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June 30, 2008

If I Had Another Penny
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 12:52 AM *

I first ran into “Byker Hill” on a Boiled in Lead album, Old Lead.

This is the song that begins:

If I had another penny
I would have another gill
I would make the piper play
The Bonny Lass of Byker Hill.

And there it would have stayed, if not while listening to Pandora.com I hadn’t heard another version by The Cottars.

In the midst of Byker Hill, what should I hear but:

A pitman and a keelman trim
They drink bumble made of gin
Then to dance they do begin
To the tune of Elsie Marley

Pitmen and keelmen were both apparently hard-drinking sorts.

The tune of Elsie Marley is easily found. (That’s Duck Baker teaching it, and teaching the Secret Chord that Segovia Didn’t Know, too.)

Long-time readers of Making Light will recall that I like gin drinks (not to excess, of course).

“What the hey,” said I to myself, “is bumble? Is it good?”

Alas, while a quick google finds a gin drink called a “Bumble Bee,” (2 oz. gin, 1 cup crushed ice, two dashes lemon juice, 2 tsp honey) the Bumble Bee doesn’t go any farther back than the 1920s, while “Byker Hill” (so I learn over at Mudcat.org) dates to 1812.

The word “Bumble” is associated with gin in Oliver Twist (1838), when Mr. Bumble visits the orphanage (in Chapter Two):

“Now don’t you be offended at what I’m a going to say,” observed Mrs. Mann, with captivating sweetness. “You’ve had a long walk, you know, or I wouldn’t mention it. Now, will you take a little drop of somethink, Mr. Bumble?”

“Not a drop. Not a drop,” said Mr. Bumble, waving his right hand in a dignified, but placid manner.

“I think you will,” said Mrs. Mann, who had noticed the tone of the refusal, and the gesture that had accompanied it. “Just a leetle drop, with a little cold water, and a lump of sugar.”

Mr. Bumble coughed.

“Now, just a leetle drop,” said Mrs. Mann persuasively.

“What is it?” inquired the beadle.

“Why, it’s what I’m obliged to keep a little of in the house to put into the blessed infants’ Daffy, when they ain’t well, Mr. Bumble,” replied Mrs. Mann as she opened a corner cupboard, and took down a bottle and glass. “It’s gin. I’ll not deceive you, Mr. B. It’s gin.”

Now that is promising: gin, water, and a lump of sugar. But it’s far from fixed; “Bumble” is an old word, far pre-dating gin, and Mr. Bumble could have been named thusly by Boz for many reasons other than fondness for a particular drink.

Turning to the exhaustive ten-year thread discussion of Byker Hill at Mudcat, we learn much about the geography of Newcastle, the sources and analogs of Geordie Johnson’s pig (Geordie Johnson had a pig/ And he hit it with a shovel and it danced a jig/ All the way to Byker Hill/ He danced the Elsie Marley) but not a word about what “bumble” is. “Elsie Marley” is in 6/8 time so you can dance a jig to it. There’s a discussion of the perfidity of interpolating stanzas of “My Dearie Sits Ower Late Up” (as do Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick) between verses of “Byker Hill,” but no recipe for bumble. There’s a long digression about what the proper tune might be (apparently The Cottars have the Wrong One), and some notes on which trolleys ran by Byker Hill in the 1950s, but nothing of gin bumble at all.

What to do?

Seek out Elsie Marley, of course.

Elsie Marley’s grown so fine,
She won’t get up to feed the swine,
But lies in bed ‘till eight or nine!
And surely she does take her time
Alice “Elsie” Marley (nee Harrison), was a historical person, it seems, a Tyne-side tavern-keeper, and among the stanzas in her song is a verse similar to the one that appears in “Byker Hill”:
The pitmen and the keelmen trim,
They drink bumbo made from gin,
And for to dance they do begin
To the tune of “Elsie Marley”, honey.

And would ye look at that: “Bumble” here is spelled “bumbo,” and there is indeed a drink called “bumbo.”

By golly, look at that: darned near the same recipe as what Mrs. Mann offered Mr. Bumble, too: 2 oz. rum, chilled water, two sugar cubes, sprinkle cinnamon, sprinkle nutmeg. The difference being that one was made with gin, the other rum. (Thus, I suppose, having to specify “bumbo made of gin.”) Bumbo has a number of alternate spellings, and a long history.

