April 5: Sherlock Holmes Returns

HolmesWatsonIn 1891, Sherlock Holmes fell to his death at Switzerland’s Reichenbach Falls while fighting against his arch-nemesis, the “Napoleon of Crime” Professor James Moriarty. After a period of mourning, Holmes’ friend Dr. John Watson began to get on with his life, but still showed an interest in assisting in the solving of crimes. On the afternoon of April 5, 1894, Watson was examining a crime scene when he inadvertently bumped into an elderly book seller. Later that same day, the bookseller came to Watson’s study to apologize, and while Watson was distracted the bookseller removed his disguise to reveal that he was in fact Sherlock Holmes!

Of course, that’s all fiction. In reality, Holmes had been killed off by his creator Arthur Conan Doyle in the 1893 short story The Final Problem. Conan Doyle had gotten tired of his famed detective character and wanted to move onto more serious literary pursuits, so he decided to write one last Holmes story. When the story was released, the public was shocked. Some newspapers actually published the news of Holmes’ “death” on the front page.

Eventually, Conan Doyle began to relent on the matter of Holmes. In 1902, he published the novel The Hound Of The Baskervilles, a previously untold adventure set before Holmes went over the falls. The novel was a hit and Conan Doyle began to think about how he could bring the world’s greatest detective back to life. As Watson’s did not actually witness Holmes’ death in The Final Problem, there was enough wiggle room for Conan Doyle to bring Holmes back under the pretense that he had faked his death. So, in 1903 Conan Doyle published Holmes’ return in The Adventure of the Empty House to the delight of readers everywhere.

To celebrate the (fictional) 120th anniversary of Sherlock Holmes’ return, let’s turn to the fine folks at the number one website for geeky boozers, The Drunken Moogle. Mitch Hutts created The Reichenbach Fall to celebrate the third season of the BBC drama Sherlock. Just as Sherlock is an update of the Victorian era Sherlock Holmes tales, Hutts’ cocktail is a modern twist on the Sherry Cobbler, a cocktail that was popular in Victorian England.

The Reichenbach Fall

  • 1 ounce London Dry Gin
  • 2 ounce Dry Sherry
  • 1 splash Stirring’s Blood Orange Bitters
  • 3 ounces lemonade

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a highball glass with ice.

Tomorrow: Citius, Altius, Fortius

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