This evening in 1898, the American battleship, U.S.S. Maine, which was sent to protect U.S. interests during the Cuban revolt from Spain, mysteriously exploded and sank in Havana harbor. Nearly three-quarters of her crew of 374 officers and men, perished in the disaster. Though the cause and possible culprits for the explosion are debateable, U.S. newspapers recognized the appeal of great headlines and seized upon the slogan “Remember the Maine, to Hell with Spain!” and drove popular opinion towards war with Spain.
Remember the Maine
¼ ounce Cherry Heering
¾ ounce Dolin Rouge Vermouth de Chambéry
2 ounces Old Overholt rye
Spray of Pernod absinthe
Glass: Coupe or Cocktail
Garnish: Luxardo Marasche cherry, slightly wet
Rinse chilled coupe glass with 2 dashes of absinthe or coat glass with 1 atomizer spray of absinthe. In chilled mixing glass, combine Cherry Heering, Dolin vermouth and Old Overholt rye and stir with cracked ice for 80 turns (1 ½–2 minutes). Strain contents of mixing glass into coupe. Garnish with cherry.
At least three different cocktails bear the name Derby, to commemorate the long bond between drinking and betting on horses. This version comes from the Bartender’s Guide by Trader Vic, filtered through Ted Haigh’s Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails. It marries bourbon with sweet vermouth, orange curaçao (I used Grand Marnier), and lime juice, to produce a drink that’s dry, tart, peppery, and subtly herbal.
1 ounce bourbon whiskey
3/4 ounce lime juice
1/2 ounce sweet vermouth
1/2 ounce Grand Marnier or orange curaçao
Lime wedge or mint leaf, for garnish
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add bourbon, lime, sweet vermouth, and Grand Marnier and shake well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with lime wedge or mint leaf.