From this I conclude that “bumble made of gin” is:

Gin
Cold water
Cube sugar
nutmeg and cinnamon

Which doesn’t sound half bad.

[Recipe Index]

Comments on If I Had Another Penny:
#1 ::: Allen Baum ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 01:06 AM:

I'm impressed - that's a pretty fine example of literary research.

Ah, but if only you could put that perserverance and fine investigative mind to good instead of evil...

#2 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 01:06 AM:

When we were in York, I spied canned gin-and-tonic for sale, so I took one back to my room. There I watched the last half hour or so of CARRY ON NURSE. It was a pleasant enough occupation, and the drink didn't interfere with my enjoyment in the least.

Perhaps I'll give the juice of the juniper another try one day. Maybe as part of a refreshing fruity beverage.

#3 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 01:30 AM:

...to put into the blessed infants’ Daffy, when they ain’t well...

While "daffy" was a Victorian slang term for gin, I think that what Mrs. Mann was talking about here was the genuine Daffy's Elixir, "so much approved of in Town and Country, which has perform'd such number of great cures, when all other Medicines have failed, recommended by several eminent Physicians..." and particularly recommended for teething infants.

#4 ::: Max Kaehn ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 01:53 AM:

The version of the song I learned in high school choir spelled it gill, a unit of fluid measure.

#5 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 01:55 AM:

This may, perhaps, be an indelicate question, but is it normal for gin to reek of Pine-Sol?

#6 ::: Wirelizard ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 02:00 AM:

With hot weather here on the Left Coast finally, that means it's gin time! At least, it does at Chez Wirelizard.

A straight-up G&T is classic, of course; a real Martini[1] works sometimes, but when it's 30 C out, this refreshes wonderfully:

Over ice, usually in a Collins-sized (~8oz) glass:
2 oz Gin
2+ oz lemon juice
tonic water to fill

It's lemonade for grownups - I usually make it with almost 50% lemon juice, but I really, really like lemons...

Also good "virgin" without the gin, if the sun isn't over the yardarm yet, or whatever.

[1] I appear to have become a cocktail fundamentalist at some point. There are a large number of perfectly good cocktails served in martini glasses (and larger numbers of perfectly awful ones) but a martini is gin+vermouth (to taste)+olive. No more, no less.

#7 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 02:07 AM:

It is indeed "gill," a fluid measure approximately equal to a mouthful (not to be confused with a jack, a solid measure equal to about a handful).

And no, gin isn't supposed to reek of Pine-Sol. Not the good stuff, anyway.

Cheaper stuff probably benefits from nutmeg and cinnamon.

#8 ::: DBratman ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 02:15 AM:

Given this, there is (I hope) no reason why you shouldn't hear the quite remarkable track by the late great band Annwn that puts both of those songs together.

#9 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 02:17 AM:

Coincidentally (I assume), I sang "Byker Hill" at a party last week. With the "bumble" verse, although it didn't occur to me to wonder what it meant.

#10 ::: Wirelizard ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 02:37 AM:

Per my own #6 above, apparently I've re-invented the gin rickey, although the classic gin rickey apparently uses club soda, not tonic water, and usually lime instead of lemon juice.

Nice to know it has a name!

#11 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 02:51 AM:

Speaking of Marley, that's how Christopher Marlowe spelled his name when signing it (thus how he pronounced it).

#12 ::: Alison Scott ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 03:31 AM:

A gill is five fluid ounces (UK fluid ounces), quarter of a pint. Substantially more than a mouthful unless you're very thirsty.

#13 ::: Lin D ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 05:59 AM:

Jim @6
My mother did the vodka thing on my teething gums. According to my mother, she rubbed the vodka on my gums, then fed me the rest of the capfull. I threw up my hands, shouted "WHEEEEEEEE!" then slept for several hours. My personal opinion as to why she only did it once is my mother didn't want me to turn out like my father, who had a penchant for drinking and getting into trouble. Didn't help.

