MxMoXXVI: Keep the Nose Up

Mixology MondayTwo years.

I hadn’t pointed it out earlier — thanks to all the other things I’ve been wrangling with lately, I kind of forgot — but this month marks the second anniversary of the launch of Mixology Monday (this month hosted by the wonderful Anna at Morsels & Musings). I’ll save the misty sentimentality for another post, but for now, let’s just mark the occasion by noting that bloggers keep coming to these things — more than ever, at last glance — and we’ve somehow managed to keep this little drink-blogging celebration in the air for two years without it plummeting to the ground.

Look out below!If only the same could have been said for the de Havilland Comet.

With a rush of hoopla and hubris that, in hindsight, harks back to that surrounding the Titanic, the Comet — the world’s first commercial passenger jetliner — entered service in 1952, making its maiden BOAC commercial flight from London to Johannesburg in May of that year. It sharply cut flight times, was a model of passenger comfort that can only be dreamed of in today’s era of nonexistent legroom and cattle-car conditions, and was so popular that the Queen Mother was an early passenger, becoming the first member of the British royal family to fly in a jet aircraft.

Van der HumCelebrating this launch — according to David Wondrich’s Killer Cocktails — was this sidecar relation, put together by Eddie “King Cocktail” Clarke at the Albany Club in London, and featuring the South African tangerine-and-herb liqueur, Van der Hum. Tart and fruity, these Comets go down fast.

Just like the winged ones did. Less than a year after commencing service, Comets started dropping out of the sky — metal fatigue, it turned out, a problem remedied in later models (and avoided by competing aircraft manufacturers), but by then the damage was done: the Comet’s reputation had taken a hit, and sales never completely recovered.

Fortunately, this Comet is still around:

Comet (adapted from Killer Cocktails, by David Wondrich)

  • 2 ounces cognac
  • 1 ounce yellow grapefruit juice (good luck finding yellow — I had to settle for pink)
  • 1/2 ounce Van der Hum
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters

Shake well with ice and strain into chilled cocktail glass.

Thanks for two years of Mixology Mondays, everyone; now head on over to Anna’s place to see what everyone else has been up to.

4 Responses to MxMoXXVI: Keep the Nose Up

  1. gilrain says:

    My god, man. You just had to go and expose me to yet another obscure liqueur, one I’ve never heard of, no less, and make me desire to add it to my already-overburdened shelves. I _just_ received my bottle of W&N Pimento Dram. Have you no mercy?

    No, but seriously. You only mention it in passing, as if it ain’t no thing. Where’d you get this stuff?

  2. Bunnyhugs says:

    Yeah, I’m also interested in the Van Der Hum.

    How different is it to a straight tangerine liqueur? I’m thinking something like the Marie Brizard Mandarine. I guess I’m wondering how heavy the herbal taste is.

    Mandarin and tangerine are the same thing, right? Or maybe they are subtly different? I thought it was a difference in size only.

    I saw a bottle of Van Der Hum in a South African shop. I didn’t pick it up though because I figured I had tangerine covered.

  3. Paul says:

    As much as I gripe about Washington liquor stores, occasionally they come through with a find. I picked up a bottle right here in Seattle, at the Fourth Ave. South location; cost, around $22. This was a while ago, so I have no idea if it’s still in stock, or (more likely) if it was a leftover from a case that had been special ordered.

    Good luck.

  4. Vidiot says:

    Wow. Amazing post — great description of a liqueur I haven’t heard about very much, and bonus appreciation of the de Havilland Comet — possibly this airplane nut’s third-favorite plane ever (after the Boeing 307 and the Caravelle, though the Super Connie needs to be in the top four or so too.)

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