Any regular reader of this email will know that I am a fan of old books in general, and old cocktail books in particular. My good friend Rob Timko this week gave me a present. It's a 1953 cocktail book that was given out or sold by Davidson's Liquors right here in New Brunswick. The telephone number for Davidson's is given as KI5-0065. That's Kilmer5-0065. How great is that?
Nineteen Fifty-Three was an odd time in the life of the American Cocktail. While it certainly wasn't the pre-prohibition Golden Age of the American Cocktail, neither had it yet descended into the Fuzzy-Wuzzy Woo Woo and Mind-Eraser nadir of 1970s cocktail culture. New Brunswick was in a similar position. Camp Kilmer was still open and the city's business was still thriving, having not yet descended into the nadir of urban malaise to which it succumbed in the 1970's.
When I came to New Brunswick in 1984, Davidson's was a slum liquor store and it seemed most of the product it sold was drunk from a paper bag within 100 feet of its front door. It's hard for me to imagine the Davidson's that I knew ever proffering a cocktail book to its customers, much less one with recipes. Davidson's is gone now. The gleaming new Rockoff Hall stands where the bums used to drink. And the cocktail has returned to New Brunswick. You can see where Davidson's once stood from the windows of NJ's First True Cocktail Bar of the modern era. Stop by this week and I'll point out where it used to stand.
Davidson's book has some pretty good advice on glassware and bartending, some horrendously frightening recipes, some very boring party games, the lyrics to My Darling Clementine, Alouette, The Old Gray Mare and Old Folks At Home; and some pretty good recipes.
This weeks cocktail, included in those recipes, is a Ward Eight. The Ward Eight is purported to have originated at the famous Locke-Ober Restaurant in Boston circa 1898. It's a classic made of rye, grenadine, some juice and sweetened with a touch of sugar. It was named in honor of the 8th ward of The City of Boston, which reliably supported a particular candidate for office.
I think it somehow even more relevant to The New Brunswick of today as the city just defeated a referendum that would have changed the form of governance from an at-large city council to one based on ward-specific elections. The people spoke and democracy was affirmed once again in our fair city. Toast with a Ward 8 this week.
The Ward 8 will be offered in Catherine Lombardi at a 33% for an entire week, beginning Friday evening. We're experimenting with this new week-long format. Our Cocktail Launch Party will still be Friday. Hors d'oeuvres will be passed until 9 PM and the most tasteful cocktail enthusiasts of The Garden State will be in attendance, as is their custom.