#14 ::: Lin D ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 06:00 AM:

Too early. Jim @3, seen just after hitting POST. *sigh*

#15 ::: Matthew Brown ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 06:39 AM:

The common English spirit measure as served in a bar was one-sixth of a gill, while the amount in Scotland was one-fifth, so a UK fluid ounce or a little less. Pre forced metrication, of course.

(The idea of legally enforced alcohol measures is one alien to most of the US, it seems)

#16 ::: Emily ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 06:56 AM:

This may, perhaps, be an indelicate question, but is it normal for gin to reek of Pine-Sol?

Maybe. Depends on your nose, your taste, and the gin. Some people strongly associate any pine scent with Pine-Sol, and will find *any* gin to smell like it. Others don't. I'd find a nice public garden with a tree collection and start sniffing their evergreens to try to figure it out.

(gin is flavored with juniper berries, so if all you can find is a creeping juniper in the yard, that works too)

#18 ::: ebear ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 07:50 AM:

This made me exceptionally happy as a thing to read first thing in the morning.

Actually, it very much reminds me of where story ideas come from.

In response to Jim at #11, it's also how Kit's dad, John Marley, spelled his name (we have signatures of both men, though only one of Kit's.) However, suspicion runs high that Master Marley has a strong regional accent (He was Kentish, which is not very much like being Entish), which probably contributed to everybody else who met him spelling his name "Marlowe," "Marlow," "Marloe," or in a few notable cases, "Merlin."

He also spelled his own first name Christofer, which I rather like, and not only for the infernal pun at the end.

#19 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 09:07 AM:

Bob Marley, whose father was an Englishman, would have defined 'bumbo' as the female pudend.

#20 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 09:42 AM:

re: Pine-sol

Years ago, some friends of ours in Georgia told us that they went on a weekend trip to somebody's cabin, and forgot to bring anything at all to consume for purposes of mood elevation.

They diligently searched the cabin, and somebody turned up a bottle of something that said it was "Pine Wine." It smelled like turpentine. (Nothing was said about resemblance to India ink.) It tasted about how you'd expect it to.

Over the weekend, they somehow managed to drink it all.

#21 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 09:44 AM:

There's a parody of Byker Hill (at Mudcat) that includes:

The calypso man and the Lilt man come
They drink rum punch made from rum
Then they dance and they have such fun
With the rhythms of Bob Marley

#22 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 09:44 AM:

In my experience, the cheap gin both reeks and tastes of Pine-Sol. I cannot get cheap gin down.

I describe it like this: Good gin tastes like a Christmas tree smells. Bad gin tastes like a Christmas tree tastes.

The first time I drank a gin drink was at someone else's open bar party, at which they were pouring top-shelf stuff. The gin and tonic was extremely good -- aromatic, marrying beautifully with the touch of lime, and with a slightly sweet aroma and taste.

A few weeks later, at someone else's bachelorette party, the guest of honor asked me for a drink suggestion. I said "gin and tonic." She bought one. It was a college bar, and they were pouring out of the large plastic bottles. She made a face, and I tasted it and made a face, because it tasted like Pine-Sol. I think we gave it to someone else.

I love this post, by the way, not because of the gin discussion but because I love the sleuthing and the family tree of these verses.

#23 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 10:00 AM:

If I Had Another Penny...

Penny Robinson?
Lady Penelope Creighton-Ward?

#24 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 10:56 AM:

Emily #16: gin is flavored with juniper berries

Does that make it dangerous for people who suffer from cedar fever to drink gin?

#25 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 10:57 AM:

The strongest argument the Montreal Worldcon bid group made to me on behalf of Anticipation was the sample of spruce beer.

(A commercial soft drink, not *beer*. It tasted like -- well, I haven't had either good gin or bad gin, but I'm betting that it was a lot more like the bad stuff.)

It was so bizarre that I decided to go to the damn con just to try more of it. I subsequently got another sample at Boskone, which failed to dissuade me.

#26 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 11:02 AM:

Andrew Plotkin @ 25, how odd. Like root beer, except spruce?

I did recently have redwood beer, which is beer beer, not a soft drink. It was really good.

#27 ::: chris y ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 11:06 AM:

Bumbo seems to be related to Punch, which in its original form comprised Arrack or Rum, Sugar, Water, Lemon Juice and Spices (5 ingredients making "punch" from the Hindi/Urdu panch, meaning 5). Now that goes back a long way, to the heyday of the "Honourable East India Company".

