Sunday, June 23, 2013

A Comfort ‘N Tonic and Tumblers from the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair

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
Tonic Water

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!  

©2013 T.W. Barritt All Rights Reserved


Gloria Baker said...

This is a really nice post T.W.:)

Zany said...

Too funny - I found a set of those glasses while wandering the Hell's Kitchen Flea Market a few years ago. They were for the World Fair in Seattle and I bought them for my friend who had just relocated there. I thought they were very cool! Thanks for the post - it has inspired an "end of the weekend cap!"

Deana Sidney said...

That's hysterical. The first thing I thought was what's with the white gloves! Must be a southern thing because even in 64, white gloves were a bit OF. Those glasses are just perfect. I am very fond of a bit of a Chicago worlds fair from the 30's that I have from my grandparents. Not a glass but a deco key thing. It's hung on the side of one bookcase or another in my various houses for as long as I can remember (no, I wasn't quite around for that fair quite yet but my mother was!).

laura luciano said...

Love this. As I was reading this we drove right past the remnants on the LIE coming back from the East End of Long Island this morning. My recent blog post about the East Hampton Gourmet Food mentions Kate Pratt who was influenced by the Food Pavilions, in particular the Indian pavilion. I vaguely remember my mom having a glass or two from the fair. I need to ask her about them, great post. Imagine being here when they open up the time capsules! :)

Barbara said...

What fun you were able to find those glasses! But I'd much prefer mine filled with gin and tonic. :)
When my mother passed away, we found an entire drawer full of gorgeous leather gloves, all lengths and colors. My daughter took most of them, don't know if she's ever worn them or not. I do remember wearing white cotton gloves as a child.

Mary Bergfeld said...

Those of us who are old enough to have lived the life shown in the pamphlet especially enjoy posts like this. Great job, T.W. Have a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

~~louise~~ said...

What a wonderful nightcap for me, T.W. (I'm up very late this evening:)

Oh how I remember the World's Fair of '64. As kids we didn't get to do very much especially if it cost money but oh the Fair my parents splurged when they took us there and I still remember that feeling of awe.

I often wish to myself that we still had World's Fairs like those days. I don't think they should ever go out of style:)

I don't have the glasses but I do have a booklet that they gave out at the fair. And yes, there is a future 1964 World's Fair post in my future.

As for Southern Comfort, it was the drink of choice for those who "celebrated" in the school yard. I was never allowed out that late:) I should give it a try though. I am more than of age to drink now.

Thank you so much for sharing...

So funny my two words to comment are Made Ted B Mod:) Or is it I'm very sleepy, lol...

Catherine said...

Dear T.W., The fair was great!! I would love such a fair for my kids to experience. The wonder and awe of it all. Everyone was dressed real nice too. I like the fact that people cared how they looked. It lends to a much better sense of self.
I bet your Aunt Lou was fun. I had an Aunt Lou too. She was beautiful.
Blessings, Catherine

Axelle the french cook said...

I just love those old images. It just gives me a peaceful feeling. 50's, for me, is the real symbol of beautiful and happy life. The oping years. I love them.

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

My husband has talked about visiting the World's Fair many times in NY as a boy and all of the interesting exhibits. So glad to see the old images for myself. Southern Comfort is indeed a southern favorite and I love your collection of glasses.

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

BTW, I remember white cotton gloves as a child and long white gloves for formal occasions, such as a prom. And of course stiff hairspray and lots of petticoats.