Ninety years ago today Los Angeles Times publisher Harry Chandler officially dedicated a large sign advertising his new housing development, Hollywoodland. The thirteen letters that formed the sign were each 30 feet and 43 feet tall and lit up by roughly 4000 light bulbs. At night the sign would flash up in three segments (HOLLY, WOOD and LAND) and then flash the full HOLLYWOODLAND message. The sign was only meant to stand for 18 months, but as Hollywood became more associated with the movie, the sign became a source of local pride and an international symbol of the film industries.
By 1949, the wood and sheet metal Hollywood sign had started to deteriorate, so the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and Los Angeles Parks Department worked together to rehabilitate the sign, and make it more representative of the area as a whole, and thus the LAND was removed and the Hollywood Sign was officially born.
However, by the late 70s the elements had done a number on the sign and it was once again in a state of disrepair. Half of the first O had broken off, making it look like a lowercase u, the third O simply fell apart and the rest of the one glorious letters looked were in varying states of decay, leaving a very ugly looking sign that spelled out HuLLYWO D. Thankfully, the public demanded that the sign be restored, and a band of celebrities and business people led by the unlikely duo of Hugh Hefner and Alice Cooper would donate the $250,000 needed to build a new permanent Hollywood Sign that could stand up to whatever nature threw at it. In October of 1978, a new, bigger painted steel sign would be unveiled on Mount Hollywood, and it has stood there undamaged ever since.
So, today let’s raise a glass to a billboard that became an international star with a delicious Hollywood Cocktail. It’s a delightful little drink that mixes fruit flavors with creamy egg whites*.
- 1 1/2 ounces Rum
- 1/2 ounce grapefruit juice
- 1/2 ounce grenadine
- 1 egg whites
Shake for about two minutes in a shaker half-filled with ice (You may want to wear gloves for this) and strain in to a chilled champagne flute with a rim dusted with nutmeg.
*A VERY Important Note about using egg in drinks. The safer option is to buy a carton of pasteurized egg whites. However, if you’re a traditionalist (as I am), you’ll choose the tougher option and split the egg. Now, the best way to do this is to gently crack the egg over the mixing glass and then peel the shell apart. Use the two shell halves to carefully transfer the egg yolk between the two shell halves, and pour the egg whites in to the bowl. Continue this process until you have all the whites you need. Be very careful not to break the yolk. Remember to wash your hands thoroughly. Finally, I should remind you that using real eggs in drinks carries a slight risk of salmonella, but your drink should be fine and really delicious if you completely separate the yolk from the whites.
Tomorrow: Allons enfants de la Patrie, Le jour de gloire est arrivé!