by Lesley Parilla, Field Book Project
As summer vacations begin, I’ve been thinking about how our collectors relaxed in the field. For me, this usually involves good food and drink. Luckily, this is also true for many collectors. Some have been kind enough to record details about their leisure time. Most references discuss food, but we have come across several relating to beverages. These have been found in the journals of collectors in the Caribbean from the early twentieth century, the age of the cocktail. Most of the drinks described are now well-known, like the daiquiri. However, we came across an original recipe in the journal of Paul Bartsch.
Photograph of Mollusks Exhibit, Conference on Future, with Paul Bartsch in foreground, 1927. Smithsonian Institution Archives, RU 000046, Negative No. 17887-E.
In honor of all our intrepid collectors, I have included the recipe below, so our readers can get a peak at the more relaxed side of field work. Paul Bartsch recorded it in the journal he kept during the Tomas Barrera Cuban Expedition, May 1914 (mentioned in my April 2012 post). According to the diary, the drink was an original concoction by locally hired staff, and greatly enjoyed by the participants. The recipe is intriguing in how specific several of the ingredients are, seeming to indicate not just the name, but also the location where it was made. Ironically, even with that level of specificity, I have not been able to determine the identity of all the ingredients. Maybe you’ll have better luck than me. Enjoy!
1 ½ glass of Agua diente
1 ½ glass Hector Cubana (Chapparra M. negreira Sen. C Habana)
½ glass Italian Vermouth
½ glass Dry Gordon Gin
2 glasses Water
Sugar to taste
Pinch of lemon peel
Shake with ice, and, like my beverage, consume with a receptive mind, to say nothing about the tummy. It may be added here that a bandage for the head in the morning would not be out of place, and an ice cap comes in mighty handy.
Page 19 of Paul Bartsch’s journal from the Tomas Barrera Cuban Expedition, 1914. Smithsonian Institution Archives, SIA2012-1778.