Cocktails A-Go-Go: 100 Swinging Drinks from Bahama Mamas to Salty Dogs by Susan Waggoner, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Cocktails A-Go-Go: 100 Swinging Drinks from Bahama Mamas to Salty Dogs

Cocktails A-Go-Go: 100 Swinging Drinks from Bahama Mamas to Salty Dogs

by Susan Waggoner
Remember sipping a Mai Tai, perhaps with a lei around your neck while lounging to a Burt Bacharach song at a seventies shindig? Or dousing your thirst with a Tequila Sunrise after a turn on the disco floor boogying to Barry Manilow's Copacabana? Like Proust's madeleine, there are certain drinks that can take you back to a perfect time of pure pleasure. Cocktails A


Remember sipping a Mai Tai, perhaps with a lei around your neck while lounging to a Burt Bacharach song at a seventies shindig? Or dousing your thirst with a Tequila Sunrise after a turn on the disco floor boogying to Barry Manilow's Copacabana? Like Proust's madeleine, there are certain drinks that can take you back to a perfect time of pure pleasure. Cocktails A Go-Go sends you on that trip, with more than one hundred recipes for favorite drinks from the past along with the stories behind their invention, and nostalgic visuals that evoke the era.

With the recent revival of cocktail culture at home gatherings, bars, and restaurants, drinkers have developed an ever-expanding and more demanding palate. Cocktails A Go-Go rediscovers a slew of long-lost concoctions to quench the unending thirst for the hot new drink. While several books have tapped into this craze, none offers this combination of historical information, practical real drink recipes, and kitschy images. Filled with fun TV and film stills, posters, and vintage advertisements, the book hits the Generation X nostalgia nerve that is rooted in a past of tiki-mania, pu pu platters, disco music, and lounge lizards. It also serves as an entertaining sourcebook, with tips throughout for planning theme cocktail parties complete with music, food, and décor suggestions. This fun and affordable gift book is as essential as a cocktail shaker or a 10-speed blender.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
Mixology experts Waggoner and Markel offer this follow-up to their Vintage Cocktails: Authentic Recipes and Illustrations from 1920-1960. Complete with 1960s designs and photos, this witty, modish book is sure to catch the attention of would-be drink stylists. After listing the bartending basics (types of glasses, mixes, and condiments), the authors break out the blender with recipes for Frozen Daiquiri (which "got a big boost... when John Fitzgerald Kennedy became president") and the Grasshopper. A chapter entitled "Lounge Lizards" offers a photo of Liberace and postcard illustration of The Tropicana. Here, "no-frills drinks are the hallmark of lounge culture"-and highballs rule, whether it's a Seven and Seven, Bourbon and Branch (water) or Vodka and Tonic. On the West Coast, surfing reigned, and refreshing drinks included the Harvey Wallbanger and Sangria. With the '60s came a blast of color, and the authors don't ignore those fun technicolor drinks, such as the Creamsicle and the Cosmopolitan. (May) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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     Rudy Vallee? Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians? Purveyors of yesterday's music they may have been, but also unsung heroes in any bartender's hall of fame. Their visionary efforts led to a revolution in the art of mixology, giving us some of our favorite contemporary classics.
     It all began long ago, in a dressing room far, far away. In the early 1930s, Waring was a well-known producer and entrepreneur. A former Penn State engineering student, he was also a lover of gadgets, innovations and inventions. One night after a radio broadcast from New York's Venderbilt Theater, an inventor named Fred Osius talked his way backstage and gained access to Waring's dressing room. Osius believed Waring was the perfect source for funding for his newest idea, a contraption that would emulsify food. Intrigued by the idea, Waring not only provided funding but was responsible for several improvements in the design itself. The ultimate result was a prototype of what would become the Waring Blendor®, which burst upon an unwitting public in 1938.
     It's one thing to lead a horse to water, another to make it drink, and in this case the horse was the public. No one seemed quite as enamored of the gadget as Waring himself was, and the least enamored of all were the Pennsylvanians themselves. On tour, Waring had a special traveling trunk made for his beloved bulender. He believed the invention would revolutionize the art of gastronomy and, eager to put his theory to work, chased after members of his company with tumblers full of pulverized food. From green beans to cranberries to sauerkraut, nothing was safe from the whirling blades of the blender.

