October 26: End of The Pony Express

Pony_Express_PosterLet’s pretend that you were living in New York in the 1850s and you had relatives who had traveled out west to California to strike it rich. Now, let’s say that you wanted to send them a letter or a parcel. In those days, it would take weeks for mail to get from coast to coast, assuming of course that the mail didn’t get lost or stolen along the way. Thankfully, in April of 1860 the Pony Express came along with the promise of fast delivery of mail. Thanks to a network of fast riders and fast horses, mail could be delivered from New York to San Francisco in just ten days! However, that would all come to an end just 18 months later on October 26, 1861 when the Pony Express announced the immediate cessation of operations.

So, what killed the Pony Express? Well, there were a couple of contributing factors. For one thing, its success naturally spawned imitators. The start of the Civil War in April 1861 had a significant impact on the Pony Express line. The Pony Express’ main hub was in Missouri, and since Missouri was divided during the war the Express decided to stay out of that business and began only running mail from Salt Lake City to Sacramento. Then on October 24, 1861 the transcontinental telegraph reached Salt Lake City, immediately connecting the Western United States’ telegraph lines with those of the rest of the country. This immediately made the Pony Express irrelevant, and just two days later, operations ceased.

So, today let’s raise a glass to the Pony Express riders of the old west with a Pony Express.  Created by Brian MacGregor for the San Francisco restaurant Jardinière, it’s a surprisingly refreshing whiskey cocktail that uses the very interesting Qi White Tea Liqueur and maple syrup. Somehow, combining those ingredients with lemon juice and whiskey create a drink that’s perfect for quenching your thirst after a long day riding across the plains.

Pony Express

  • 1 1/2 ounces Sazerac Rye Whiskey
  • 3/4 ounces Qi White Tea Liqueur
  • 3/4 ounces lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce Grade b organic maple syrup

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a double Old Fashioned glass with ice. Garnish with a lemon peel.

Tomorrow: The 20th Century’s most important divorce.

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