September 11: Oh! Susanna

Stephen_FosterStephen Foster is considered to be the “father of American music,” and it was on this day in 1847 that his first and most popular hit song was introduced to the public. You probably know it; it’s a little tune called “Oh! Susanna” and it was first performed at a concert at Andrews’ Eagle Ice Cream Saloon in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Interestingly, Foster only made $100 (a little under $3000 in modern money) from this song. Most of the money made off of “Oh! Susanna” was made by the various minstrel troupes that took out copyrights for their arrangements of the song. However, the tune’s popularity caught the eye of Firth, Pond & Company, the leading musical publisher of the day, who quickly hired Foster and offered him a royalty rate of two cents for ever copy of sheet music sold. This marked the start of Foster’s career as America’s first professional songwriter.

There is a cocktail named Susanna, and although I can’t confirm if it’s related to Foster’s song. The drink is an interesting mash-up of a Martini with a pair of fruit brandies.


  • 2 ounces Gin
  • 1 ounce Orange Flavored Brandy
  • 1 ounce Dry Vermouth
  • 1 ounce Calvados

Stir in a mixing glass with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.

Tomorrow: What’s the difference between graffiti and important art? About 17,300 years.


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