I guess substituting gin, cheap and easily available in the 18th/19th centuries would be a fairly obvious move for the less privileged classes of the time.

I had no idea these drinks were so similar. Thanks for the research.

#28 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 11:13 AM:

This seems to be a drink thread.

I recently put together a drink, based roughly on a sidecar, which needs a name.

2 parts bourbon
2 parts peach shnapps (I like sweet drinks--put in less for a less sweet drink)
1 part lemon juice

Excellent and summery, but it needs a name.

#29 ::: Sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 11:44 AM:

I happen to love this song, and went and bought the Cottar's CD based on hearing it on Pandora.

Thanks for the research, Jim. Need to remember to try this at CONvergence this weekend, though I am much more a fan of Sloe Gin and tonic. (yes, I am a heathen believer in the drinks of sugary sweetness)

#30 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 12:13 PM:

I'm not a drinker, but Deborah Madison has a recipe for Anasazi beans with juniper berries which I recommend heartily. IIRC, it's in The Savory Way.

#31 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 12:13 PM:

I'm not a drinker, but Deborah Madison has a recipe for Anasazi beans with juniper berries which I recommend heartily. IIRC, it's in The Savory Way.

#32 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 12:29 PM:

I was wondering if 'bumble' and 'syllabub' might be related in any way, given the number of alternate spellings of bumble. Wiki doesn't say so, and I couldn't find any other evidence of explicit relatedness, and yet there are some similarities -- alcohol, sugar, nutmeg.

(General site recommendation: historicfood.com.)

#33 ::: Hugh ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 12:55 PM:

DBratman (@8) beat me to the recommendation, but I second it. I like Annwn's version; their version of Cutty Wren is also worth listening to.

#34 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 01:14 PM:

Daffy's Elixir (named for Thomas Daffy, the 17th c. clergyman who concocted the stuff), it turns out, was mostly senna (the active ingredient in Ex-Lax) dissolved in brandy.

I can see why folks who ate high-starch/low-fiber diets and routinely dosed themselves with laudanum would need a wide variety of laxatives. (Constipation is a side-effect of any of the opiates.)

#35 ::: martyn44 ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 01:16 PM:

Gin and clinic, ah childhood memories. Not that my mother would ever have dreamed of putting gin in my clinic. Some neighbours' children were not so 'deprived'.

Clinic? Orange concentrate provided free to children on our NHS.

Not any more.

#36 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 01:20 PM:

#8 DBratman there is (I hope) no reason why you shouldn't hear the quite remarkable track by the late great band Annwn

Alas, there is a reason: "Server is taking too long to respond." I hope this is because of an increase in traffic from happy Making Light readers, not because it's down hard for good and all.

#37 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 01:27 PM:

Debbie @32, syllabub is an entirely different creature, the basic recipe being "milk a cow into a container of ale or sherry."

#38 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 01:37 PM:

If I had another penny (If I had another penny)
I'd buy you a drink (but not a real gin drink, that's cruel)...

#39 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 02:06 PM:

Rikibeth @37 -- I realize that it's a mixture of whipped cream and alcohol, but not necessarily directly from the cow (essay here; N.B., pdf).

On reflection, and looking at lots of different recipes, it seems like the basis for so many drinks was always alcohol + spices + sweetener, with variations (hot, cold, milk, etc.). I saw a reference to hot buttered rum made with molasses that was also called Bumbo.

#40 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 02:10 PM:

Personally I think it's Buckley's Mixture that tastes like drinking a Christmas tree (with the needles scraping your throat on the way down); but it's true that it does ease a stuffy nose very well, once the screaming stops.

I would avoid any gin that remotely resembles Buckley's Mixture.

#41 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 02:19 PM:

Rikibeth@37 -
Debbie @32, syllabub is an entirely different creature, the basic recipe being "milk a cow into a container of ale or sherry."

... and here I thought a syllabub was the overview of courses taught at the Wolverine and Lobo School of Charm and Refinement...

#42 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 02:51 PM:

Ahem. One shouldn't confuse www.mudcat.org with www.mudcat.com; tho' they do have a photo gallery and video, there seems to be a different kind of sound being purveyed there. Just sayin'

#43 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 03:03 PM:

#11 James D. Macdonald : "Speaking of Marley, that's how Christopher Marlowe spelled his name when signing it (thus how he pronounced it)."

