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Remember the Maine, to Hell with Spain!

Any drink that commemorates an explosion is OK with me!

On February 15th 1898, in the dark of night, a blast ripped through the air in Havana. It was a huge explosion on the USS Maine killing 272 men. The blast was blamed on a mine, supposedly planted by the Spanish, that ignited her forward magazines destroying a third of the ship and putting her at the bottom of the harbor. In an event that foreshadowed the Gulf of Tonkin and the Iraq WMD’s, the sinking was used as a Causus Belli to start the Spanish-American War. The actual event is still shrouded in mystery and confusion as to whether or not it was just a convenient accident or an deliberate act of aggression, but aside from the American acquisition of Cuba, the Philippines, Puerto Rico and Guam, we also got a great cocktail out of the ordeal.

Most popularly chronicled by the cocktail writer and gadabout Charles H. Baker Jr., the Remember the Maine is essentially a tuned up Manhattan with the sweetness of Cherry Heering and the herbal zing of Absinthe. I thought of it recently after a trip to Heaven’s Dog, where they feature this drink and many others immortalized by Baker. When I got home I dusted off my copy of Jigger, Beaker and Glass and tracked down the recipe for the Remember the Maine. But I most preferred the recipe from St. John Frizell featured in this months Imbibe Magazine:

Remember the Maine
  • 2 oz Rye (Sazerac)
  • 3/4 oz Italian Vermouth (Carpano Antica)
  • 2 tsp Cherry Heering
  • .5 tsp Absinthe (St George Absinthe)

Directions
Stir all Ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry, and think of how grateful we are for having Guam.

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