1940s Archive

Here’s How

continued (page 2 of 4)

Find a 2-quart jar with a sealer top. Into this put 1 quart stemmed, washed, cut up, and crushed strawberries dead ripe. Pour in 1 bottle Tequila. Seal tightly, and allow to stand for 2 to 3 weeks. Strain through a double cheesecloth, and you will find a lovely thing, a rosy liquor with its rude sharpness blunted, yet with the kick of a mule. It may be poured over ice, sweetened to taste, and consumed as is, for a quickie, or as a julep over fine ice, or frozen with cracked ice in the Waring Blendor, with the addition of the juice of ¼ lime for tartness, in tropical style á Daiquiri. Color, a lovely rose; flavor, unique.

Under other covers we have mentioned a tall drink originated as a special by Berta, the smart Mexican lady who maintains an interesting little café on the plaza, diagonally across the Southwest corner from the lovely cathedral in Taxco—a fantastic edifice built at the cost of some fifteen millions by the French miner de la Borda, in gratitude for the huge fortune in silver he had taken from the country round about. Here you get a view of mountains spilling down, down into a fiery sunset that is one of the prime views on earth. Here at Bert’s—or Bertita, as she is usually called—American artists and visitors from many lands gather at five, for their sundowners. Here is one special, á Bertita.

Squeeze 1 cup strained juice as follows: 1/3 lime, 2/3 orange. Put in a shaker with fine cracked ice and 1 cup Tequila. Shake hard, and pour into tall fluted glasses, or into big flat Champagnes, along with some of the ice. Garnish with a stick of fresh pineapple. My variation: substitute pineapple juice for orange.

In other, happier days in the 1930’s we had occasion to fly in one of sturdy two-motored K.L.M. Fokkers from Batavia, Java, to Soerabaja, along with Ruth Elder, our fiancée and her mother, and a group of friends—all of us planning to beat our world cruise ship to Bali. This bit of byplace involved on overnight trip on one of those immaculate little ships of the K.P.M.—Koninklijke Pakvaart Maatschappij to us!—making the loop of Singapore, Batavia, Soerabaja, Makassar (on Celebs), Balikpapan (on Borneo), Manila, and return. She was called the Melchior Treub, after the famous Holland Governor; and she was further called a “pig boat,” Since Bali furnished not only very fancy ladies in sarongs, but also a particularly toothsome form of sway-backed porker that every wealthy Chinese in the Eastern tropics prefers to any other flesh.

Methusaleb J. Minas had been cabled to meet us in Bululung with motor cars. Everyone ws happy. The captain of the Treub and his officers couldn’t have been nicer. At five, intead of the tea you get on a lime-juicer, or the boullon and cocktails you get on any other ship, they served us what apparently were small porcelain egg cups filled with a delectable and heady yellow cold custard, the name of which slips us, but which is like a French Sabayon with the velvet glove removed. You eat it with a spoon; it can be served hot or cold; and like the marvelous Peking Tiger’s Milk described in the August GOURMET, this little business can also be “food, drink, and lodging.”

To serve 4, put the yolks of 4 fresh eggs into a double boiler along with ¼ cup each of brandy and either Madeira, Marsala, or a good domestic white wine, preferably one made of Scuppernong grapes. Whip until the mixture is frothing, then add egg whites, well-beaten. Keep beating as the heat rises in the double boiler, until the mixture is stiff. Add more sweetening at first, if it is desired. Take the custard off and turn it into a bowl, whipping it now and then until it is cool. It may be served hot or cold; if you want it hot, heat the cups—egg cups or demitasses—before-hand. Use all wine if less alcohol is desired. In the East Indies Batabia Arak is used instead of brandy, but the latter does very well. And finally, remember never to boil, or the mixture will certainly curdle.

Firpo’s, in Calcutta, is one of the few really smart joy spots in all India, despite romantic travel tales. Here everyone gathers to make it more or less a Bengali Stork Club. On my last visit I saw Walter Camp, Richard Halliburton, Ruth Elder, and a very lovely young lady who, the popular prints tell us, is doing well in the current cinema under the name—unless I am mistaken—of Merle Oberon. I also met one of the world’s great drinks—Firpo’s Balloon cocktail, a stout fellow indeed, and so named because three are alleged to send one bobbing around the ceiling. To fabricate: 1 jigger each of good Rye and Absinthe, or Pernod Veritas, 3 dashes Orange bitters, and 2 teaspoons fresh egg white. Shake hard, and dish up in big saucer Champagne glasses—and watch your P’s and Q’s.

At the Eastern & Oriental in Penang and at the Penang Cricket Club several interesting drinks were added to the Baker bar log. Among the perennial run of gin pahits, pegs, gimlets, gin slings, and all such famous tropical fodder, the so-called East India House Special is worth your indulgence. This same pleasant cocktail was found pretty much throughout the whole British East, in those amiable days …. To a 2-ounce jigger of brandy add 1 teaspoon ordinary soda fountain type pineapple syrup, 1 teaspoon Maraschino, 1 teaspoon Curaçao, 1 teaspoon strained lime juice, and 3 dashes Orange bitters. Shake with fine ice and serve in a Manhattan glass, letting a trifle of ice remain.

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