Re-lighting the Lamps


"The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime" British Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey remarked to John Spender, then-editor of the Westminster Gazette in 1914. Britain was on the verge of taking the long drop off of a cliff into the dark with it's entry in WWI, and, indeed, Grey was correct about the lamps going out... for a time. The Armistice did eventually come to Europe after more than 41 million deaths, and she began the slow excavation and reassembly of her cities and countryside... only to more thoroughly smash them to bits again, two decades later. All wars end, somehow, and WWI finally crawled to it's conclusion 99 years ago today, on Armistice Day.

It's been just a few days over a year since Donald Trump was elected President of the United States, and, for many, it's felt a little like the lamps have slowly been going out all over this country. But Democrats in Virginia had an exceptionally good night this week. The odious Alabama bigot, Roy Moore, may see his public political career coming crashing to an ignominious end, and so, I wanted to celebrate the end of this week, and the end of The War To End All Wars with a cocktail. Many have suffered, but millions have not died, our cities are standing and, in fact, thriving, and we can breathe a sigh of relief that this administration's incompetence seems to greatly overpower it's malice.  

Personally, I'm a big fan of WWI-era simple cocktails, like the humble Daiquiri, and the mainstay El Presidente, but I wanted something a little more complex that has some of the hallmarks of these beloved classics, along with being a bit more modern. I settled on the Old Cuban, created by Audrey Sanders of New York's Pegu Club. The lime, simple syrup and Smith & Cross give you a taste of the guns of August, but the champagne and mint preserve some key, distinct differences. 


From the exceptional Modern Classics, by the indispensable Martin's Index of Cocktails:

  • .75 oz lime juice
  • 1 oz simple syrup
  • 6 whole mint leaves
  • 1.5 oz brown rum (in this case, Smith & Cross)
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • 2 oz Champagne (or, in this case, prosecco, because I Am A Very Fancy Person)
  • Amarena cherry and a plastic sword (for garnish and swashbuckling with a mouse)


Muddle lime juice, simple syrup and mint leaves in a mixing glass. Add the rum and bitters, shake well with ice, and strain into a cocktail glass. Top with prosecco, garnish with an Amarena cherry, if you like, and remember that the lamps won't stay dark forever. 

andrew disneycocktails, wwi, rum