Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Twentieth Century Cocktail

Twentieth Century Cocktail with lemon twist garnish

Named after the “world’s greatest train”

Back in the day, rail was the only way to go if you were traveling any distance at all. Trains were fast, reliable, and comfortable. From 1902 to 1967, one of the fanciest was the 20th Century Limited, which offered service between New York City’s Grand Central Terminal and Chicago’s LaSalle Street Station.

The 20th Century Limited aimed to attract high-income travelers. Women received flowers and perfume when boarding the train, while men got carnations. Passengers boarded and detrained on a crimson carpet that was rolled out for their exclusive use (that’s how the phrase “red carpet treatment” entered our vernacular).

At its height, the train offered an onboard library, a barbershop, secretarial services, and a superbly equipped dining car (roast prime rib, anyone?). It oozed sophistication and luxury. So it’s not surprising that in 1937, when British bartender C. A. Tuck invented a particularly complex and richly flavored cocktail, he named it after this celebrated symbol of excellence.

The 20th Century Limited made its last run long ago. But the Twentieth Century Cocktail is still picking up steam. So hop aboard for a sip of the high life.


Twentieth Century Cocktail with lemon twist garnish

Recipe: The Twentieth Century Cocktail

The Twentieth Century Cocktail is a bracing mix of gin, Lillet, crème de cacao, and lemon juice. You may not be familiar with Lillet, a French apéritif that combines wine with citrus liqueur (we used it in the Corpse Reviver Cocktail). But you probably know crème de cacao, a chocolate liqueur (we used it in the Brandy Alexander and the Grasshopper).

Crème de cacao has a very pronounced chocolate taste, so the toughest part of mixing this drink is getting the cacao flavor to balance properly with the other ingredients. IMO, you should taste just the barest undertone of chocolate in this drink. But your preference may differ, so feel free to (slightly) increase or decrease the amount of crème de cacao.

This recipe takes about 5 minutes to prepare, and serves one.

Ingredients
  • 1½ ounces gin (use “London” dry gin; see Notes)
  • ¾ ounce Lillet Blanc (i.e., white Lillet; see Notes)
  • ½ to ¾ ounce clear (white) crème de cacao (to taste; I generally use about 5/8 ounce, but the amount varies by brand)
  • ¾ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • twist of lemon for garnish (optional)
Procedure
  1. Place all ingredients (except garnish) in a cocktail shaker half-filled with ice. Shake vigorously to combine the ingredients (about 20 seconds)
  2. Strain into a cocktail glass (preferably one that’s chilled). Garnish with a twist of lemon, if desired, and serve.
Twentieth Century Cocktail with lemon twist garnish

