Thursday, February 11, 2016


Okay, Ash Wednesday is over! Time to drink.

Actually, if you've given up booze for Lent, don't let me be a bad influence. These pages are provided purely as a historical document.

"How to Make the 32 Most Popular Drinks" -- and, somehow I expect Southern Comfort to play a large part in this. Which is odd, because except for a few 80's fad drinks like the Sloe Comfortable Screw, I can't think of a single drink made normally with Southern Comfort. Well, maybe times have changed since that fateful night I heaved the stuff and swore it off.

But this isn't about alcohol, this is about history!

How far back in history? This is one of the recipe pamphlets I inherited, and one of the oldest, but this one has no dinner recipes, just drinks and hors d'oeuvres. But like the others, it was a freebie, and in this case it appears to have come as a supplement to a very popular magazine:

TV Guide, October 24, 1959. Gunsmoke, Perry Mason, and Southern Comfort.

The hors d'oeuvres are all pretty typical for the time. Let's have a look at the drinks:

As you can see, not every one of the 32 drinks is based on the sponsor's booze, so they're not trying to convince you that a Southern Comfort martini is the wave of the future.

One of the coolest things about this booklet is the Southern Comfort drinks shown in famous bars across the 48. The Fontainebleau in Miami, of course, is still around, but Jack Dempsey's in Manhattan closed in 1974. The heavyweight champ himself outlived his restaurant by nine years.

What else were the TV Guide reading hep cats doing in 1959?

Applying for the Diners' Club, for one thing. Diners Club is known as the world's first independent credit card, but in 1959 it was a bit different from what we're used to; the company did not issue plastic credit cards until 1961, according to Wikipedia. Prior to that members had cardboard ID cards. Still around, of course, but maybe now one of those minor credit cards that outfits that take "all major credit cards" don't take. (As for me, I wouldn't take one of those Diners' Club inspired "Diner-flo" cocktails---Southern Comfort and vermouth? Maybe they wanted to make the S.C. Martini the hot new drink after all. Blecch.)

We also see that early Christmas promotion was well known in 1959---here we are before Halloween, and the Southern Comfort Corporation is promoting its Christmas gift bottle. Clever design, too; the brand name was on a clear outer cellophane wrap so you'd know what it was, but when you took that off, the foil Christmas wrap remained. Stick a bow on that sucker and you're good to go.

You could also save half on huge (almost a pint!) steamboat glasses---remember, "the DOUBLE Old Fashioned is THE fashion," which is the kind of drink in the kind of proportions that led to my swearing off Southern Comfort decades later.

You can also get the matching "New! Gay 'Steamboat' Cocktail Napkins," if that's your thing.

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