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Feb 23, 2011 09:12 AM

COCKTAILS from the 60's???

Would love ideas to go along with all the input on the 60's Potluck thread.....
(can you tell I was not of cooking or drinking age in the 60'

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  1. Dry martinis, probably of the 4:1 variant. Mai tai. Old fashioned whiskey cocktail. Tom Collins. Prebyterian. You're pretty much good with anything that doesn't call for tequila or vodka.

    25 Replies
    1. re: jaykayen

      Actually - I was of drinking age then, and I did - martinis were creeping towards the swish-vermouth-around-then-discard abominations they soon became; I learned early on to ask for a WET martini. I was introduced to tequila in 1960 at my first USAF posting, a radar site in Oklahoma, and decided I liked it. Met vodka too, didn't hit it off …

      Brown liquor was most popular among the older people I knew, though the gin or vodka Collins generally appeared more often than Tom. Scotch and soda, Old Fashioneds, Manhattans, Gin Rickys and rum & Coke were what the table drank at night in the NCO and Officers' clubs, and at most bars in town as well. In Alaska, there was a practice of making the rounds of friends' houses on or around Christmas, and one became adept at driving on slippery roads while looking through a fog of Tom & Jerry or hot buttered rum. One charming gent, an airline pilot and the husband of my wife's boss, had as his signature drink the Rusty Nail (equal parts Scotch and Drambuie, on the rocks), of which he insisted on pouring me three …

      1. re: Will Owen

        I enjoy a rusty nail now and then, but would NOT want a 1:1 ratio; more like 4 or 5:1 scotch to Drambuie. Even if you like your drinks really sweet, 3:1 would be about as sweet as you'd want it.

        1. re: guilty

          I agree. I was not however mixing them that day. Had a major inner battle going between alcohol haze and sugar jag. Really glad I was driving on dry, non-slippery snow …

        2. re: Will Owen

          I'm 8.5 months pregnant and Rusty Nails are my absolute faaavorite cocktail. Thanks for the insane craving! ;). Only a few weeks to go...

          1. re: Will Owen

            Three, but how big were the glasses? Remember when a martini glass was a small glass? A highball glass was tiny then, too, comparatively speaking. A rocks glass was a little smaller than they are now. How do I know this? A friend from France was here and appalled at the size of our red wine glasses. We went antiquing together and she made a point of showing me sets of glasses from back in the day. They were probably older than the 60's, but I do remember the small martini glasses.

            1. re: sancan

              Cocktail glasses were much smaller in the 1960s than they are now. It was also fairly common to mix a pitcher of martinis to fill the glasses multiple times, thus keeping the drinks cold but with increasing dilution.

              What we now call a rocks glass was called an old fashioned glass in the 1960s. I still have a bunch of them from that period. They hold around 8 ounces. This is a nice size for a shot of whiskey over two ice cubes, which were generally larger back then. There was a larger (12-14 ounce) version called a double old fashioned glass, which was closer in size to today's rocks glasses but still smaller.

              Highball glasses ran about 8 to 10 ounces. Rickey glasses were around 6 ounces. In addition to gin rickeys, they were often used for Scotch and water or gin and tonic. The amount of ice per glass was a lot less than is used today. As the larger glasses became popular, so did dumping in a scoop of crushed ice or small cubes.

              1. re: Eldon Kreider

                "It was also fairly common to mix a pitcher of martinis to fill the glasses multiple times, thus keeping the drinks cold but with increasing dilution."
                Here's my martini pitcher, 'assembled' and 'disassembled'. I picked it up at an antique mall.

                The insert is filled with ice. The cover is for the insert. The insert sits snugly on the "seat"/ledge of the opening of the pitcher but the fit of the insert is such that when you hold down the knob of the cap and push backwards you can tilt the insert back slightly while tilting the pitcher forwards. You then pour the good stuff out with maximal "final" contact with the cold insert. Of course, you can pre-chill the whole thing (with martini already in the jug) in the fridge before adding the ice to the insert and bringing the pitcher out. :-)

              2. re: sancan

                I miss the small martini glass, not too keen on 4+ oz of liquor at a go as a cocktail.

                1. re: buttertart

                  I on the other hand consider a 4 oz cocktail to be the epitome of moderation; besides, if I'm making just ONE martini (as I usually do, always if it's just for me) it's so much easier to measure the components. If I were going to have several martinis of course I'd want smaller glasses …

                  1. re: Will Owen

                    I prefer the smaller glasses because I like to have a couple and the drink is colder because consumed faster.

                    1. re: buttertart

                      I have never had a problem drinking a jumbo martini before it gets warm. ;)

                      1. re: invinotheresverde

                        Some people are just blessed with talent... :)

                        1. re: Gail

                          My liver might disagree on the "blessed" part. ;)

                          1. re: invinotheresverde

                            nothing wrong with a small, but there IS a fine line between 3 and 8

                  2. re: buttertart

                    I still have a set of 4 small martini glasses that my parents used to use when they had parties back in the late 60's. I never use them, but just seeing them in the kitchen cabinet makes me nostalgic.
                    My mother used them for her grasshoppers and daiquiris at those parties. I can't picture them with anything but green stuff in them!

                    1. re: jmcarthur8

                      I was taken out for my 18th birthday (you could drink at that age) and had 8 of those suckers over the course of a long evening. 8 of today's and I'd be in hospital.

                      1. re: buttertart

                        Yep, I have grandma's circa 1900 cocktail glasses and a few vintage ones friends have picked up at antique stores for me. If they can hold 3-4 ounces I'd be surprised.. Then again, cocktails back then didn't have juices, sodas, etc--they were pure alcohol.

