So you’ve returned from your ‘special holiday’ at the clinic, all dried out and with a fancy to dip your toe once more into the Paralytic Ocean. I hope you enjoyed your twelve step program, because you’re now on the way to bouncing headfirst down every single one on your to the bottom by reading this article. As your great-grandparents learned the hard way, denying yourself alcohol is a really good way of making people want to drink until they are crying vodka, so here are a few more unnatural concoctions from the decade that America wants to drink to forget.
Special Rough Cocktail
1 dash of absinthe, ½ glass of applejack, ½ glass of brandy. Shake well in ice, strain and serve very cold.
Boy, the clue is in the title with this one. A nip of the wormwood infusion that led Van Gogh to cut off his ear, washed down with something colonials in New Jersey only drank when no clean water was available, and some real brandy that will die of shame when it realizes what you intend to do with it. Erik Ellestad, who we mentioned last time around as drinking his way through the Savoy Cocktail Book, describes the Special Rough in such a way as you can almost hear him giving up on humanity: “Well, sometimes people are just drinking to get themselves somewhere else. Out of their head, out of their life, out of their city.” Special Rough Cocktail looks like the urine sample you’d give your physician after drinking too much Special Rough Cocktail.
¼ quarter glass each of Barcardi; Hercules (a wine-based apéritif no longer made, so good luck with that); apple brandy; regular brandy. Shake in ice, strain into glass.
Wow. Based on a recipe found clutched in a dismembered hand in the bucket of a well in the Ozarks.
1 ½ shots of crème de cacao, 1 ½ shots of cream, juice of 1 lime
The only way to make this drink more unpalatable is to add real liebfraumilch, a wine traditionally associated in Europe with gifts from people who don’t like you that you re-gift to someone you wished would die. As it is, liebfraumilch cocktail sounds like something a gangster’s moll would drink to make herself feel sophisticated. Rumor has it that the infamous dancer, harlot, and professional floozy Minnie the Moocher bathed in liebfraumilch cocktail to keep her complexion clear, before her arrest for failing to bribe a police officer and subsequent exile to Venezuela.
The rinds of 3 lemons; the peel of 2 lemons; the peel of 2 oranges; 6 glasses of calf’s foot jelly; 2 quarts of boiling water; 1 pint of Capillaire (infused gum syrup, maidenhair fern and orange flower water; ask at your local Denny’s); 1 pint of sherry; 1 pint of Cognac; 1 pint of dark rum; a quart of orange shrub (a kind of fruit vinegar); add sugar to taste, though I’d say that’s the least of your problems. You may also need a priest, in case mixing all this up creates a banshee, homunculus or similar monstrosity.
During a lesson on fireworks, a fifth grade teacher once told my class that he would not tell us how to make a firework in case we attempted to make one ourselves at home, and in a similar spirit, I will give no further details on how to make the above ‘beverage.’ If you know how to get calf’s foot jelly, then you know how to make Oxford punch, and of the best way to serve it to the headless dolls, dead gophers and crying hostages who populate your remote shack in the woods.