Tag Archives: history

Shake, Stir. . .”Imbibe!”

By Kaleigh Lawson

Before it was trendy to use the word “crafted” in reference to our beer, wine, and cocktails, it was the only way drinks were made. When you wanted a drink you didn’t walk down the grocery store aisle and grab a plastic bottle of pre-made margarita or Bloody Mary mix— everything was made from scratch.

Yes, making a cocktail from scratch is more work. You will definitely need more ingredients, BUT with a little luck, skill, and patience you are likely to be sipping on a cocktail that tastes 10x times better than your quicker, artificial version.

I am guilty of taking the easy way out when it comes to my cocktails, but I have also sipped on a truly crafted cocktail. On one of my adventures, I found myself in a dimly lit speakeasy in the wild west of South Dakota imbibing on cocktails mixed with ice chipped and carved from a large block of ice. And while absinthe cotton candy dissolving atop a finely aged whiskey might seem more innovative than classic, it definitely made me a believer in taking the time to create an artistic beverage my taste buds will thank me for.

David Wondrich perfectly captures the vibrant history that surrounds the beginning of cocktails in America. In this book, you’ll find yourself being taken on a journey through the history of popular drinks Jerry Thomas made and how to make them, and a little bit about the life of mixologist, Thomas.  I paid close attention to the drink called the Knickerbocker. Knickerbocker is in my blood—not the drink, just yet—the actual New York Knickerbocker family.  Naturally, I was curious to learn more about the drink named for my ancestors. As it turns out, it was a popular drink all the way through the civil war, but the last record of it seems to be in the early 1880s.  This once popular cocktail is definitely one I’ve added to my “Must Try” list along with several others that caught my attention like the Champagne Cobbler, Apple Toddy and a Port Wine Sangaree.

As for the question of shaken or stirred? Well, that is up to you and the drink. You don’t always have to side with James Bond on this one. Some drinks require one versus the other, and in every other case, that depends on if you care if your drink is cloudy or clear.

Imbibe! has definitely stirred up some mixology excitement inside of me. I can’t wait to roll up my sleeves start creating and, of course, sampling some of the classic cocktails that Thomas developed and Wondrich breathed life back into.

The Knickerbocker

Cool with shaved ice; shake up well, and ornament with berries in
season. if this is not sweet enough, put in a little more raspberry
NOTES ON INGREDIENTS: Choose the lime over the lemon. Some
find this recipe too tart. Rather than adding more raspberry syrup
(which can be purchased in larger organic markets or easily made by
macerating raspberries in rich simple syrup), I prefer to increase the
curaçao to 2 teaspoons. Raspberries, blackberries, orange pieces,
even pineapple can be part of the garnish. The only difference
between Thomas’s Knickerbocker and his White Lion is that the latter
replaces three- quarters of the raspberry syrup with pulverized
sugar. I’ll take the knee pants.
In his 1863 book, Thomas offers a “Knickerbocker Punch” that’s
half brandy and half port, with pieces of orange and pineapple in the
glass; delicious, but no Knickerbocker.

NOTES ON EXECUTION: This drink should be built and shaken in
the glass for authenticity. But if you don’t have a shaker small enough
to cover a 6‑ to 8‑ounce tumbler and would prefer not to pour it back
and forth between glasses, the floor, your shirt, and the boss’s wife,
g’ahead and cheat and make it in the big shaker. It really doesn’t
make a damn bit of difference to the final drink. Just don’t shake the
lime rind in with everything else; it can make the drink bitter.

In Remembrance

By Iain Martin
MemorialAlmighty Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bidd’st the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep:
O hear us when we cry to thee
For those in peril on the sea.
                                                              —The Navy Hymn

As we near Memorial Day our thoughts turn to those who have fallen in the service of our country. Connecticut has a long history with the U.S. Navy dating back to 1775.  It was Submarine Memorialright here in Old Saybrook that the first combat submarine, Turtle, was built for use against the British Navy. Not far up the road from Old Saybrook is the town of Groton, “Submarine Capital of the World.”  Groton is the home of the Electric Boat Corporation, which has been the major contractor for submarine work for the U.S. Navy since 1889. The Naval Submarine Base New London is also located in Groton as is the Navy Submarine Force Library and Museum, home to the legendary USS Nautilus (SSN-571). On a quiet side street just off the bridge over the Thames River is the U.S. Submarine World War II Veteran’s Memorial. Here one can find the names of 3,617 sailors of the submarine force who died alongside the markers commemorating the names of the fifty-two boats on which they served.