Thank you. For some reason, the alternate spelling question was running around in my head lately, and I could not for the life of me remember what it was.

Cue "A Shakespeare Carol...
"Marlowe was dead, to begin with..."

#44 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 03:18 PM:

Scott Taylor @ 41... the Wolverine and Lobo School of Charm and Refinement

"What exactly are you a professor *of*, 'Professor Logan'?"
"Art."

#45 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 03:29 PM:

James Macdonald #21: I should have expected that.

#46 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 03:30 PM:

Caroline #22: Why would you want to eat a Christmas tree?

#47 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 03:33 PM:

Did you know that you can get pre-mixed martinis in the liquor stores of New Hampshire? They come in cans, with pop-tops.

Have I mentioned that they're vile?

Oh -- in case anyone was interested, the recipe for James Bond's martini:

Three measures of Gordon's, one of grain vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it's ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel. Serve in a deep champagne glass.

(Alas, Kina Lillet is no longer made.)

That sounds absolutely deadly. (Note, too, that Nikita Krushchev called the martini "America's secret weapon.")

#48 ::: Jill Paddock ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 04:29 PM:

Being called Jill, I was always offended by the idea I could be had for a mere penny! When we sang the song at our folk-club (in the dim and distant reaches of the last century) I would usually add an "ooh!" of shock/surprise at the end of that line.

#49 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 04:33 PM:

James D. Macdonald @ 47

After drinking cheap Russian vodka all his life, Nikita would have said that about anything stronger than beer that you might drink because you liked the taste.

#50 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 05:15 PM:

Note that the "Bumble Bee" first found would appear to be pretty close to gin bumble/bumbo with the substitution of honey for sugar, which makes all kinds of sense.

#51 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 05:21 PM:

I'd go with that, Clifton, particularly when you consider that at least some bumbo recipes have lemon in 'em.

#52 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 08:23 PM:

Wirelizard, #6: Oops, you just poked one of my pet peeves and started it growling. :-)

The peeve in question is the use of terms like "adult beverages" or "X for grownups" to refer to booze and recipes containing it. At age 52, I don't care for being relegated to the kiddie table just because I don't like the taste of alcoholic drinks. I do understand that some people consider the ability to drink legally to be a rite of passage; that's their business, but it's not a universal by any means.

Matthew, #15: As I understand it, one of the primary reasons that "American beer" has such a bad reputation is that it's legally required to contain no more than some fairly low percentage of alcohol. As beer is the most popular type of booze in America, I don't think you can legitimately say that legally-enforced alcohol measures are alien to most Americans. ;-)

Kip, #20: They held their noses and closed their eyes?

Jill, #48: Interesting. This being one of those words that I've only seen and never heard, I would have pronounced it like the fish's breathing organ. I like your little joke, though, now that I know the liquid measure is pronounced with a soft G.

#53 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 08:57 PM:

Kip W @2 When we were in York, I spied canned gin-and-tonic for sale, so I took one back to my room.

I've had a couple of cans of gin and tonic and they were okay, but a little sweet. Some tonics are like that; if you're being fussy about gins, it's worth spending a little time finding a tonic you like. Helpfully the co-op supermarket round the corner's own brand suits me fine.

Something I sometimes do: put a slice of lemon in the glass, pour in the gin and then tonic to taste so that it all runs through the slice of lemon (which floats up as you pour); a lemony gin and tonic.

#54 ::: Don Fitch ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 09:40 PM:

I may try nutmeg &/or cinnamon with gin, someday, but don't expect to like the result. Such spices go well (or acceptably) with rum -- it's a convivial & bawdy spirit -- but gin has come (since the days of Hogarth) to be an austere and aloof one, at least in my mind, more suited to the clear bitterness of tonic-water.

