The summer cocktail season has arrived, so I’ve looked beyond my favorite brown spirits for something a bit lighter and brighter. In my quest, I stumble upon this classic cocktail recipe book once given to me by a friend – “From New York and Restaurants at the World’s Fair – 46 Great Drinks.”
Don’t you just love the white gloves and the high fashion Betty Draper look of the woman on the cover? I can almost see the White Rain Hairspray dressing her auburn tresses.
The pamphlet raises a myriad of questions. Who is that lovely woman, and her clean cut male companion? How many more exhibits will they be able to view once they’ve finished that Manhattan and Old Fashioned? Why just 46 great drinks? Why not 50?
Here’s a look at our favorite couple relaxing at home, about to make one of their favorite drinks from the World’s Fair. He looks a bit like Perry Cuomo in this shot.
“They” don’t really hold “World’s Fairs” anymore. The future is here, and the world is much smaller than it used to be. Still, I remember the sense of awe I felt as a child when I first glimpsed the symbol of the World’s Fair, The Unisphere. It still stands in Flushing, Queens.
The Fair was full of futuristic exhibitions and historic first, and the architecture alone – including the multi-tiered New York State Pavilion – was considered a gleaming symbol of the dawning space age.
We brought home all kinds of cool items from the World’s Fair, including a set of these smoked glass tumblers featuring various exhibits from the World’s Fair. The original tumblers went to my eldest brother, but I managed to recreate a set for myself by rummaging through a couple of antique stores.
The pamphlet is actually a promotional item for Southern Comfort, designed to highlight “Southern Comfort’s completely unique taste and flavor.” Southern Comfort is a whisky spirit flavored with a proprietary blend of “rare and delicious ingredients” that remain a secret to this day. Many of the recipes in the World’s Fair pamphlet – including the “Comfort ‘N Tonic,” swap out traditional spirits and replace them with Southern Comfort.
I’ve actually never tried Southern Comfort, but I remember it was a favorite of my Dad’s Aunt Lou. A world traveler, and always the life of the party, Aunt Lou would say, “I need to be comforted” when the cocktail orders were being taken. She would have enjoyed this recipe:
Comfort ‘N Tonic
1 jigger (1 ½ oz.) Southern Comfort
Juice and rind of ½ lime
Squeeze lime over ice cubes in 8-oz. glass. Add liquor, lime rind; fill with tonic, stir.
I mix my Comfort ‘N Tonic in the tumbler honoring the New York State Exhibit. The Southern Comfort adds a touch of spice and citrus and smooths out the tonic water. It’s quite refreshing. The cocktail transports me back to an era when absolutely anything was possible. Cheers to the comfort of the good old days!
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