There is no Waterloo whisky, no Bulge bourbon, no Yorktown cocktail, no Titanic tonic, but there is a war-named cocktail—“Remember the Maine”. Why a cocktail named for a ship that was blown up as a pretext for the Spanish-American War in 1898? Why a cocktail named after a suspicious event that resulted in the deaths of 258 sailors, three-fourths of the ship’s crew? Why a cocktail named for a ship’s destruction that ushered in the era of yellow journalism?
Beats me. Anybody know why?
The Maine was an outdated ship before she was launched in 1890 due to usual things military—a delay in construction and cost overruns, in this case nine years. In January, 1898, she was sent to the Caribbean to protect U.S. interests during the Cuban revolt against Spain. Three weeks later she exploded suddenly without warning and sank quickly, killing almost everyone on board. The cause and responsibility for sinking the Maine remained unclear despite official inquiries. Nevertheless, it was generally assumed that the Americans caused the explosion as a pretext to go to war with Spain on the side of Cuba.
Popular opinion in the U.S. for war with Spain was fanned by inflammatory newspaper articles that would become known as “yellow journalism”—the FoxNews of its day. The phrase “Remember the Maine, to Hell with Spain!” became a rallying cry for action. The war with Spain followed in short order.
Yellow journalism is the use of flashy and misleading headlines, followed by sensational stories that the folks atThinkQuest describe as “biased opinion masquerading as objective fact.” (Hmmm, that sounds like yellow journalism travels under a new name these days.)
In the case of the Maine, the New York Journal and New York World, owned respectively by William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer, gave the Maine intense press coverage. Both exaggerated and distorted any information they could attain, sometimes even fabricating “news” when none that fitted their agenda was available. For a week following the sinking, the Journal devoted a daily average of eight and a half pages of news, editorials and pictures to the tragedy.
Thirty years later there would be a cocktail created to “commemorate” the event.
Remember the Maine…The Cocktail
- ½ ounce absinthe
- 1½ ounces Bulleit rye whiskey
- ¾ ounce Carpano Antica Formula sweet vermouth
- ¼ ounce Cherry Heering
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- Chilled cocktail glass
As Brooks Reitz, an extraordinary bartender at The Ordinary restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina, makes it: Pour the absinthe into a chilled cocktail glass. Swirl it to coat the inside of the glass, pouring out any extra. In a mixing glass, combine the remaining ingredients with ice and stir well. Strain into the prepared glass.As Brooks Reitz, an extraordinary bartender at The Ordinary restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina, makes it: Pour the absinthe into a chilled cocktail glass. Swirl it to coat the inside of the glass, pouring out any extra. In a mixing glass, combine the remaining ingredients with ice and stir well. Strain into the prepared glass.