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. 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. 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. 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. 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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