          "At first we considered the whole affair a harmless foible – the sort of squirrelly
     therapy one expects a man of certain genius to contrive for his own amusement."
               – Ferne Buckner
               Member of The Pennsylvains

     Revolt was in the air. Members of The Pennsylvanians let it be known that it they were presented with one more concoction of buttermilk and borscht puree, and they'd leave the tour. In a last ditch effort to put his project across, Waring changed strategies. A non-drinker himself, Waring knew that his musicians enjoyed their cocktails. Why not put his invention to work behind the bar? According to Ferne Buckner, who was with the Pennsylvanians at the time, the first drink ever concocted in the blender was a frozen daiquiri. The cocktail, which took 10 or 15 minutes to prepare by hand, was whirred to icy perfection in a matter of minutes. Pennsylvanians who had so recently threatened to flee now lined up for samples.
     Having discovered the sales hook needed to engage the public's attention, Waring now stepped up his sales efforts. Wherever the Pennsylvanians played, Waring took his machine to the leading department store and put on an demonstration for the buyers. He also put on demonstrations for friends. Upon learning that Rudy Vallee was a frozen daiquiri fanatic, Waring invited Vallee to stop by his dressing room for a chat. Vallee was on a tight schedule, about to catch a return trip to Hollywood, and when Waring offered to make him a drink Vallee insisted that he didn't have time. Over the singer's objections, Waring began dumping the contents of Vallee's favorite – a strawberry daiquiri – into the blender, and in one minute presented him with a perfect cocktail. After a single sip, Vallee told Waring he wanted to be his agent, and Waring allowed him to return to Hollywood with the gadget. Whether Waring actually expected Vallee to follow through with his plan unknown, but within a few weeks Vallee called Waring to inform him that sales were brisk.
     Vallee, Waring learned, had an almost perfect sales technique. After finishing his performance for the evening, Vallee would wander into a bar and order a frozen daiquiri. When the bartenders frowned over the effort it took to make the drink, Vallee would innocently aske, "Don't you have a Waring mixer?" To the inevitable response of "What's a Waring mixer?" Vallee would produce the blender, plug it in behind the bar, and within minutes mix a pitcher of frozen daiquiris. Before he left the establishment, he'd invariably have written an order for one or more of the appliances. By the end of 1938, over 35,000 blenders had been sold.
     Just as Waring's machine was gaining a solid foothold, World War II intervened. The scarcity of materials needed for the war effort called a halt to mass production, and Waring sold his license to a parent manufacturing company. Although the blender continued to be used in scientific venues such as hospitals and research labs, it ceased to be the going concern it once had. The blender's real era of popularity did not even begin until well after World War II, when a number of happy factors converged to make it one of the most popular appliances in history.
     The American kitchen before 1950 was largely an appliance wasteland. Aside from the toaster, the counter was more or less bare. But after the war, when suburbs began to boom all over the country, more couples found themselves in possession of more counter space and more money to spend filling that counter space than ever before. Happily, the war effort left us with a lot of first class engineers, many of whom found jobs inventing coffee makers, electric mixers, and all sorts of other plug-in delights. It was only a matter of time until someone figured out that the blender, once a piece of "professional" equipment, could be manufactured for home use. Soon people were blending away, and a whole new generation of drinks became popular. Frozen drinks for mom and dad as they lounged on their newly-flagstoned patio, malts and milkshakes for the kids to eat with the burgers dad was grilling – could anything be more perfectly designed for the new, efficient, fully-equipped American hearth? The blender had come into it's own at last.

FROZEN DAIQUIRI Daiquiris have been around since the turn of the century, but they got a big boost in popularity in the 1960s when John Fitzgerald Kennedy became President. After the sedate and stodgy Eisenhower era, the Kennedy White House glowed with youth and glamor, and when word got out that the daiquiri was the President's cocktail of choice, the daiquiri became the "in" drink of the era.
               1 ½ ounces light rum
               Juice of 1½ limes (approximately 1½ ounces)
               1 teaspoon sugar
               1 cup cracked ice
               Garnish (optional): thin slice of lime
     Combine ingredients in blender and whir just until smooth. While this recipe can be multiplied to make several drinks at once, don't make more than will be served immediately, as the delight of a frozen daiquiri is its soft, fresh slushiness.     
     Variation: To make a traditional daiquiri, place lime juice in a cocktail shaker. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Add other ingredients, shake briefly, and strain into a cocktail glass. A traditional daiquiri needs no garnish, but a thin slice of lime or a twist of lemon may be used.

               1 ½ ounces light rum
               Juice of 1 lime juice (approximately 1 ounce)
               1 teaspoon sugar
               6 large strawberries (these can be fresh or frozen)
               ½ cup cracked ice
               Garnish: large strawberry
     Make as Frozen Daiquiri, above.