Notes
  • When a cocktail recipe specifies gin, it’s usually understood these days to mean London dry gin—which also happens to be the type most commonly found in liquor stores. Any good name-brand dry gin will work well in this drink.
  • In addition to London dry, you might see Dutch or Belgian gin (sometimes called jenever or genever), which is made from malt rather than grain. There’s also Old Tom Gin, which has a sweeter taste. Both these varieties are harder to find than London dry.
  • Lillet comes in both white (blanc) and red (rouge) versions. The white is by far the more popular. Whenever you see a reference to Lillet, you can assume that the white version is what’s intended. I’ve never seen the red version used in a cocktail (and in fact, I’ve never tasted it).
  • Lillet has a fairly low alcohol content. So after you open it, be sure to store it in the refrigerator (it will oxidize less quickly that way).
  • As noted above, Lillet is an apéritif. Chilled Lillet served in a sherry glass or over ice makes a nice pre-dinner drink.
  • Crème de cacao is bottled as either a white (clear) or brown liquid. The flavor difference between them is very slight, and when mixed in most cocktails I can’t distinguish between the two. I buy the white version because most drinks that require crème de cacao are best made with that variety. You definitely want the white version for the Twentieth Century Cocktail—the brown would make the drink look rather muddy.
  • Every liquor store carries crème de cacao, usually in the section where they stock liqueurs and cordials. In the US, the most commonly seen brands (DeKuyper and Hiram Walker) cost around $10 or so per bottle. The flavor of these is acceptable, and their quality is decent enough.
  • If you don’t mind spending about twice that much for crème de cacao, Marie Brizard offers a good step up in quality and flavor (it also has a somewhat higher alcoholic proof). The Marie Brizard brand is what I use these days—the difference in flavor is worth the cost, IMO.
  • BTW, the word “crème” in crème de cacao means the liqueur has a creamy texture; there is no dairy in the mix.
  • When the 20th Century Limited began running in 1902, it took about 20 hours to complete the trip from New York to Chicago. But once the engine and cars become streamlined in the late 1930s, the journey required only about 16 hours. The train would leave New York at 6 PM and arrive in Chicago at 9 AM the next day. The return trip left Chicago at 3 PM and arrived in New York at 8 AM. (Time-zone differences account for the apparent discrepancies, in case you’re counting).
  • The 20th Century Limited acquired an Art Deco look in the 1930s when Henry Dreyfuss, an industrial designer, created an iconic, streamlined style for the locomotive engine and passenger cars. Dreyfuss was quite prolific, BTW. He also created designs for a Hoover vacuum cleaner, the Polaroid SX-70 Land camera, the Westclox “Big Ben” alarm clock, and several tabletop telephones (including the Princess). 
  • Right from its beginning, the 20th Century Limited captured the imagination of the traveling world. Many called it the world’s greatest train. It certainly was among the most famous. For an example of how it was viewed, see this December 1967 article from the New York Times
  • In addition to inspiring a namesake cocktail, the 20th Century Limited played a recurring role in popular films. In 1932, the train served as the setting for a stage play that later became a movie called Twentieth Century, starring John Barrymore and Carole Lombard. In the Paul Newman/Robert Redford film The Sting, some characters play a high-stakes poker game while aboard. But probably the train’s most famous appearance was in Alfred Hitchcock’s great 1959 film, North by Northwest. In that movie, Cary Grant’s character sneaks onto the train, where he meets a femme fatale played by Eva Marie Saint. The two share a table in the dining car, where Grant drinks a pre-dinner Gibson Cocktail (a martini with a garnish of pickled onion).

Twentieth Century Cocktail with lemon twist garnish

Two for the Road

“Wow, the 20th Century Limited was such a great train,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs.

“It was,” I said, taking a sip of my drink. “Right up there with rail icons like the Orient Express, which originally ran between Paris and Istanbul.”

“Or the Trans Siberian Railway,” said Mrs K R. “Which runs for almost 6,000 miles—most of them snow covered, I suspect.”

“There’s also the Indian Pacific, between Sydney and Perth,” I said. “It has the world’s longest stretch of straight track.”

“And don’t forget the Rocky Mountaineer,” said Mrs K R. “It travels through the Canadian Rockies. The scenery must be spectacular.”

“I’d really like to travel on that one,” I said. “It may be the closest thing we can get today to the excitement of the 20th Century Limited.”

“Sounds like fun,” said Mrs K R. “Think we’ll run into Cary Grant?”

“Well, if we do, we can buy him a Gibson,” I said.

“Maybe he’d prefer this Twentieth Century Cocktail,” said Mrs K R. “That Gibson brought out some dive-bombing crop dusters, as I recall.”

Who can argue with such logic?

You may also enjoy reading about:
Corpse Reviver
Brandy Alexander
Grasshopper
Aviation
Martini
Cocktail Basics
Or check out the index for more

132 comments:

  1. Good morning John ,
    The Twentieth Century Cocktail looks divinely delicious and I bet it taste even better . Just what I will need as the weather gets warmer .
    I will add this one to my collection . I have become very good at mixing drinks ;-D thanks to you . Thank you so much for sharing :) .

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    1. Hi Nee, this is totally delish! And with the chocolate, perfect for Easter. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  2. You have such a knack for creating the most irresistible cocktails, John. Too bad I can't enjoy any of them yet! But, come June I have a lot of catching up to do. This one is calling my name for summer sipping!

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    1. Hi Georgia, this is a particularly good one! I'll bet you can't wait until June for all sorts of reasons! And this is such an excellent warm weather drink. Thanks for the comment.

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  3. I would like to have hard copy of your cocktail collection! I was very disappointed wen I tried chocolate martini so I am always skeptical about chocolate cocktails. But looks like with lemon, it is a nice balance!
    Trains are awesome in my opinion. We should have more speed trains in the US!

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    1. Hi Ilke, chocolate can be tricky in cocktails! Although it's so nice in this one, and the trick is to put in just enough so you can taste it, but it might take you a moment to figure out exactly what flavor you're tasting! Thanks for the comment.

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  4. I love trains. I love cocktails. I will love this. Thanks for the introduction to this cocktail. I am not familiar with it! Cheers!

