”
  • “People laugh at this every night, which explains why democracy can never be a success.”
  • “Come on, now! A joke’s a joke.”
  • “This department will not be printed next week, owing to the second birthday of this comedy, on which occasion we plan to become ossified.”
  • Closing soon.  (Only fooling!)”
  • “We refuse to answer on advice of council.”

Benchley would constantly find new variations on the joke. On the third anniversary of Abie‘s debut, Benchley wrote a column detailing a review of a performance of the show in the year 2125. Once he had Harpo Marx provide the Abie review; Harpo’s review was simply “No worse than a bad cold.” Late in the show’s run, Benchley realized the futility of coming up with a capsule review for the accursed play and just started sharing bits of a trivia like “Flying fish are sometimes seen at as great a height as fifteen feet” in the spot a review would go.

Eventually, word came that the play was going to close on August 7, 1927 and Benchley couldn’t contain his glee. However, it was quickly announced that the show’s run had actually been extended, and Benchley admitted defeat: “From now on we refuse to commit ourselves to this play.  It can run forever, for all we care.” Thankfully, it didn’t run for much longer as it closed on October 1, 1927. Abie returned to haunt the Broadway stage in two revivals (1937 and 1954), neither of which lasted more than 48 performances.

Oh, and one last note; Benchley’s best line about Abie? Simply “See Hebrews 13:8.” That bible verse by the way is “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and forever.”

Let’s raise a glass to Robert Benchley’s least favorite play with a Wild Irish Rose. This sweet Irish whiskey cocktail was created by Dale DeGroff as a twist on the Jack Rose.

Wild Irish Rose

  • 2 ounces Irish Whiskey
  • 1/2 ounce lemon juice
  • 1/4 ounce simple syrup
  • 1/4 ounce grenadine
  • 1/2 ounce club soda

Shake the first four ingredients together with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Top off with soda water and garnish with a lemon zest and cherry.

Tomorrow: Funnily enough, we take Manhattan.

May 22: Pac-Man

pacmanToday marks the 35th birthday of one of the most iconic video games of all time, Pac-Man, which was originally released in Japan as Puck-Man on this day in 1980.

This legendary game was created by a young Namco employee by the name of Tōru Iwatani who wanted to create a game based around eating. The game was originally called Pakkuman, a name stemming from a Japanese slang term, the onomatopoetic paku-paku taberu, which refers to the “paku-paku” sound of a mouth widely opening and then quickly closing. Admit it, a few of you just performed that motion to try to hear the paku-paku sound.

The character of Pac-Man’s simple “yellow circle with a mouth” design was partially based on the idea of a pizza with a missing slice. However, Iwatani would also claim it was inspired by rounding out the Japanese character kuchi which means mouth. Additionally, by making the title character a genderless yellow circle, Iwatani hoped to appeal to an audience larger than the boys and teenagers; hoping that by not making the character explicitly male (despite the -Man suffix) it could bring more women into arcades.

When Puck-Man was brought to the west, the American publisher Midway vetoed the name and changed it to Pac-Man. Why? Well, they were afraid that vandals could easily scrape at the “P” on the arcade cabinet and change it to an “F” which would create an entirely different image from the one that was intended for the game.

In the Pac-Man game, you primarily get points from eating pellets scattered around the maze, but you can obtain bonus points by ingesting the fruits that sporadically appear during each level. The drink called Pac-Man takes inspiration from these pixel fruits, using ingredients made from each of the fruits Pac-Man eats: Maraschino liqueur (for the cherries), strawberry schnapps, peach schnapps, apple juice and pineapple juice. This drink will probably be too sweet for most drinkers, but it packs a nice punch.


  • 1 ounce Maraschino Liqueur
  • 1 ounce Strawberry Schnapps
  • 1 ounce Peach Schnapps
  • 2 ounces apple juice
  • 2 ounces pineapple juice

Pour all ingredients into an ice filled highball glass and stir. Garnish with a banana slice, cut to resemble Pac-Man.

Tomorrow: The worst show on Broadway.