Gin is Made for Varlets
“A dashing young yachtsman sang a dainty French melody, taught him by a peasant girl at Biarritz; another member of the party told a story with a droll climax. All drank to the life that hurried past. Ultimately, everybody at the table became more or less heated, except Tom Ray. He was cool, contented, unflushed.
A member of the party called a waiter, then turned to Tom Ray and made this suggestion: ‘‘I say, dear fellow, invent us a new drink.’
‘Great idea!’ said another. ‘Make this night historical.’
‘I’ll think it over, and send you a suggestion,’ Tom Ray replied.
‘No; we want it this minute!’
‘If you insist, I will impart to you a secret I have long cherished; I will give you a friend’s inspiration that is infinitely better than any of mine. Let me have a talk with your head-waiter.’
After that conference, a bowl of finely cracked ice was brought and three bottles of liquor—all chilled. The labels had been removed, to highten [sic] the mystery of the concoction. Taking the bottles, one at a time, Tom Ray filled a goblet to the rim and turned the contents into the bowl of ice. Three liquors, in equal proportions. A waiter then stirred the compound until it smoked with cold. The ice was then removed with a strainer and the drink was served in tall cocktail glasses.
‘No questions are to be asked or answered until every glass is drained,’ Tom insisted. ‘I believe you will like it.’
Every man stood to his guns.
‘Excellent!’ said they all.
‘Superb!’ commented Tom Ray. ‘I may say this, because it is not my invention. The receipt is: Equal parts of French and Italian Vermouth and Plymouth gin !’
‘‘Yes; the juice of the juniper berry!’
‘Gin!’ exclaimed everybody present—in doubt, because the taste was completely hidden.
They never had tasted a common drink.
‘Certainly,’ replied Tom Ray, firmly. ‘What could be more appropriately associated with this wonderful club?’
‘But gin is made for varlets,’ somebody stammered.
‘By tradition, yes,’ was the answer; ‘but a drink like this is fit for the gods of Olympus.’
When an opinion was uttered by Tom Ray, the final verdict had been rendered.
‘Give it a name!’ shouted several voices when the delicate after-taste began to develop on their palates.
‘I christen it with the name of its inventor, Mr. Oliver, of the Stock Exchange,’ added Tom Ray, taking up his glass, after all the others had been refilled. ‘I name it The Oliver Cocktail!’”
On a Margin by Julius Chambers, 1884.