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TantorGives! to Support the Wounded Warrior Project

By Deborah Fleet, Audio Proofreader (MLIS)

Tantor Media and its employees recently formed an advisory committee called TantorGives! logoTantorGives! The mission of TantorGives! is to provide opportunities to give back to the community through fun, charitable initiatives, and to foster a spirit of teamwork and volunteerism among Tantor employees. TantorGives! has formed Team Tantor, comprised of employees and family members who will run or walk in support of the 5th annual Spartyka Wounded Warrior 5K at Bluff Point State Park in Groton, CT, on May 16, 2015. TantorGives! will match funds raised by Team Tantor, and you can back our walkers and runners in support of the Wounded Warrior Project here .

The committee members of TantorGives! were inspired to support and promote the Wounded Warrior Project due to Tantor’s publication of  Once a Warrior—Always a Warrior, by Charles W. Hoge, MD, narrated by John Pruden. This book is essential for anyone who has returned from a war zone, as well as for spouses or family members navigating the transition from combat to home.

As an audio proofreader, I have also read/listened to the following two books that reflect related aspects that impact the United States veteran. The first is War Dogs,  by Rebecca Frankel, narrated by Tanya Eby (2014). Military dogs are given well-deserved credit for their refined sense of smell and innate seek and rescue skills, which have resulted in saving the lives of thousands of men and women in the military. These same dogs suffer similar issues that our men and women do when returning home, while providing a loving cushion to the troops in the brutal horrors of war. Beautifully written, War Dogs wins the listener into becoming pro-canine, and a supporter of military working dogs. The second is American Reckoning, by Christian G. Appy, narrated by Sean Runnette (2015). This outstanding narration gives an account of the impact of the Vietnam War on our nation, its identity, and people, as well as the military, through movies, song, popular media, commentary, and how it affected American culture.

To our nation’s military force and veterans and their families, Tantor Media would like to say thank you for your service.

100th Anniversary of the Sinking of the RMS Lusitania

By Iain Martin

 Sinking of the Lusitania. Engraving by Norman Wilkinson, The Illustrated London News, May 15, 1915. P. 631
Sinking of the Lusitania. Engraving by Norman Wilkinson, the Illustrated London News, May 15, 1915. P. 631

This month marks the anniversary of one of the most tragic events of the twentieth century, the sinking of the British passenger steamer RMS Lusitania on May 7, 1915, by a German U-boat off the coast of Ireland.  She had left New York on May 1 bound for Liverpool, ignoring German warnings that the seas around the United Kingdom had been declared a zone of unrestricted submarine warfare. Although international law prohibited the firing on a non-military ship without warning, the Lusitania was carrying war munitions, which the Germans claimed made her a legitimate target.

A single torpedo hit the Lusitania on the starboard side, causing a secondary explosion within the hull. It sank in eighteen minutes, killing 1,191 people, including 128 Americans. The international outcry against Germany’s attack was keenly felt in the United States, still a neutral country in 1915, and moved public opinion closer towards supporting the Allied nations against Germany. In 1917, when Germany once again launched a campaign of unrestricted submarine warfare to try and starve England into defeat, the United States declared war on Germany.

Much controversy still surrounds the sinking of the Lusitania. A succession of British governments since World War I have always denied that munitions were being transported, but in a recent declassification of documents it was shown that in 1982 the Lusitania Audiobook CoverBritish government warned salvage divers of the presence of explosives on board. A number of British documents regarding the Lusitania remain classified.

You can learn more about this story in Lusitania: Triumph, Tragedy, and the End of the Edwardian Age by Greg King and Penny Wilson read by Johnny Heller.