Friday, August 10, 2012

Stormaktstiden, The Battleship Vasa, Chocolate Salty Balls, and Some Great 404 Error Messages

On this day in 1628, The Swedish warship Vasa would launch on its maiden voyage. One of the largest and most heavily armed warships of its time it was the symbol of "stormaktstiden" (age of greatness) in Sweden -which had grown from a relatively poor European kingdom to one of major influence on the continent.

After being towed along the waterfront to the southern side of the harbor, three of Vasa's sails were set, and the maiden voyage had begun. As a slight gust of wind filled its sails, the vessel tilted suddenly to port. The Sails were immediately lowered and Vesa righted herself. Another another gust came, however, forced the ship to its port side but this time so far that water rushed into its open lower gun ports. With the added weight of the water the Vesa tilted over further, took on more water and sank only 400 feet from shore.

The story of the salvage of the Vesa is an interesting one worth reading if you have time.  It is now housed in a museum that has become one of Sweden's most popular tourist attractions.

The Historical Inebriant: The Shipwreck


1/2 oz. Malibu Rum
1/2 oz. Midori
1/2 oz. Grenadine
2 oz. Orange Juice
2 oz. Pineapple Juice

Shake with ice (except grenadine) and strain into a highball glass. Top off with grenadine.


In doing some digging for photos of the Vesa I came across the following image -

Also a website that lists some very interesting takes on the 404 error messages we all love:

404 pages inspiration


On this day in 2008, American singer and actor Isaac Hayes, passed away after suffering a stroke. Hayes won Academy Award for Best Original Song for the "Theme from Shaft", and co-wrote the song "Soul Man" made popular by The Blues Brothers. Although he may be best remembered as the voice of Chef on the animated series South Park.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Two years, two months, and two days without Internet access and the Betty Boop Shot

On this day in 1854, – Henry David Thoreau published Walden; or, Life in the Woods. Later to be known simply as Walden, it would be the literary result of his a two year, two month, and two day retreat from "Over Civilization" in English-style 10' × 15' cottage in the woods near Walden Pond.

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion."
— Henry David Thoreau

Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.
Henry David Thoreau

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.
Henry David Thoreau


On this day in 1930, Betty Boop would make made her cartoon debut in Dizzy Dishes.

The Historical Inebriant: The Betty Boop Shot

1/2 shot of Patron
1/2 shot of Peachtree Schnapps
1 shot cranberry juice

Mix in shaker with crushed ice, strain into a shot glass.  Makes 2-3 shots


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

I still haven't found what I'm looking for and The Irish Blonde

On this day in 1987, the Irish band U2 reaches the top of the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart for the final time with the song “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” which remained for two weeks on the top spot.

The Historical Inebriant: The Irish Blonde


2 oz. Michael Collins Irish Whiskey
3/4 oz. orange curacao
1/4 oz. Fino sherry
1 dash of orange bitters

Add first four ingredients to a mixing glass and add ice. Stir to chill and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a flamed orange peel expressed over the cocktail.

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.

Monday, August 6, 2012

I swear this drink is watered down, and The Rosiland Russell Aquavit Cocktail

On this day in 1926, 20 year old American swimmer Gertrude Ederle becomes the first woman to swim across the English Channel. The daughter of a butcher and a Gold Medal winner at the 1924 Summer Olympics in the 400 meter freestyle the time of her swim (14 hours and 39 minutes) was almost an hour faster than the previous men's record.


Also on this day in 1926, Harry Houdini performs perhaps his greatest feat, spending 91 minutes underwater in a coffin before being brought up. In response to questions about the stunt being rigged Houdini responded, "there is no invention to it, there is no trick, there is no fake; you simply lie down in a coffin and breathe quietly."

On this day in 1986, A storm that developed off the coast of The New South Wales coast drops 13 inches of rain in a 24 hour period over Sydney.


It's a water theme today, and when I think of water I think Aqua and when I think Aqua I think Aquavit.

The Historical Inebriant: The Rosiland Russell -              Aquavit Cocktail


2 oz. aquavit
1 oz. dry vermouth
A twist of lemon peel.

Shake the vermouth and aquavit in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Strain into a chilled martini glass.  Garnish with the lemon peel.