I am going to St. Petersburg, Florida, tomorrow. Let the worthy citizens of Chicago get their liquor the best they can. I’m sick of the job–it’s a thankless one and full of grief. I’ve been spending the best years of my life as a public benefactor.
I once entered the bar of the Drake Hotel in Chicago where an ancient presided over a veritable American wing of glasses and bottles, and tried to explain that I wanted an Old Fashioned without fruit except the lemon. The Nestor of the decanters waxed as livid as a Marxist on May Day, smashed a champagne glass he was polishing and danced up and down on the duck-boards in an ecstasy of rage. ‘Young impudent sir,’ he screamed, ‘my hair is hoary –with eld,’ he added as an afterthought. ‘Man and boy I’ve built Old Fashioned cocktails these sixty years. Yes sir, since the first Armour was pushing a wheelbarrow in a slaughterhouse, and I have never yet had the perverted nastiness of mind to put fruit in an Old Fashioned. Get out, scram, go over to the Palmer House and drink.
Lucius Bebe in the introduction of Crosby Gaige’s Cocktail Guide and Ladies’ Companion. 1945.