Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Ultimate 1909 Roadtrip and the Sidecar Cocktail

Alice Ramsey in her automobile

On this day in 1909, Alice Huyler Ramsey, 22 year old housewife and mother, Vassar '07 graduate, and the daughter of a lumber dealer, would complete the road trip of all road trips.  Leaving from New York City, Ramsey, accompanied by her two older sisters-in-law and another female friend (none of whom could drive a car) would arrive 59 days and 3800 miles later in San Francisco, California.

The idea of an all women cross country road trip came from an automobile executive of the Maxwell-Briscoe Company. Having witnessed Ramsey's driving skills firsthand in a 200 mile endurance drive from New Jersey to Montauk, he proposed the idea of an expense paid road trip to show the world that the Maxwell automobile was so reliable, it could take anyone - even *gasp* a woman driver cross country.

The trip did not pass without incident. Less than 200 miles of the trip were on paved roads, the rest were dirt and if it rained muddy roads amounting to large cow paths. There were 11 tire changes, transmission problems, and fouled spark plugs. Not to mention trying to find places to eat and sleep in the small towns of America in 1909. Once, when the car became stuck in the mud by a flooded stream they had to sleep in the car until the water subsided.


The Historical Inebriant: The Sidecar 


3/4 ounce Cointreau
3/4 ounce lemon juice
1 1/2 ounces cognac

Shake well with cracked ice, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass that has had its outside rim rubbed with lemon juice and dipped in sugar.

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