...I learned from watching cartoons. So says Eric Felten in today's Wall Street Journal (sub req):
Having grown up in a dry household, my first introduction to the concept of the cocktail came, as so much essential cultural knowledge does, by way of Looney Tunes. Saturday mornings in front of the tube, I learned the basic cartoon conventions -- such as the understanding that gravity kicks in not when Wile E. Coyote goes off the edge of a cliff, but only when he looks down and realizes it. Also among the animated verities: Mixed drinks are outrageously potent, and their debilitating effects kick in (like gravity) only after a comic pause.
The instance I remember best comes from a 1951 cartoon, "Drip-Along Daffy," in which the duck and his sidekick, Porky Pig, try to whip a lawless Western town into shape. Sheriff Daffy steps up to the bar and orders a bracer, only to find himself challenged by outlaw Nasty Canasta to join him in his "usual," a mix of cobra fang juice, hydrogen bitters, and Old Panther. ("Panther-sweat" -- and other panther-related fluids -- was Prohibition slang for rot-gut whiskey.)
The bartender dons a welding mask and asbestos gloves, and grips the bottles with iron tongs. He assembles the red, yellow and purple concoction, which fizzes and pops with atomic instability. Canasta glugs his down with no worse effects than a little flip of his cowboy hat. Daffy fobs his off on Porky Pig, who enjoys the drink, at which point Daffy demands another and tosses it back. Comic pause. Daffy and Porky, now glassy-eyed, both burble nursery rhymes.
I happened to catch said cartoon about a month ago and that scene is a classic. Felten goes on to describe another cartoon cocktail, although he refuses to endorse it:
Not that such limitations stop the series' production company from doing its best to control the cocktails its characters have contrived, such as Ned Flanders's version of the classic Planters Punch. To get permission to use an image of neighborino Ned pouring Homer a Flanders Planters Punch, the "Simpsons" rights shop required that we print the drink recipe exactly the way Ned describes it to Homer -- "three shots of rum, a jigger of bourbon, and just a little daberoo of crème de cassis for flavor." Alas, the drink just isn't that good according to the original Flanders specifications. Also, as a lampshade-crowned Homer discovers, the pour is dangerously over-generous. I couldn't in good conscience recommend it.
Fanders Planters Punch
3 shots of rum
1 jigger of bourbon
a little daberoo of crème de cassis for flavor
Combine with ice in a tumbler.
Sound like a JB concoction. And a pretty darn goodily-oodily one to me.