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    1. Hi Adri, this is such a great cocktail! Really good flavor and good looks. Plus the train association is so much fun! Thanks for the comment.

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  5. This post makes me so nostalgic. I love train travel. Being from Texas, I didn't ride on a train until I was well into my twenties and traveled through Europe. Then, living in England, the train was the only way to get from Nottingham to London and back (this one was the Midland Mainline at the time). Such great memories. I can just imagine how special it would have been back in the day to be dressed to the nines, sipping one of these in the dining car on your way to New York from Chicago.

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    1. Hi Karen, train travel can be so much fun, can't it? I've been on plenty of trains, but never in a sleeper car (the 20th Century Limited was all Pullman service since it was an overnight train). That must be fun! Thanks for the comment.

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  6. The drink sounds delicious (and looks gorgeous—great photography as always), but what really captured my attention was the back story. Train travel has been an important part of my life from childhood on. Happily, Amtrak still has evocative names: California Zephyr, Empire Builder, City of New Orleans... Granted, the service isn't as rarefied as the 20th Century Limited, but it's still (usually) a fun, relaxing way to travel.

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    1. Hi Terry, trains often do have great names! When I was a kid I always liked looking at train schedules -- the names were fun, and the routes were often quite interesting (great way to learn geography). And traveling by train is a great way to see America's west! Thanks for the comment.

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  7. Pour me a drink please. In India, trains were and still are a key to long distance travel. There are so many places that are no approachable by air and trains are the only way to go. A lazy journey, with a book and twisting, turning tracks. Memories of a lifetime ago.

    We have something called the Palace on Wheels that has a bar on wheels too.

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    1. Hi Ansh, the Palace on Wheels sounds delightful! I agree train travel is such a nice, relaxing way to go. Particularly when sipping one of these! Thanks for the comment.

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  8. I'm not much of a traveler; probably because I get anxious with both driving and flying and would rather not if at all possible. BUT Denver is constantly adding new routes to Amtrak and I'm going to plan a small trip this summer; mostly for the train trip! I think it would be relaxing and fun (focus on relaxing!). I will expect one of these cocktails when I board. :)

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    1. Hi Barb, sounds like a fun trip! I'm not sure if you'll be able to get one of these, alas. But pocket flasks aren't pricey, are they? ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  9. Hmmmm looks nice and refreshing, unfortunately full of alcohol. I've seen a non-alcoholic wine in Target the other day many be I should look for a non-alcoholic version for this cocktail :). Nice work and very nice pictures.

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    1. Hi Amira, alas, I don't think a nonalcoholic version of this would work. It'd be a fun challenge, though! Maybe I should see if I can come up with something. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  10. I love cocktails with gin in it...although I never heard of lillet...the sounds of this mixture just makes me want to try it.
    Hope you are enjoying your week John :D

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    1. Hi Juliana, Lillet is really nice stuff -- I like it all by itself. But it's better in this! ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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    1. Hi Lizzy, wow is the word for this! ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  12. Interesting flavors. Most intrigued by the hit of chocolate. Interesting....I love NXNW. Even took a graduate level class on Hitchcock and did my major project over NXNW. I am with Mrs. RF---I would love to run into Cary Grant aboard a train. Great post.

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    1. Hi Debra, wouldn't it be fun to run into Cary Grant on a train? Such a fun actor. This is a great cocktail -- definitely worth tasting. Preferably while watching NXNW! Thanks for the comment.

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  13. Such a gorgeous cocktail, I love the creme de cacao what a gorgeous addition - and with lemon truffle :D

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

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    1. Hi Uru, this is a drink I think you'd really enjoy! Chocolate and lemon can make such a fun combo, can't they? Thanks for the comment.

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  14. Your photos are spectacular, John! My favorite is the first although they're all gorgeous. Another delicious cocktail to try!

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    1. Hi Kristy, thanks for the kind words (and for taking time to comment). Cocktails are fun to photograph, but really tricky (all those reflections you have to deal with). Best part is drinking them!

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  15. I want the sip of the high life! I've waited all my life for this. :)

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    1. Hi Maureen, you deserve much more than a sip of the high life! Have a couple of these. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  16. Great drink and what a great history lesson! What fun it would have been to travel like that! And not only would it have been a luxury, imagine today what a luxury it would be in time alone! Thanks John.

