Willie Smith Cocktail

First, just a reminder that Sunday, Jan 30, 2010, is our monthly exercise in folly, Savoy Cocktail Book Night at Alembic Bar. If any of the cocktails on this blog have captured your fancy, stop by after 6 and allow the skilled bartenders (and me) to make them for you. It is always a fun time.

Willie Smith Cocktail
1 Dash Lemon Juice. (Very Generous Dash Lemon Juice)
1/3 Maraschino. (1/2 oz Maraschino)
2/3 Brandy. (1 1/2 oz Osocalis Brandy)
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

Sort of a Brandy heavy Sidecar, sweetened with (too much) Maraschino Liqueur, the Willie Smith Cocktail might have been named after Willie the Lion Smith…

From an Answers.com Article:

Willie the Lion Smith was a pianist who stood at the center of the New York City jazz world in the roaring 1920s. He performed at the most fashionable nightclubs in New York City’s predominantly African-American Harlem neighborhood, accompanied other musicians on recordings, and inspired and mentored a host of younger musicians. Smith is regarded as a pioneer of stride piano, the first important solo piano style in the jazz tradition. He is less well known than other pianists of the 1920s such as James P. Johnson and Thomas P. “Fats” Waller, primarily because he made few recordings under his own name until later in his career.

You can listen and learn more here on this NPR piece:

Jazz Profiles from NPR: Willie “The Lion” Smith

William Henry Joseph Bonaparte Bertholoff Smith, aka Willie The Lion Smith, was a piano player who greatly influenced many future Jazz greats during the early part of the 20th Century.  A contemporary of Fats Waller he bridged the “Stride” piano style with the Chamber and Swing Jazz styles that were to come. He made his true fame playing Harlem house parties during prohibition, influencing other more famous players like Duke Ellington.

Interestingly, he felt the legalization of liquor did more harm to Harlem, than Prohibition ever did, as White people with money no longer had a reason to frequent the clubs and house parties where many in that neighborhood made their money.

“It was legal liquor that did to Harlem what scarcer tips and shuttered warehouses had failed to do.”

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.