#55 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 10:28 PM:

Lee @52, re: American beer's %ABV, that's not true so far as I know. In fact, at the local Real Ale expo, the American beers were more alcoholic (4-5%) than the European beers (3% or under). Of course, that was all American craft brewers, but I'm pretty sure that even the mass-market American beers clock in at 4-5% too. And it's definitely not uncommon to find American craft beers close to wine in alcohol content (8-10% ABV) -- the Midas Touch beer, just for example. I think most of the stigma associated with mass-market American beer comes from how they don't taste like much of anything, not their alcohol content or lack thereof. :-)

#56 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 10:49 PM:

The alcohol content on American beer may also depend on the state it's being made for. I think some states are still perrmitting only 'near-beer' sales.

(I like Anchor. YMMV: it's well and truly hopped. My line is that it's only in bottles so it won't scare people by standing in the fridge on its own. It also is good at cellar temp, as opposed to fridge temp.)

#57 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 11:04 PM:

Anchor Liberty is even hoppier than Anchor Steam, and I like it even better (although I'm usually not a hop freak and find e.g. Sierra Nevada to be way out of balance).

#58 ::: Wirelizard ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 11:19 PM:

Lee @ 52: I have a number of friends who're teetotal, for a variety of reasons; that's fine with me on all fronts. You always know who the designated drivers are, for starters... I spent about a year and a half in my early twenties 'dry', for a variety of complex reasons, mostly to do with wanting to prove I could do it.

Besides, even the gin-free version of my summer drink @6 is moderately "adult" - straight lemon juice + tonic water makes for a much more interesting lemonade than the syrupy stuff usually made from frozen concentrate!

It's not a drink to everyone's taste, even a lot of adults. Certainly most kids would likely make a face and call it icky...

#59 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2008, 12:43 AM:

On a related tangent, a diabetic friend informed me that according to his reading, soft drinks may be directly responsible for the explosion of diabetes in the U.S. near the beginning of the 20th century. Before then, people generally drank lemonade or iced tea on hot days, often with very little sugar according to modern tastes, either because it wasn't subsidized yet or because it hadn't yet dropped out of the conventional wisdom that sugar makes you thirsty. Then soft drinks became cheap and widely available and the incidence of adult-onset diabetes began to climb shortly thereafter.

Coke Adds Life.

#60 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2008, 05:58 AM:

#50, 51: On further thought, aren't most cocktails liquor + flavor (often citrus) + sweetener?

I wonder if it's more likely that honey -> bee -> bumble rather than bumble -> honey -> bee in the name, and that we're looking at independent recreation (as in Wirelizard @ #10 above).

#61 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2008, 08:52 AM:

#59: High-fructose corn syrup as an ingredient (in darned near everything) has a lot to answer for. Even if it is a profit center for ADM.

#62 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2008, 11:00 AM:

Jim @ #47, that's not just the Bond martini, that's the Vesper! I didn't know that Kina Lillet was no longer made -- I'd always meant to mix one just to see what it tasted like.

Then there's the McGee, which, IIRC, is "put ice in short tumbler, add slosh of sherry, put strainer over top of glass and dump out sherry, reserving ice, fill with gin, add twist of lemon peel." The original called for Plymouth, but Travis stopped drinking it when it stopped being bottled in the UK, and switched to Boodles, and I wonder what he'd choose for his favorite gin nowadays.

I'm thinking it may be time to make another batch of Teresa's Citrus Cordial, and dilute it from my new toy the seltzer siphon.

#63 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2008, 12:31 PM:

Rikibeth @ 62: that's not just the Bond martini, that's the Vesper! I didn't know that Kina Lillet was no longer made -- I'd always meant to mix one just to see what it tasted like.

It's very good with plain old Lillet (although I prefer orange peel to lemon peel).

#64 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2008, 11:55 AM:

Rikibeth @ #62: Jim @ #47, that's not just the Bond martini, that's the Vesper!

But the Vesper is the Bond martini; it's named after the first ever Bond girl, Vesper Lynd.

Isn't it?

#65 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2008, 08:59 PM:

As it happened, the hotel at AlbaCon this year served the "Vesper" martini in their bar (substituting Lillet Blanc for Kina Lillet), and I had one.

It was interesting, and had quite a kick to it, but not something that I'd drink on a daily basis.

#66 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2010, 06:55 AM:

When first I went down to the pits
Me motorbike was all in bits.
Then along come Walter Shaw,
He's the man who tunes me Harley.

Biker Bill and Walter Shaw,
Jollier lads you never saw...

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