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    1. Hi Abbe, yeah, carving out that much time really would be a luxury, wouldn't it? So many cocktails have such interesting history -- it's the main reason I like them (well, it doesn't hurt that they taste so good!). Thanks for the comment.

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  17. I admire a lot how great are your drink photos...This is no exception....so gorgeous!

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    1. Hi Denise, this tastes better than it looks! Loads better. ;-) Thanks for your kind words, and comment.

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  18. Receta muy buena te ha quedado lindo y delicioso su coctails,abrazos

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    1. Hi Rosita, this really is a good recipe. So much flavor! Thanks for the comment.

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  19. I totally loved your post. You created a mood. Very nicely done----

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    1. Hi Carol, glad you enjoy them! Thanks for the comment.

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  20. I've always had visions of hopping aboard a Pullman car and exploring the great west. Trains have always been a fascination with me, but, I must say, John, I have never heard of this most interesting cocktail. I have a wonderful book by James Porterfied titled Dining by Rail, I will have to dig it out and see if he included any food recipe for the 20th Century.

    Of course, I'd be quite content "luring" Mr. Grant with this drink in hand, lol...Thank you so much for sharing, John. I really enjoyed this post:)

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    1. Hi Louise, I know there are some menus for the 20th Century Limited on the interwebs if you do a search -- they're fun! This is a cocktail that's really worth getting to know. Preferably on a long train trip! Thanks for the comment.

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  21. John, you've become my go to place for new cocktail recipes. Love all your vintage recipes for spirits! I took a train trip from MS to NYC in the 80s and it was a great experience. It was after the height of luxury on trains but a fun trip nonetheless. Great post!

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    1. Hi Bill, train travel really is a great way to go -- no security lines, and no worries about having one of these beauties and driving! Thanks for the comment.

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  22. Hi John, very interesting cocktail drink. You're good in mixing cocktail. Thanks for sharing the interesting info, appreciate your effort that you put in each postings.
    Very spectacular pictures.

    Have a great week ahead,regards.

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    1. Hi Amelia, I must admit I do enjoy mixing drinks! So many interesting flavors and colors. Thanks for the comment.

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  23. It sounds like a fairy tale rideSuch a far cry from the cramped travel the airlines provide, sometimes starving, crapmped travel.....I truly wish the 20th century train is back..but meanwhile the cocktail will do. The pictures are just gorgeous!

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    1. Hi Minnie, train travel in the US isn't what it used to be, at least in most places. Too bad -- such a nice way to travel. Thanks for the comment.

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  24. What a delicious cocktail -- and love the history too. As you may already know, in Europe train travel is still very popular. I much prefer riding the trains (eve long-haul) then the pain of flying. Plus you can also enjoy a cocktail.:) Thanks for sharing John!

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    1. Hi Nancy, train travel in Europe and many other parts of the world is still really good (sometimes great). Not in the US, alas. Still, we can drink one of these and remember. Thanks for the comment.

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  25. I always love reading your post... the history is always so interesting. This drink also sounds really interesting and the pictures are great.

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    1. Hi Dawn, these really is an interesting drink -- worth trying sometime. Thanks for the kind words, and comment.

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  26. As always, a gorgeous cocktail! Now I'm curious about the taste of Lillet...I don't think I've ever had a sip :)

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    1. Hi Liz, Lillet 's flavor is kinda sorta a cross between white wine and white vermouth. Kinda sorta. Definitely worth trying -- it's lovely. And save some to make one of these! ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  27. this cocktail is a winner...spectacular clicks as always,thanks for sharing :-)

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    1. Hi Kumar, it really is a great drink. Thanks for the kind words, and comment.

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  28. Sure wish they would bring back the comfort of train travel because now a days, I would definitely choose train over plane. What an interesting cocktail. Have never heard of Lillet but it sounds like something I should pick up because I love apertifs. And while I'm at, some creme de cacao. I use to keep a bottle of it handy, but it's been quite a while. This cocktail looks like something I could get addicted too. Thanks John!

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    1. Hi MJ, plane travel really is the pits these days, isn't it? I avoid it whenever possible. Lillet is fun stuff -- it used to be very popular, but these days is less so. Really good stuff, though. And yes, this cocktail is kinda addicting. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  29. Hi John,

    Your posts are always with information and stories... A cocktail named world’s greatest train. It must be spectacular.

    Zoe

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    1. Hi Zoe, it really is spectacular! Lovely flavor, and it looks so nice. Thanks for the comment.