1 ½ ounces light rum
               1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
               1 tablespoon milk or cream
               1/3 banana, broken into chunks
               ½ cup cracked ice
     Make as Frozen Daiquiri, above.

     More than 40 years after it was made, Edward Blake's The Days of Wine and Roses remains a as gripping a picture of alcoholism as was ever crafted. Anyone who has seen the film may well remember that lovely Lee Remick's character didn't begin her descent with raw gin or even the proverbial martini but with the Brandy Alexander – a good reason never to have more than one of this seductive little sipper.
     1 ounce brandy
     1 ounce crème de cacao
     1 ounce heavy cream
     ½ cup cracked ice
     Garnish (optional): light dusting of cocoa powder, cinnamon, or nutmeg
     Combine all ingredients in blender, whir for about half a minute, and serve immediately. This recipe can be increased to make multiple drinks but, as with all frozen drinks, do not make more than will be served at once.
     Variation: For a creamier treat, replace the heavy cream and ice with 3/4 cup ice cream.

          1 ounce crème de menthe
          1 ounce white crème de cacao
          1 ounce heavy cream
          ½ cup cracked ice
     Garnish (optional): fresh mint leaf or dusting of cocoa powder.
     Combine all ingredients in blender, whir for about half a minute, and serve immediately. This recipe can be increased to make multiple drinks but, as with all frozen drinks, do not make more than will be served at once.
     Variation 1: As with the Brandy Alexander, heavy cream and ice may be replaced with 3/4 cup ice cream.
     Variation 2: If you'd like your grasshopper to have a bit more kick, add 1 ounce of vodka to make a Vodka Grasshopper – and leave the ice cream alone.
     Variation 3: To make a Mexican Grasshopper, substitute 1 ounce coffee liquer for the crème de cacao.

     The best discotheque DJs are underground stars, discovering previously ignored
     albums, foreign imports, album cuts and obscure singles with the power to make the
     crowd scream and playing them overlapped, non-stop so you dance until you drop.
                – The first published article on disco
               "Discotheque Rock '72: Paaaaarty!" by Vince Aletti
               Rolling Stone, September 13, 1973
     It gave us swirling skirts and stiletto heels, tight white pants, fussy shirts and coiffed hair. It made supernova celebrities of Liza and Halston and jolted Travolta's career. The music wasn't great – unless, of course, you wanted to dance, and then it was terrific.      Disco, the big entertainment of the 1970s, had its origins in occupied France. When German troops took control of Paris, they closed down the city's flourishing jazz clubs. Music enthusiasts were forced underground, to gather in clandestine cellar cabarets where they listened, with secret joy, to recorded music. One of the clubs dubbed itself La Discothèque and the name became generic for any club playing recorded music. Instead of disappearing after the war, the clubs flourished. Paul Racine opened Whiskey a Go-Go , while one of his protoges, Regina Zyberberg, opened the famous Chez Régine. Dancing to recorded music was suddenly chic. If Brigitte Bardot and Georges Pompidou found it amusing, shouldn't everyone?

Discotheques could soon be found in capitals throughout Europe, catering to a relatively well-heeled clientelle of upperclass youth, celebrities, and wandering Americans. In New York, Le Club opened it's doors and enjoyed a heady reign as the place to be until it was displaced by The Peppermint Lounge in the early 1960s.
     At the same time, another style of disco was inventing itself, a rougher, rowdier, style born in America's urban funk clubs. Long before Saturday Night Fever arrived at a theater near you, funk-born disco was working its way up the social ladder and into the mainstream. Like the original clubs of WWII Paris, the first American clubs flourished in cellars and lofts and abandoned warehouses. Inevitably, however, American funk collided with Euro-style disco. The result was a confetti swirl of noise and glitter that became disco with a capital-D. Clubs competed with each other to be bigger and flashier, to have a more kaleidoscopic display of lights, and a higher-volume sound system. DJs, the chefs de cuisine of the nightly fare, became well-known celebrities, lured from club to club by ever-increasing salaries. Step-by-step, disco became theater. Regine introduced the idea of staging "happenings" (one of the most memorable of which was platinum blonde night) and clubs from Woonsocket to Walnut Creek followed suit.
     In this delirious and dizzy state, disco existed exuberantly for nearly a decade. Though some decry it as an all-too-typical offering of the culturally lost '70s, they forget there was a time when hopping around to "YMCA" actually seemed fresh and even mildly iconoclastic. Disco clubs were the first cultural phenomenon where the vision of a rainbowed America actually existed. Prior to it, and often since, clubs have divided along predictable lines – black clubs, white clubs, gay clubs and straight, celebrity hangouts and urban dives. Everyone danced together at disco clubs, not always in perfect harmony but with a higher degree of social integration than has been seen before or since. After a happy decade, disco died a mercifully quick death. Between 1981 and '82, it all but vanished from the scene. The twin streams of music feeding the hopper – black funk and white rock – had been melded into a colorless, corporatized genre despairingly referred to as "beige" music. Serious musicians sought other outlets for their talent, giving birth to the New Wave trend that would dominate the 1980s. Clubs ran into trouble as well, some with tax problems, some with DJs who spent more time in the bathroom with a rolled up dollar bill or a small silver spoon than they did in the DJ's booth. One of the disco's key ingredients – teeming crowds who'd stand a rope line in the pouring rain – ran on to the next party. The glitter was gone, and by 1983 disco seemed as quaint and outmoded as the tea dances of the roaring '20s.

