A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from April 06, 2009
Mamie Taylor (cocktail)

The Mamie Taylor cocktail was named after an 1890s opera star. The non-alcoholic Horse’s Neck cocktail contained ginger ale, ice and lime juice; the Mamie Taylor added whiskey. The 1940s-1950s Moscow Mule cocktail is the same cocktail (with vodka substituting for whiskey) as a Mamie Taylor.

The Mamie Taylor cocktail is said to have been invented by bartender Bill Sterritt of Rochester, New York, in 1899. A 1900 newspaper article, however, said that the drink had been served in Texas for 30 years under the name “The Scotch Lassie.” The Republican Convention of 1900 was held in Philadelphia in June and the Mamie Taylor cocktail became nationally known there.


The WikiTender
The Mamie Taylor consists of Scotch Whisky, Fresh Lime Juice, and Ginger Beer. also known as a Mayme Taylor.

Recipe
2 shots Scotch Whisky (Blended)
juice from 1/2 a fresh lime.
Ginger Beer (to taste).
Squeeze the lime into a tall glass filled with ice, and then add the Whisky; finally, add Ginger Beer to taste, remembering that this is meant to be a long drink.

Origins of the Mamie Taylor
The Mamie Taylor was invented in 1899, Rochester NY, for Mamie Taylor; the bartender may have been Bill Sterritt.

Historical References
“The News”, 5th July, 1900

“The latest hit on these hot days is a nice cool “Mamie Taylor.” They are delicious.”

21 June 1900, Wilkes-Barre (PA) Times, pg. 7:
MAMIE TAYLOR.
Mostly Ginger Ale, With a Little Scotch
and a Bit of Lemon Peel.

A correspondent writes to the New York Sun to ask what are the component parts of the drink which seems to be popular in Philadelphia just now, and is known as the Mamie Taylor. The only William, who holds forth in Broadway opposite the post office, and is an authority on liquid delights, said this about the Mamie Taylor yesterday:

“The Mamie Taylor is not new. I used to mix them years ago, but they went out of fashion, and have only recently been taken up again. A Mamie Taylor is a long drink of ginger ale, with a little Scotch whiskey and a bit of lemon peel in it. It is a very simple drink and very cooling in the summer. it gave way to the “Whisper of he Forest,” and the “Murmer of the Shells,” both excellent summer drinks, but it appears a though I would have to get my hand in on Mamie Taylors again, for since those politicians began to drink them in Philadelphia, there has been a steady demand for them here.”

William does not know the origin of the name of the Mamie Taylor, but thinks he can find out by consulting some of the old records from which he wrote his first book on mixed drinks. If he does find out he has promised to let The Sun know.

15 July 1900, Mixer and Server, pg. 7, col. 2:
“MAMIE TAYLOR.”
(Philadelphia Special New York World.)
A New York man has introduced a new drink to Philadelphia; at least, he says it’s new.  It is concocted of cracked ice, Scotch whisky, the juice of a lime and a bottle of ginger ale.

The New Yorker invited Edward Green, of Texas, son of Hetty Green, to sample it, remarking as the statesman from Texas tasted it: “That’s the newest drink out.”

“Probably it is in New York,” said Green, “but they have been using it in Texas for 30 years.  We used to call it ‘The Scotch Lassie.’ What do you call it.” “A ‘Mamie Taylor’,” said the New Yorker.

23 January 1901, Baltimore (MD) Sun, pg. 6:
The most recent addition to the already long list of American mixed drinks appears to be the “Mamie Taylor,” evidently so called from one of the fair sex of that name.

It is simply compounded of whisky and ginger ale in proper proportion.

11 February 1901, Logansport (IN) Pharos, “Here’s a New Drink: ‘Barkeeps’ Have Named One After Mrs. Carrie Nation,” pg. 7, col. 5:
The publishers of “The Barkeeper’s Guide: or, How to Mix Drinks and Keep ‘E,m Mixed,” do not mention the new cocktail, nor do they know what in the world should go into thye mixture. They think the “Carrie Nation” is merely a companion piece to the “Mamie Taylor,” but with a tough of Kansas bitterness to it and made of liquors a trifle more antique than those used in the blushing youthfulness of “Mamie Taylor.”

Chronicling America
9 December 1901, Salt Lake Herald (Salt Lake City, UT), pg. 4, col. 2:
The man who invented the “Mamie Taylor” cocktail is dead. There are many who will rise to call his memory “bleshed.”

16 December 1901, Los Angeles (CA) Times, pg. 8:
The inventor of the Mamie Taylor high-ball is dead. It is also in order for the architect and builder of the Carry Nation cocktail to get on the sick list.

8 May 1904, New York (NY) Times, “Spring Fashions in Drinks,” pg. 14, col. 5:
One of the first of the new hot weather drinks to make its appearance, and one which promises to rival in popularity the famous Mamie Taylor of a few years ago, was introduced at the Hoffman House a few nights ago by a politician well known on the race tracks. He calls the new thing a Flora Zabelle, after the black-eyed little actress in “The Yankee Consul.”

The Webtender
Subject:  Moscow Mule Article
From:  Thinking Bartender
Posted:  Mon Jan 1. 2007, 21:07 UTC
Followup to:  “Re: Was the Moscow Mule invented in NYC?” by Adam (Tue Dec 12. 2006, 05:30 UTC)

http://www.thinkingbartender.com/bartenderthinking/2007/01/moscow_mule.html
Moscow Mule.
By George Sinclair.
(...)
Some people might think that mixing vodka into ginger beer is not that exciting, and they would be right, but is it original? Other spirits had already taken their turn being mixed with ginger beer, one such spirit was Scotch Whisky; this ginger beer and whisky drink was named a “Mamie Taylor”, after the famous opera singer. While the Mamie Taylor might be virtually unknown today, in its time (1900-1940) it was very well known; featured in newspapers no less. The Mamie Taylor is not just similar to the Moscow Mule, disregarding the alcoholic spirit used for one moment, it is exactly the same. The Mamie Taylor was more than just Scotch Whisky and Ginger Beer, it also included the juice from half a lime, which is exactly what a Moscow Mule includes.

A piece of circumstantial evidence that might help sway you to my way of thinking, regarding the vodka-isation of the Mamie Taylor, is the fact that during the initial marketing of Smirnoff Vodka in the US, by the Heublein company, it was marketed as “Smirnoff White Whiskey. No Taste. No Smell.”.

Pittsburgh (PA) Post-Gazette
Spirits: Long-lost Gin Buck gets most bang from ginger beer
Thursday, August 07, 2008
By Bill Toland, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
(...)
Here’s another one—the Mamie Taylor, named after a New York opera company prima donna. It’s the same drink, but for gin you substitute Scotch, whose sharp flavors are masked by the lime and ginger.

Unlike the buck, this one can be traced to a bar in Rochester, N.Y., and to a bartender named Bill Sterritt, who is said to have invented the drink in 1899 (though a 1900 cocktail magazine suggested the Mamie Taylor may have been “invented” 30 years after the Scotch Lassie was—different name, same drink, but from the Deep South).

The two drinks are so vitally important to cocktail lineage because they are the forefathers of the Moscow Mule—vodka, ginger beer, lime and Angostura bitters—the cocktail in a copper mug that single-handedly introduced vodka to the American palate in the 1950s.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • (0) Comments • Monday, April 06, 2009 • Permalink