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  30. I loved reading your story about train travel long ago; it certainly was a very romantic and glamorous way to travel. As is the cocktail. It looks very pretty xx

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    1. Hi Charlie, train travel used to be so great! And still a good option in much of the world. Not the US, alas. So we can drink one of these, and remember. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  31. My husband was fortunate enough to go on an event aboard the Rocky Mountaineer. I would love to do that one day. In fact, I really think it would be great to ride trains everywhere in Canada the way they do in Europe. We rode trains everywhere through Italy and loved the convenience. But if we could ride in style, like this train offered, now that would be a treat. I can just imagine the wealthy being served a pretty swishy drink like this one. Just imagine.. no plastic cups! This looks so lovely and spring-like! I'd have one of those right now if I could:D

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    1. Hi Barbara, I always do think of this as a spring drink -- its flavor just seems suited to the season, IMO. How great for your husband to be on the Rocky Mountaineer! From everything I've read, that's an awesome train. Thanks for the comment.

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  32. Beautiful! I would have loved to have travelled in one of those trains...

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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    1. Hi Rosa, overnight train travel always seems so relaxing, doesn't it? I'd have enjoyed that too! Thanks for the comment.

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  33. ha!ha! thanks a lot for sharing your story. enjoy reading it.

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    1. Hi Candy, glad you enjoyed it! It was fun to write. Thanks for the comment.

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  34. I wish the 20th Century Limited was still around! I wouldn't mind flowers and perfume, I can't seem to get them any other way!! Train travel is fantastic. I was always fascinated by a The Orient Express. Of course, growing up I experienced British Rail, not quite the red carpet treatment but a great way to get around Great Britain. In India one year, my dad arranged a trip to the Taj Mahal and we did the entire trip by railway! For a youngster, that was great fun. Alas, no bar on that train ;)

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    1. Hi Nazneen, GB used to have a couple of stellar trains, I think, although they may have gone the way of the 20th Century Limited. Traveling by rail to see the Taj Mahal must have been so much fun! Thanks for the comment.

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  35. oooh, this is an interesting one! i can't quite imagine the flavor combination in my head, and i was thinking the same thing that you wrote: i bet it is rather difficult to get that creme de cacao to blend in correctly with the other flavors...i can totally see how it would go wrong if you didn't know what you were doing. although get it right, and i imagine it's brilliant. lovely recipe, thank you!

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    1. Hi Shannon, this is a really fun (and tasty!) drink. And getting it balanced is a bit tricky. But when you do? Wow! Really wonderful. Thanks for the comment.

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  36. I want to ride a train. And drink cocktails. I want one day of gentle glamour and ease. I want - the cocktail. (Did not know Creme de Cacoa came in clear...)

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    1. Hi Claudia, me too! The cocktail I can always make, but the train ride isn't so easy to come by. Thanks for the comment.

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  37. Such romance! I have done some Amtrak travel but I'm afraid it wasn't that glamorous. The dining car served mediocre hamburgers and sandwiches. And you could only order beer or wine. No flowers or perfume, much less a red carpet. I enjoyed my fantasies while reading your fun post. --Rocquie

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    1. Hi Rocquie, I don't think Amtrak offers anything all that interesting anymore. Although I've done the NYC -- Washington DC "high speed" train (before it was Acela) in first glass, and a steward serves you what is essentially airplane food. Back in the days when airplanes actually served food, that is! Thanks for the comment.

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  38. This looks fantastic and I could use about 10 them right now (in-laws "visiting"). ;) Train travel is the best (anywhere but here in the US though - sadness). We travel by train a lot when we're in Europe. The landscapes are beautiful, the seats are comfortable and it's usually quite economical too. So much better than flying. ;)

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    1. Hi Pamela, I don't even think about traveling by train in the US, although one of these days I should take it from St. Louis to Chicago (it's probably faster to drive, but you don't really need a car once you get to Chicago). It's not what it is in Europe, alas. Thanks for the comment.

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  39. I don't drink alcoholic drinks but this is a very tempting one. It is beautiful! Thanks for the great story and the information behind this. I always love reading your post.

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    1. Hi Holly, a lot of readers don't drink, so I always try to include some interesting info in the posts that will (I hope) entertain. And drinks are so pretty to look at, even if you don't indulge! Thanks for the comment.

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  40. Beautiful cocktail! BTW, I wish travelling was still as glamorous as it used to be. Planes, trains, whatever. It's become such a gross cattle call.