The Club
     It may not have been the biggest, the best, or the most innovative, but almost from the moment it opened, Studio 54 was the best-known disco club of all time, it's name known the world over, it's guest list of regulars – Warhol, Halston, Diana Ross, Liza Minelli, Bianca Jagger – a veritable who's who of late-'70s stardom. Even Salvador Dail was seen there.
     Located on Manhattan's West 54th Street, the space was football-field huge, theatrical, and haunted by a glittering array of Broadway ghosts. It had housed an opera company in the 1920s, a host of theaters and the Casino de Paris night club in the 30s, and in the 1940s and '50s, the CBS studio from which Beat the Clock, The $64000 Question, and The Johnny Carson Show were beamed, live and coast-to-coast, in the 1950s. (It was this final use that inspired the club's name.) The balcony and stage area, still structurally intact, were left in place and given a dazzling refurbish. As for drinks, you could get anything you wanted at the mirrored bar, which was positioned under the balcony and just beyond it spread the huge dance floor and lit by columns of strobe lights that hung from the ceiling like pulsing stalactites. Silver banquettes ringed and a scattering of tables ringed the floor – comfortably seating from which to observe what was surely the gaudiest show in town. The most coveted regions of the club were off-limits to most patrons – the side door reserved for celebrity entrances and exits and a private lounge downstairs where only a cluster of hand-picked V.I.P.s were allowed.
     On any given night – including opening night, when even invited guests were turned away – the crowds were large and the competition to get in fierce. Contrary to popular myth, it wasn't necessarily youth, beauty or wealth that got you in. Owners Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager realized early on that disco was live theater, and more than anything they wanted a good cast for the show. Their directions to the doormen was to "mix a perfect salad" each night, and if you were a tomato on a night they needed more lettuce, too bad. On a snowy New Year's Eve in 1977, Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards of Chic were invited to the club by Grace Jones, who was performing there. Despite their credentials, they failed to get in. Annoyed, the boys went home and wrote a revenge song, whose refrain was "Fuck Off." Realizing that the song had merit, they cleaned up the no-airplay lyric and got their revenge – issued as Le Freak, it topped the charts for 6 straight weeks, played at virtually every disco in the world.
     With the doormen mixing the perfect salad, even an ordinary night at Studio 54 could be pretty spectacular. But the extraordinary nights hit heights not seen in New York since the Four Hundred held butterfly balls and horseback banquets. At the Bianca Jagger birthday party, held in May of 1977, the guest of honor arrived on a white horse, led in by a strapping young man clad only in body paint.
     So large does Studio 54 loom in the collective consciousness that few realize how short-lived the club was. It opened on April 26, 1977 and closed in March of 1980, just a little over a month after owners Rubell and Schrager began serving jail time for income tax evasion, and just a little after the club's liquor license expired – a death blow to any club. (Rumor has it that 54's last legal drink was enjoyed by Silvester Stallone.)
     The club was sold to Mark Fleischman and re-opened in September, 1981 with the former owners – now out of jail – acting as consultants. The world had mover on, though, and Studio 54 never regained its former glitter. It closed for good in 1986.

