Pink Elephants, Then and Now

Well it looks like I am back in the publishing business. I’ve added another offering to my listA Guide to Pink Elephants, Volume 1, THE APP! What a thrill! It’s the original content from my first drink guide, but now people can use it on their iPad. I’ve already received rave reviews about its ease of use and design.

A Guide to Pink Elephants, Volume 1, the app

The App!

While playing with it on my iPad, it really takes me back to fond memories. Who knew this Milwaukee girl would be developing apps for the iTunes store?! After a friend tried the app, she was inspired to “Google” me. She sent me a link she found from the Milwaukee Journal, April 2, 1956. The article, which features me and my mother, says, “A Guide to Pink Elephants, cocktail and wine volume, leads all Rosen’s books as the best seller. One of their first books, it has sold three million copies. Appealing to both men and women, it attracts a large market. Many of the first books, according to Ruth are selling as well today as when they made their debut.” What a hoot! You know, I never did solicit that kind of press when I visited my folks back in Milwaukee, nor did my mother. I guess local papers just liked to feature small town people who make it ‘big,’ especially in what’s universally considered big—the Big Apple.

Pink Elephants will always be a personal favorite, and I have been asked often on how we arrived at the name. Pink Elephants was first used in print by Jack London in describing the delusion of an alcoholic in his novel—John Barleycorn—who would see pink elephants and sometimes pink giraffes on the ceiling. Some other colorful descriptions of that era came from prohibition from 1920 to 1933 in most states thanks to temperance pressure that made the sale of alcohol illegal in the US. That brought about descriptions of speakeasies, underground clubs where alcohol was sold, and bars whose customers were told to “SPEAK EASY” so that law enforcement officers would not detect their hidden establishments. There remains an upscale speakeasy at 21 Club in New York City, where it has resurfaced itself as an elegant intimate dining room, private event club, and bar. All enclosed by a concealed staircase leading to heavily armed doors which now remain open.

A Guide to Pink Elephants, Volume 1

A Guide to Pink Elephants, Volume 1, the original.

The book was designed for the somewhat clueless hostess whose home in the 50s, 60s, and 70s often had a bar in the living room. The living room bar and activities around it can be seen in many shows of old, (like Bewitched), where the hard-working executive husband comes home to find his gorgeous housewife adeptly pouring him a drink from the dry bar. My book filled a niche because “adeptly” making that cocktail simply wasn’t taught commonly. Often housewives made their own concoctions, for lack of directions and experience on making their husband’s favorite drinks. My book found its home in many real-life scenarios—it seemed natural for the well-equipped bar to have a book of instructions regarding mixed drinks next to the jigger glass, to measure and the shaker to blend the drinks.

My history of drinking started in the safe environment of home, and seemed quite natural to me. I must have been in my late teens. My father, who was a martini drinker didn’t have a very enthusiastic drinking partner in my mother. I, on the other hand, was very eager for new experiences including the cocktail hour where Dad unwound with his favorite drink. From a sip of Daddy’s martini, fast forward to my very own drink a half decade later, my parents felt that a learning experience might prevent disasters later. I guess the rationalization was effective compared with the case of my husband, the Chier method of drinking was a successful method. My husband grew up in a household where cocktails before dinner was not a convention. When a college fraternity boy, he did a modest amount of drinking. He was to be the best man at his friend’s wedding. At the bachelor party the night before the wedding, he drank SO much that he passed out and never made it to the wedding. He was so humiliated that he swore he would never drink again and he never did.  Two events two different outcomes. Doesn’t PROVE a thing except I was delighted that I always had a sober husband to drive me home after a party. It allowed me to experiment, taste, and enjoy cocktails to the fullest, as evidenced in my volumes one and two. I’ve tried every one of those recipes, they are like all my others—tried and true.

I was able to pay homage to my father in A Guide to Pink Elephants, Volume One, and I’ll share that recipe here–it’s the Martini Chier—Dry. The difference between this and my other two martini recipes is that this is a VERY dry Martini—hence, more Gin.
—Chiers.

The App: A Guide to Pink Elephants, Volume 1

The Cookbook: A Guide to Pink Elephants, Volume 1

SHARED RECIPE: Martini Chier—Dry

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