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    1. Hi Laura, isn't this pretty? And it tastes so lovely. Alas, lovely isn't a word we can apply to travel, at least in the US. Cattle call all the way. Bummer. Thanks for the comment.

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  41. This sounds so different - I really want to try one! Love the story behind it.

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    1. Hi Alyssa, isn't this nice? Loads of flavor, and I agree the story is really interesting. But then, so many cocktails have interesting stories! Thanks for the comment.

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  42. Here's a bit of trivia for you. When "older" recipes mention Lillet as an ingredient they mean Kina Lillet usually. Because in 1986, Lillet reformulated its famous digestif to a less-alcoholic and less-bitter version, removing the “Kina” from the name and marketing it as Lillet Blanc. When I see Lillet in old school recipes I often replace it with Cocchi Americano, said to be a more faithful flavor comparisin to the original Lillet. But I'll never know for sure because I'm (thankfully) far too young! GREG

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    1. Hi Greg, oooh, good trivia! I did know that Lillet used to be Kina Lillet and that they had changed it somewhat; didn't realize there was such a dramatic change, though. I should look for Cocchi Americano -- I've not had that. Great info -- thanks for that, and for taking time to comment.

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  43. Replies
    1. Hi Kristi, I used to rarely care for cocktail garnishes, but have gotten into them! Pretty. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  44. That is one classy looking cocktail. I can see how this was inspired by the great age of the railroads, when people still got dressed up to travel. Not like today -- LOL

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    1. Hi Carolyn, things really have changed in how we dress for travel, haven't they? Fortunately this cocktail remains so, so good! Thanks for the comment.

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  45. I always learn so much reading your posts!! Another great cocktail! Happy weekend!

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    1. Hi Ashley, isn't this a fun drink? And so tasty! Thanks for the comment.

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  46. I love the history behind this one, how fun. A beautiful looking cocktail too!

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    1. Hi Chris, isn't the history of this one fun? I love it! Love the cocktail, too. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  47. Tasty and refreshing shots with great philosophy underneath......
    unfortunately the ingredients is quite pricey and rare stuff here in Indonesia...

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    1. Hi Dedy, this is good stuff, isn't it? Sorry the ingredients are so pricey where you live! Thanks for the comment.

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  48. This is a fancy drink is reminiscent of fancy times. Hey, how come I don't get flowers or perfume when I board the trains in China. As a matter of fact I have to bring my own TP. I have never heard of this drink before and it is something that I must try as I have never had any of the drink components before except for the gin. Very interesting and sounds refreshing.

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    1. Hi Bam, yeah, and how come I never get a carnation when I boarded the NYC subway? ;-) Times were different then. Thanks goodness we have this drink to remind us of them! Thanks for the comment.

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  49. What an intriguing history and we can just imagine having this refreshing elegant drink on a scenic train ride. Cheers! J+C

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    1. Hi J+C, wouldn't this be a great refresher on a train trip? Or an airplane one, for that matter. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  50. A fantastic post, John. Just look at what we've sacrificed in our stampeded to reach our destinations. Nothing about modern day travel compares to the luxury of the 20th Century Limited. This is progress? With it's gin, this cocktail isn't for me but I sure wish I could take a ride on that train. Like Life, it's all about the journey. Thanks, John, for a fascinating post.

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    1. Hi John, travel really does stink these days, doesn't it? We've taken a huge step backward in many ways. But one of these can perk us up! Sorry about the gin, but if you ever get over your aversion, this really is a wonderful drink. Thanks for the comment.

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  51. I love your cocktail series, fun to read and a great fountain of inspiration for cocktail lovers.
    Is there any other liqueur that can replace Lillet for this drink?

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    1. Hi Daniela, alas, you pretty much need Lillet.You could try dry vermouth (maybe with a drop of Pernod), but the flavor profile would be off, I fear. Instead, I'd of substituting, I'd go to a well-stocked bar and ask them to make me one of these! Thanks for the comment.

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  52. I had to check out this amazing train. Wouldn't you have loved to be a passenger on that luxurious ride? Especially sipping another one of your delicious drinks!

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    1. Hi Kristi, it would have been so much fun to have taken that train! When I was a kid train travel was still pretty common, and I do remember that train (although I never rode on it). Fun times! Thanks for the comment.

