Commander Livesey’s Gin Blind Cocktail

z baker 2Charles H. Baker, Jr. had been everywhere. He went deep sea fishing with Earnest Hemingway. He drank with William Faulkner. He knew bartenders from Tokyo to New York by their first names. He would polish off half a fifth of booze a day and lived to be 92.

This playboy man-of-the-world from Zellwood, Florida, met his future wife and drinking companion, Pauline Paulsen, heiress to the Paulsen Mining Company fortune, on a cruise where he was employed as the cruise line’s publicist. He no longer had to write to survive, he could write for pleasure.

With ports of call in Cairo, Bombay, Manila, Singapore, Panama, and just about anywhere else you can think of, he circumnavigated the globe more than once in collecting his recipes for food and drink, publishing the results in magazines like Esquire and Gourmet. He eventually published them in book form, a two volume set titled The Gentleman’s Companion. In his uniquely Baroque style, he wrote of his adventures all over the world and of the “interesting people” he met along the way; many of them bartenders. Originally published in 1939, one will find many of the old standards of mixology as well as a plethora of interesting variations.

During a stop in Bombay, he and his wife were entertained by Commander Livesey of His Majesty’s Royal Navy where they were introduced to his Gin Blind Cocktail with the caveat: “We don’t prescribe this just before target practice.”

1 ½ oz London Dry Gin

½ oz Cognac

¾ oz Curacao

Dash or two of Orange Bitters

Sir with ice until cold and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Orange peel garnish optional.

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Pauline Paulsen Baker

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Baker with Ernest Hemingway