The Wisdom of Charles H. Baker Jr.

I’ve been re-reading Charles H. Baker Jr.’s South American Gentleman’s Companion recently.  I ran across the following choice passage this morning on the way to work and found it amusing.  Apologies to the more sensitive souls, for the nominally curmudgeonly and misogynistic content.


Bebida in Spanish means “Drink,” and piojosa means “lousy”; and the 2 of them together means a disappointed guest anywhere, besides a demerit in the mixer’s reputation.  The 1st and great commandment in building mixed-drinks is that of not being lazy.  Results are sad for the poor chap who has to drink his brews; but sadder still is the realization deep down in our poor mixer’s heart-of-hearts that he has betrayed his callings, his finer mixing art, through refusal to do the right and proper things–yet still does nothing about them.

Summing this whole business up may we say that just as there is no such thing as a 1/2-good girl there no such animal as a 1/2-good drink.  A mixed drink is either made correctly out of correct stuff: good; or it’s La Bebida Piojosa.  Even a homely gal can, with cunningly-employed paint, powder, patches, rouge-pots, whale-bone and falsies, fool part of the people part of the time; but a poorly-built drink betrays itself with the first sip.  The only person our lazy drink-mixer is fooling is himself; he is a traitor to his art and there is no health in him.  Amen.

Suffice it to say, in these modern times I don’t believe that “Amateurs” are the only “lazy drink-mixers” in the world…

Ladies’ Cocktail

Ladies' Cocktail

Ladies’ Cocktail

2 Dashes Absinthe. (2/3 tsp. Sirene Absinthe Verte)
2 Dashes Anisette. (2/3 tsp. Anis del Mono dulce)
2 Dashes Angostura Bitters.
1 Glass of Canadian Club Whisky. (1 3/4 oz 40 Creek Barrel Select, 1/4 oz Buffalo Trace Bourbon)

Stir well and put small piece of pineapple (1/4 orange slice) in glass.

Chuckle, I’d like to meet the Ladies who drink cocktails like this!

I am reminded of a recent episode at a bar.

At a bar near where I work, which is a kind of divey beer and whiskey kind of place, I decided to experiment and ask for a cocktail. “Manhattan, no cherry.” Bartender gave me a look and went off to mix the cocktail. When he brought it back, he looked around and asked, “Is there someone with you? Did you want something else?” The implication being that the Manhattan had certainly to be for a girl that was accompanying me, and he expected me to order a proper man’s drink like beer, whiskey, or whiskey rocks. I made a mental note and sipped my girly cocktail.

Anyway, the Ladies’ Cocktail, effeminate or not, is quite tasty. Pretty similar to a Sazerac. If I weren’t Savoy Stomping, I would make it with Rye Whiskey and be done with it.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.