                        1. re: gaffk

                          Love this tangent--just happened in on this thread (again), and I happen to be drinking a martini from a cocktail glass I got from my grandmother--unfortunately I only have the one, but I'd say it holds about 4 ounces. It's where I turn when I'd like a drink but it's still light out . . .

                          1. re: guilty

                            Funny. A grandmother's cocktail glass can be used any time of day ;)

                            1. re: guilty

                              I love your grandmother!! Feel no guilt, we're back to early darkness.

                                1. re: Gail

                                  True that. I guess in darkness I feel more comfortable drinking a large goblet of alcohol. Plus I've been known to break glasses, and I'd like to keep this one as long as possible . . .

                    2. re: Will Owen

                      Your post has me chuckling Will Owen. ;-)

                      Though I was not around in the 60's I do love a good Manhattan on a cold winter evening after coming home from a long day of work.

                      1. re: marsprincess

                        Mrs. O became enamoured of the Sidecar a couple of years ago, and that got her started on old-fashioned-style cocktails, which is to say things with more complexity than a Cosmopolitan. This is why we have such things on the liquor table as Crème de Violette and elderflower water.

                        1. re: Will Owen

                          will owen - elderflower water?? I just bought a bottle of st. germaine elderflower liquore - what is elderflower water and how do you use it?

                  3. Side Cars, Harvey Wallbangers, Roy Roys, Grasshoppers, Pink Ladies, etc.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Linda VH

                      I could be wrong, but I recall that Harvey Wallbangers didn't really become popular until the early 1970s. However, a Wikipedia entry pegs the cocktail as having been invented in 1952. Anyone recall the HW as being popular in the 1960s?

                      1. re: Tripeler

                        Yes, I thought they were something from the 70s, too. it has vodka, after all..

                        1. re: Tripeler

                          My ex wife was working for Smith-Corona in L.A. during 1964. I remember her telling me then about discovering a great new drink called a Harvey Wallbanger that the bartender was making at a place near her work. By about 1966 the drink had become so popular that several inexpensive knock-offs of Galliano were being sold in liquor stores for the benefit of home bartenders.

                          And I don't remember a time in L.A. that vodka drinks were not popular. In the '50s & '60s people here were drinking Greyhounds and Screwdrivers while out on Catalina Island they were drinking Buffalo Milk.

                          1. re: Sam D.

                            I was thinking the same thing, we always had vodka at home at the time (in Ontario). Tequila, no.

                        2. re: Linda VH

                          I believe the Sidecar (my favorite) originated in the 1920's and didn't have a real resurgence until a few years ago.

                        3. Whisky Sour ... not many people order them anymore

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: redfish62

                            Definitely Whiskey Sours..

                            7 and 7s and daiquiris too

                          2. In So Cal late 60s it was all about big bottles of jug wine....throughout his life, even when he could afford better, my father did not understand why anyone would pay even $10 for a bottle of wine when you could get so much more for less money!

                            1. I remember being at family parties during the '60's when all the adults would have "highballs". Since I was too young to know what a "highball" was--I'm still intrigued by just WHAT GOES INTO A HIGHBALL??? I've always wanted to make these retro concoctions, but don't know what they are. I remember my mom and my aunts drinking "Brandy Alexanders" during these parties and other relatives walking around with Wiskey Sours. My uncles all got wasted on Scotch and waters. We're Irish.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: jarona

                                In my world of NY/Conn/Louisiana of the 196o's, highballs were usually scotch and some soda or rye whiskey and same. Rye was still the Drink Of Choice of the Brooks Brothers suits in Manhattan in the late 50's/early '60's, along with a Beefeater martini. Highballs were always served in a tall glass in my world. And Ballatine's scotch wsa was called "a ladies' scotch."

                                1. re: hazelhurst

                                  Thank you for that info on the highballs. I am actually going to make one when I go home. My 16 year old yellow lab has been put to rest this afternoon. I'm feelin' kind of low right now and a highball will suffice.

                                  1. re: jarona

                                    So sorry jarona. Yes, a cocktail (or two) is in order. Later, when you feel up to it, read Recuing Sprite by Mark Levin. You may not care for his politics, but he is to dogs what Paula Dean is to butter.

                                    1. re: Gail

                                      aw sorry jarona another book (for later) is A Big Little Life by Dean Koontz, it's a sweet memoir of his Lab.

                                      and a highball is really just the glass, you just go and put whatever in it you care to.

                                2. re: jarona

                                  Being old enough to drink legally for almost all of the 1960s, my experience is that highball was a generic term for a drink using some spirits, ice and a mixer in a tallish glass that was commonly referred to as a highball glass. The glass was smaller than a collins glass. Simply calling a drink a highball is hopelessly vague although some type of whiskey was most commonly used. Brandy was common in Wisconsin. The type of whiskey and/or brand needed to be specified unless one was in circles where a narrower choice was common. Blended whiskey was common although what it was called had regional variations for the same brand. In the Midwest the base was assumed to be bourbon while rye was assumed in the North East. Blended whiskey ranged from 40 to 80 percent neutral spirits, had much less flavor intensity than a straight bourbon or rye and usually had both corn and rye in the mash.

                                  Mixers varied from tap water to club soda to various soft drinks with ginger ale and lemon-lime sodas being popular. The Seven and Seven used Seagram's 7 Crown blended whiskey and 7 UP and is an example of a well-specified highball but one that I thought was too sweet with a blah taste.