SIDEBAR Dance to the Music
      A dozen great songs of the era. Enjoy them with a long tall cocktail. We dare you not to hum along.
          Copacabana; Barry Manilow
          Heart of Glass; Blondie
          The Hustle; Van McCoy
          I Will Survive; Gloria Gaynor
          Last Dance; Donna Summer
          Le Freak; Chic
          Shake Your Booty; KC & the Sunshine Band
          Stayin' Alive; Bee Gees
          Turn the Beat Around; Vickie Sue Robinson
          Upside Down; Diana Ross
          We Are Family; Sister Sledge
          YMCA; Village People Disco Drinks
     Dancing was thirsty business, and drinks that typify the disco era are invariably tall and wet. No egg-cup sized cocktails here. If you're having a disco party, we recommend laying a supply of tall collins glasses and stocking up on mixers, as guests will invariably drink more than they ordinarily would.

     There was a time when everybody wanted to be at Studio 54, even liqueurs of foreign extraction. In 1978, when Japan-based Suntory decided to launch its popular melon liqueur, Midori, in America, it chose Studio 54 as the site. The party was attended by stars from Saturday Night Fever, while the movie's closing credits rolled over an image of the Midori billboard in Times Square. Midori became a huge hit, and Midori-based cocktails are an enduring legacy of the disco era. The Melonball is one of the most popular and enduring.
          2 ounces melon liqueur
          1 ounce vodka
          4 ounces of either pineapple or grapefruit juice (your choice)
     Half-fill a collins glass with ice cubes. Pour liqueur over the ice, then fill glass with fruit juice.
As with any drink requiring fruit juice, this one will taste best with fresh or, at the very least, juice that is not from a concentrate.

     De rigueur throughout the 1970s, the Wine Cooler was the perfect disco drink, refreshingly thirst-quenching and mild enough to keep you relatively sober. Today, the drink has become a well-known staple, as comforting and familiar as an old friend. And like old friends, this one sometimes gets taken for granted. The fact is, few people know how to make this simple drink properly. Americans especially are prone to adulterating it with all sorts of additives, including lemonade. A few minutes of thoughtful study will break you of these inclinations, and give you a whole new perspective on this timeless classic.

Original Wine Cooler
     We begin our quest for the perfect Cooler in the land where it all began, Austria. There the drink is known as a Wine Spritzer, and strictly made according to the recipe below.
          Dry, acidic white wine that has been thoroughly chilled
          Soda water, preferably from an old-fashioned bottle.
     Fill a glass slightly more than 1/8 full with soda water. Top with chilled wine and enjoy.

          Disgusting practices like drinking with ice or perverting the drink with a
          slice of lemon are to be considered completely inadmissable!!
                – Best-of-Austria website

Classic American Wine Cooler
     Because the only drink Americans can endure without ice is cocoa, we hasten to offer the drink's classic American version as well:
          White wine of choice
          Club soda or lemon-lime soda
     Fill a tall glass with ice cubes. Fill 3/4 full with wine, then top with soda.     
Wine Cooler Variations
     Once you understand the basic concept, the Wine Cooler offers itself up for myriad variations, some of them surprisingly delicious. So – with many apologies to our Austrian friends – we suggest you branch out and try some of these:
     o Cherry Cooler: Cherry wine and cola.
     o Peach Cooler: Peach wine and lemon-lime soda.
     o Rhubarb Cooler: Rhubarb wine and club soda. (If you have rhubarb growing in your yard, cut a few ruby stalks to use as swizzle sticks.)
     o Apple-Cranberry Cooler: Apple wine and cranberry juice.
     o Strawberry Cooler: Strawberry wine and orange juice.

     Mick Jagger and his then-wife, Bianca, were among the celebrities frequently spotted at New York's Studio 54. Which makes it all the more fitting that we offer here the Rolling Stones own invigorating – if slightly stupefying – version of the Tequila Sunrise. According to Jill Spalding, author of Blythe Spirits, Mick and the boys referred to it simply as the In Drink. In what or whom we cannot be certain.
          3 ounces tequila
          3 ounces orange juice
          3/4 ounce grenadine
     Mix tequila and orange juice in a shaker with cracked ice. Pour ice and all into a collins glass, adding additional ice if needed. Slowly pour in grenadine but do not stir. Garnish with a slice of lime.
     Variation 1: For a slightly dryer drink, add the juice of ½ lime to the orange juice and tequila before shaking.
     Variation 2: To make a traditional Tequila Sunrise, reduce the amount of tequila to 1½ ounces.

Meet the Author

Susan Waggoner is the author of several books, including I Do! I Do, The Old-Time Blue Ribbon Gardener's Handbook, Nightclub Nights, and Vintage Cocktails

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