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What the World Needs Now is… A Dive Bar

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“The French 75 were a troupe of traveling circus performers, a sort of Vaudeville-era Cirque du Soleil who toured the Americas extensively by train in the 1930s.”

If you’ve ever wondered about the name of this exquisite cocktail, wonder no more. T. Cole Newton has the answer for you in his new book, Cocktail Dive Bar. Yes, I’m aware you may have heard elsewhere that the drink was named after French military artillery, a gun famed for its smooth but powerful action. Or that this drink was served to American doughboys in World War I before they went into battle.

But you have to agree Newton’s story is more entertaining—I mean, who doesn’t love a traveling circus troupe? It has the added benefit of sparing us thoughts of war while drinking.

Of course, Newton’s circus origin story is utter piffle—he made it up from whole cloth. (The drink is probably a nod to French artillery, but that’s another debate.) And that’s true for a lot of his other entertaining accounts of drink history—that the Aviation cocktail was invented by Orville Wright while piloting his inaugural flight in 1903; or that the Sazerac was somehow connected to an aristocracy of mole people descended from Atlantis.

A sound argument could be constructed that we don’t need another cocktail book—so many have been published in the past decade, and so many republish recipes for the same classic drinks over and over. But Newton’s book is an original. Not because of what’s patently fake, but because of what’s all-too-real.

But let’s start with the fake.

One of the things I’ve missed during the Great Bar Drought of ’20-’21 is bullshit at bars—especially dive bars. When the environment is right, and the drinks are flowing at the right pace, you’re either delivering bullshit, or receiving it, or both. Or possibly just eavesdropping on it—which may be the most fun of all.

I have no interest in joining the endless and fruitless debate over........

© The Daily Beast

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