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Friday, July 17, 2009

The Violet Hour

Bernard DeVoto, American historian and author sure had a lot to say about booze in The Hour, first published in 1948, to wit: “This is the violet hour, the hour of flush and wonder, when affections glow and valor is reborn, when the shadows deepen magically along the edge of the forest and we believe that, if we watch carefully, at any moment we may see a unicorn."

I'll have what he's having.

For all I know, the hiccup of DeVoto's reverie may have been caused by one of the nearly indecent cocktails that used to materialize at Elettaria during their Violet Hour, the happy hour, when the highly skilled bartenders would stir, shake, rattle and roll with a fine precision that did indeed raise the spirits. The prices of certain drinks may have been slashed in half but I assure you, the liquor was in full battle, armed to the teeth.

Case in point: the Zombie Punch (1934) is an elusive, cryptic concoction concerning such things as Appleton’s VX, Brugal gold, 151 El Dorado Demerara Rums, Lime, Velvet Falernum, and Absinthe 14. After taking a bracing plunge into two once on a visit, I seem to remember having at least seen several unicorns, if not in fact the great Ark that left them behind, once upon a time.

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