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  53. This cocktail sounds quite intriguing, John and I love the reminder about how momentous rail trips once were. I've actually traveled by train a few times in recent years and I enjoyed it a lot. The most recent trip was on the Lake Shore Limited which runs from Chicago to Boston. There's a connection from that train to NYC in Albany - I don't think there is another, more direct train than that nowadays. We are thinking about a cross-country trip in a few years - assuming there are any trains left by then!

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    1. Hi Donalyn, a cross-country train trip sounds like a lot of fun! Hope trains still exist when you're ready (I suspect they will). Thanks for the comment.

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  54. I wish train travel were still more accessible as it sounds like a lovely way to see the country. Maybe someday I'll take a train trip and I'd love it if they gave me thick cocktail... I didn't think I liked gin until my husband starting making me the occasional martini (which I love), so I know I'd enjoy this drink.

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    1. Hi Amy, gin is funny stuff -- a lot of people don't think they like it (and may not, it they take it unmixed), but find when it's an ingredient in a cocktail that it's good stuff. And in this drink? It's good stuff! ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  55. oh yes, way back in the day. You know when I hear (and I love to listen to it) old jazz from the 40's & 50's, I swear it truly brings me back in time to a place where I truly believed I lived. Past life? Who knows, but the jazz was so good, you know?
    Cheers!

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    1. Hi Dawn, it's interesting the way things from beyond our time speak to us, isn't it? Past, present, future? It's all good, with one of these to sip! ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  56. Is there anything better than the romance of train travel? I remember that scene from North by Northwest well, and I must watch the movie again, now that I know where it was filmed.

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    1. Hi Beth, that movie never gets old, does it? This drink you can watch it with one of these in hand! ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  57. I like the sound of gin and cacao together.

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    1. Hi Caroline, it's a really interesting combo! You'll like it, I think. Thanks for the comment.

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  58. This just all screams romance to me! Thanks for the afternoon smile.

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    1. HI Pamela, isn't this terrific? Always happy to provide a smile! Thanks for the comment.

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  59. That is so interesting! I never knew that rail travel was so different previously... A library, barber and secretary!! Wow! I am going to have a go at this cocktail ;)
    Gourmet Getaways

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    1. Hi Julie, travel on a train like the 20th Century Limited was really an experience! Those days are largely gone, alas, but this drink is an experience we can all enjoy. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  60. A "bracing mix." I love it. I could use a drink like this today. We've had a long day with our little lady, and Ryan and I are both in need of an adult beverage!

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    1. Hi Monet, this is an excellent drink when you have "one of those days!" Thanks for the comment.

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  61. Dear John,

    This cocktail looks simple, sexy and seductive. Well done.

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    1. Hi Chopin, isn't this great? Looks wonderful, tastes better! ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  62. I like the sound of that train, and The Twentieth Century Cocktail sounds wonderful too! I can just imagine it being served back in the day. As for me, I've always dreamed of travelling on The Orient Express…I hope that one day I will :-)

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    1. Hi April, trains are fun, aren't they? And this cocktail is wonderful -- so worth trying! Thanks for the comment.

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  63. I can I'm not the only one that liked this post. It made me think I've missed something. There was a time I could travel first class and now those days are long gone and we have to take our shoes off at airports and get frisked. Different world now. The cocktail sounds wonderful and makes me want to go to the liquor store.

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    1. Hi Angela, the shoes at the airport thing is weird, isn't it? Definitely need one of these after getting through security! Thanks for the comment.

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  64. Love the sense of the cocktail as a bit of industrial/technological (and movie!) history. Wish I had the ingredients here in Pondicherry, but hey these virtual days food enjoyment is also just about unrequited pleasures :)

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    1. Hi Deepa, maybe someday you'll be in a place where the ingredients are available! And this drink is almost -- almost! -- as fun to look at as it is to drink. Thanks for the comment.

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  65. In Japan trains are still used to travel across the country (some prefer bullet trains over flight because of views from the trains). I enjoy reading the story, as always. Wished I had a glass of this cocktail in hand to enjoy your story... ;)

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    1. Hi Nami, I've never been on one of the bullet trains in Japan (I've never been to Japan!), but they're supposed to be wonderful. Thanks for the comment.

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  66. Hi John, you're very professional in cocktail drinks. 2 thumbs up for you. Great posting and learned a lots from you too. Always enjoy your very impressive photography.

    Best regards.

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    1. Hi Amelia, there's so much to learn about cocktails, and so many have interesting stories. Although I certainly enjoy drinking them, I even more enjoy their history. Thanks for the comment.

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