from page 86
The White Plush
25 March 2010 by molossus
To celebrate the paperback release of How to Mix Drinks or The Bon Vivant’s Companion: The Original Cocktail Guide (Hesperus Press, $14.95) by Jerry Thomas, considered the father of American mixology for his integrating showmanship and creativity to his bar tending, Molossus is proud to present the following excerpt. The title was first published in 1862, and played a large role in the popularization of the cocktail.
Use small bar glass
Hand a bottle of Bourbon or rye whiskey to the customer and let him help himself.
XXFill up the glass with fresh milk.
XXA curious story about the origin of this drink is thus told by the
New York Herald:
XX‘There are always some mixed drinks that are standbys, and are always popular, such as cocktails, punches and juleps; but every little while there will be a new racket sprung on the public that will have a great run for a time, and then get knocked out by another. About a month ago white plush got its star in this way: there was a country buyer down from New England somewhere, and a party of dry goods men were trying to make it pleasant for him. So they took him into a swell barroom down town, and were going to open sour wine. Same old story, you know; get him full as a balloon and then work him for a big order. It turned out that this countryman was not such a flat as they thought him. Though he had been swigging barrels of hard cider and smuggled Canada whiskey for the last twenty years, he pleaded the temperance business on them; said he never drank, and he guessed he’d just take a glass of water if they’d get him one, as he was kinder thirsty walkin’ round so much. Well, that was a setback for the boys. They knew he had lots of money to spend, and he was one of those unapproachable ducks that have got to be wormed up before you can do anything with them.
XX‘“Oh, take something,” they said, “take some milk.”
XX‘“Well, I guess a glass of milk would go sorter good,” said he.
XX‘Someone suggested kumyss and told him what it was. As they did not have any kumyss in the place they gave him some milk and seltzer. That’s about the same thing. One of the boys gave the bartender a wink and he put a dash of whiskey in it. The old man did not get on to it at all. He thought it was the seltzer that flavored it. The next round the seltzer was left out altogether and more whiskey put in. They kept on giving it to him until he got pretty well set up. It’s a very insidious and seductive drink. Pretty soon the countryman got funny and tipped his glass over on the table. As it spread around he said:
XX‘“Gosh, it looks like white plush, don’t it?”
XX‘“So it does,” said the boys. “Give the gentleman another yard of white plush, here,” and the name has stuck to it ever since.’