Strike’s Off Cocktail

Strike’s Off Cocktail
1/4 Lemon or Lime Juice. (3/4 oz Lemon Juice)
1/4 Swedish Punch. (3/4 oz Underhill Punsch)
1/2 Gin. (1 1/2 oz Plymouth Gin)
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

Created by Harry Craddock on May 12, 1926, to mark the end of the General Strike.

Maybe someone should have reminded Harry about the Biffy when he claimed to have made up this cocktail to commemorate the end of the General Strike!

Well, to be honest, “Strike’s Off” is probably a better name.

From the Wikipedia article:

The 1926 General Strike in the United Kingdom was a general strike that lasted ten days, from 3 May 1926 to 13 May 1926. It was called by the General Council of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) in an unsuccessful attempt to force the British government to act to prevent wage reduction and worsening conditions for coal miners.

All very complicated, economic conditions following WWI leads to worsening conditions for coal workers, culminating in the General Strike. Classes divided over whether to support the strike or oppose it.

The cocktail is actually quite delicious, in an odd, “who knew gin and swedish punch would work together” kind of way. I recommend it! In it’s other incarnation, The Biffy Cocktail, I actually served it a couple years ago for a Tales of the Cocktail presentation about homemade ingredients. Everyone seemed to enjoy it at the time, and it’s another sweet-tart favorite of Mrs. Flannestad’s.

But, hey, cool! A poem by Idris Davies about the strike was what Pete Seeger used for his lyrics for the song Bells of Rhymney.

However, I suppose, covered most famously by the Byrds on their album, “Mr. Tambourine Man”.

I guess all you socialist worker sympathizers know what to put on, while drinking the cocktail! Maybe grab the Billy Bragg box set while you’re at it, and make a night of it. You lived to fight another day. As for you big business fat cats, I doubt you need much of an excuse to light a cigar and celebrate the collapse of the strike.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

Hercules Redux

Received the following question in a comment:

“I’m curious about the ‘evidence’ for Hercules being a wine-and-herbal yerba-mate drink. Some years ago I thought I found ‘evidence’ that it was a very strong Welsh beer, ie: there was a brand with that name. Since then I have concluded that Hercules was a British version of absinthe, or possibly Czech absinthe bottled here. Vantogrio was certainly Czech. My guess is that it was a non-alcoholic anise-flavoured syrup. But Hercules just has to be strong…”

While there have undoubtedly been numerous products named Hercules over the years, I believe the evidence is fairly conclusive that the “Hercules” called for in Savoy Cocktails was neither an Absinthe Substitute nor a strong Belgian Beer.

Please refer to the topic on eGullet for the full rundown of the timeline of events and theories.

Hercules

Here are some of the ads which friends have turned up and scanned from various London publications, contemporaneous with the publication of the Savoy Cocktail Book.

From the Times, 1927:

From vol. 74 of the Strand Magazine, Jul-Dec. 1927:

From Harry’s ABC of Mixing Cocktails, ca. 1928:

From the Times, dated April 21, 1928: