This homage to the US Marine Corps sports blue curaçao
Fourth of July is coming up. So let’s pursue some happiness, shall we?
And what better choice than the Leatherneck Cocktail? It honors the US Marines – who played a starring role in America’s war of independence.
Back in the day, the Marine uniform included a high leather collar. So “leatherneck” soon become a nickname for Marines.
That collar was uncomfortable – very stiff and rough. But its namesake cocktail? Comfortably smooth. And just stiff enough.
Recipe: The Leatherneck Cocktail
The Leatherneck combines blended Canadian whiskey with blue curaçao and lime juice. There aren’t many other good cocktails that use blue curacao, BTW. One of the best known (and best tasting) is the Blue Hawaii.
We discovered The Leatherneck while reading Ted Haigh’s Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails. We use his recipe here.
This recipe takes about 5 minutes to prepare and serves 1.
- 2 ounces blended Canadian whiskey (see Notes)
- ¾ ounce blue curaçao
- ½ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
- garnish of lime wheel (very optional)
- Place all ingredients (except optional garnish) in a cocktail shaker half filled with ice. Shake vigorously until the contents are well chilled (20 seconds or so).
- Strain into a cocktail glass (preferably one that has been chilled). Add garnish if you wish (we usually don’t) and serve.
- This drink is traditionally served “up” in a cocktail glass. But we often serve it over ice in a rocks (Old Fashioned) glass.
- A lime wheel is the traditional garnish for this drink. We don’t think it adds much, so we generally don’t use it.
- Speaking of lime, you might want to experiment with the amount of lime juice – a bit more or less may be to your liking.
- Canadian whiskey is usually rye-based. The most popular brands blend rye whiskey with neutral grain spirits. The addition of grain spirits goes back to Prohibition days, when US demand for Canadian whiskey escalated beyond the capacity of Canadian distillers. They added neutral spirits to keep the alcohol level of their product up while extending their stock of rye whiskey.
- Because of the grain spirits, most blended Canadian whiskeys have a mild flavor. It’s a taste that many people like – and the flavor really shines in this drink.
- Popular brands of blended Canadian whiskey include Crown Royal, Canadian Club, and Seagram’s 7 Crown.
- You can use rye instead of blended whiskey in this drink. In fact, we often opt for that because we like American ryes.
- Most curaçaos are either clear or amber (think Grand Marnier, which is a premium curaçao). Blue curaçao was invented by Bols, a Dutch distiller. It gets its distinctive hue from dye. The color is unlike anything in nature, which probably explains why it’s not used in many drinks.
- In the US, the Fourth of July holiday commemorates the day in 1776 when the United States Continental Congress formally adopted the Declaration of Independence. But hostilities had broken out in 1775, and the nascent country already had fighting forces in place. The Continental Marines had been established on November 10, 1775.
- The Marines were created as a naval infantry force. In the early days, they typically served as onboard security, in addition to providing small-arms offense during ship-to-ship battles. The high leather collar of their uniform was designed to protect from sword blows.
- So how did The Leatherneck Cocktail come to be? It was created in 1951 by former Marine officer Frank Farrell, who served in the Pacific theater during World War II, where he was awarded the Silver Star for valor. Farrell was a journalist before the war, and later became a columnist for the New York World-Telegram.
“Mmm,” said Mrs Kitchen Riffs. “Think I’m ready to storm the beaches.”
“Yup,” I said. “Good to have a stiff drink. Especially since we won’t be heading to the shores of Tripoli anytime soon.”
“Indeed,” said Mrs K R. “Travel plans are on hold. Which can make a blogger feel blue.”
“At least this pandemic has clarified our priorities,” I said. “Cocktails now figure more prominently.”
“So mix us another round, jarhead,” said Mrs K R. “We need to keep our honor clean. And uphold our reputation.”
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Blue Hawaii Cocktail
Fourth Regiment Cocktail
Betsy Ross Cocktail
French 75 Cocktail
Navy Grog Cocktail
Salty Dog Cocktail
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