Saturday, July 2, 2016
CHOW is a new blog and video series exploring the history behind U.S. Navy culinary traditions. Read the first two entries here: S.O.S. and Navy Bean Soup.
By Matthew T. Eng
Well, it is officially summer. If the spiking temperatures and humidity here in the nation’s capital do not tell you what time of year it is, the abundance of mosquitos buzzing around your backyard barbeques will. If you are like me, you enjoy the refreshing taste and sharp bite of a cold and stiff drink on a hot summer’s day in the sun. In honor of summer, this next edition of CHOW will feature a classic summertime cocktail introduced into the United States by a naval office at the turn-of-the-century.
I think drinks are best served with a little bit of naval history. Here is the story behind the daiquiri.
A Simple Drink of Lemon or ‘limón: A Complicated Recipe
The daiquiri is not a complicated drink. Take a shaker of ice, fill it with blanco rum, some sour juice, a dash of sugar, and mix it. Serve chilled. Easy, right? That is apparently wrong. There is much more to this Cuban export than meets the eye, and the Navy plays a key role in its development.
The combination of rum, sugar, and lime juice was a well-known elixir of choice throughout the Caribbean in the 16thand 17th centuries. The concept of mixing fruit juice with rum is not lost on any naval enthusiast, either. During the 18th century, Royal Navy Admiral Edward Vernon ordered the daily rum ration be diluted with water and lime. This order served two purposes: British sailors would be soberer and abler to fight off scurvy with a hefty daily dose of citrus.Fast forward to 1898. Spanish American War. Cuba.
The origin story of the original recipe is as murky as the drink’s consistency. There are countless websites, blogs, and articles that detail their version of the recipe, all of which claim to be the “most accurate to the original.” The drink is not complicated because it’s creator, Jennings Cox, had little materials to make a fancy drink.
Legend has it that Jennings Cox, an American iron miner who came to the island in the wake of the American victory, was planning to entertain guests one night, only to realize he ran out of gin. With limited materials at hand, he bought a common island liquor (rum) to mix together with citrus juice, sugar, and a little bit of water. After mixing it, he poured it together with ice to make as a punch for his guests. His guests instantly loved it, and its popularity grew on the island.
Stories continue to surround exactly how he came up with the name “daiquiri.” The easiest explanation was that he named it after the town of Daiquiri where his mine was located east of Santiago de Cuba. Another story from the 14 March 1937 edition of the Miami Herald reposted by the blog “To have and Have Another” details a much more spontaneous origin:
Whatever story you believe, the drink eventually made it into the hands of a junior medical officer, Lucius W. Johnson, in 1909. Johnson and the crew of USS Minnesota were in Cuba touring the battlefields from the Spanish American War. The future Rear Admiral was introduced to Cox during a tour of the island’s battlegrounds. Cox was quick to introduce him to his favorite drink; which Johnson instantly fell in love with the refreshing drink. He explained his first encounter with Cox in detail in a 22 August 1952 edition of the Baltimore Evening Sun:
“One day a group of American engineers who had come into town from the Daiquiri mines were imbibing their favorite drink in this restful spot. It was one of those wonderful rum concoctions made from Ron Bacardi. A jovial fellow by the name of Cox spoke up. ‘Caballeros y amigos, we have been enjoying this delicious mixture for some time, but strange to admit the drink has no name. Don’t you think it is about time something was done to extricate us from this sad predicament?’ It was unanimously agreed that the drink should be named, without further procrastination.
There was silence for several minutes as each man became immersed in deep thought. Suddenly, Cox’s voice was heard again. ‘I have it, men! Let’s call it the “Daiquiri!”’ And so it was christened.”
Johnson was smart enough to know the drink had a future beyond the Cuban coastline. He brought several gallon jugs of rum home with him and introduced the drink to the Army and Navy Club in downtown Washington, D.C., which “scored an immediate success.” In fact, the Club staked its reputation on the cocktail throughout the early to mid-twentieth century. In 1984, the Club’s manager humorously remarked on the history of the drink in the New York Times, stating that they “feature it, but these guys will drink anything.”
“We were greeted by a tall, well-tanned man whose urbane and genial manner is still a pleasant memory [. . .] When we were pleasantly relaxed he prepared for us a drink which brought quick relief to our arid throats. He had put it together, he told us, to make the locally produced rum more agreeable to foreign taste. It had been christened Daiquiri in honor of its birthplace.
The drink was later introduced to the University Club in Baltimore and Army and Navy Club in San Francisco. From San Francisco, the drink made it to Honolulu, Guam, and Manila. The regional specialty from Jennings Cox was a global phenomenon in the Prohibition era. By then, additions to Johnson’s specifications brought over stateside had already made it a different drink altogether (i.e. the Ernest Hemingway version). The water was removed from the mix, and additional elements like bitters and sweet liquors were introduced. The daiquiri we know in contemporary America today is a bastardization of the original, often served as a frozen drink with more sugar and less alcohol. Any good British sailor of the 18th century would be rolling in their graves.And then there is the issue of the recipe itself. Most scholarly and secondary source research into the drink’s origins put it as a simple recipe that includes rum, ice, sugar, and lime juice. The concoction is then shaken together and served in a chilled or frosted glass. The drink is traditionally served this way at the Army Navy Club in its aptly-named Daiquiri Room bar. Lucius Johnson corroborated this recipe in a brief article that appeared in the Baltimore Evening Sun article:
Variations, however, exist. Through the research into the culinary history of the cocktail, the “original” Jennings Cox recipe for the daiquiri in special collections at the University of Miami library used the juice of a lemon, not a lime.
“Over cracked ice he poured two jiggers of rum, then added a level teaspoonful of sugar. Next he squeezed into each glass the juice of a lime, being careful to include some of the oil from the skin. The mixture was stirred gently and, in that humid climate, the cold glass quickly became frosted.”
This is unfortunately one of the only places to include this distinction. Despite the recipe card from Cox, online tutorials still use lime juice instead of lemon. The popular rum blog “The Rum Nerd” explains why the recipe card may be in error:
“One thing to note is that Cox says to use lemons, however as limes are abundant on Cuba and are commonly referred to as ” ‘limón” it’s probable he was referring to limes. The recipe as written is similar to that for Grog, the drink used to serve the daily rum ration to sailors of the Royal Navy, so adding lime and sugar to rum is hardly a great leap of logic.”
I wrestled over which citrus fruit to include. Lemon or lime? In the end, I decided to remain faithful to the recipe card and use a lemon. If you prefer to use lime as the “traditional” recipe, that is your prerogative. The following recipe serves 2-3 individuals, or one if you are particularly thirsty or in need to fight off scurvy:
1 Cup Blanco Rum
3 tbs. Lemon Juice (1 Lemon)
1 tsp. Sugar
1/3 Cup Water
The Taste Test
The original recipe is not as sweet and forgiving on the palette as the frozen versions I am used to drinking poolside in the summer. Upon first taste, I was struck by how sour the mixture was. The lemon juice cuts through the mix. Jennings Cox was right. Despite how sour it was, the lemon juice cut the harshness of the rum. The small portion of sugar hits the back of your tongue as a sweet note at the very end. Although the sheer amount of rum makes the drink still strong, it is a perfectly fine example of what a little bit of naval history can do to cool you down in the arid heat of the summer.
Try it yourself with a few of your friends and let us know what you think of it in the comment section below.
“Amid Many Daiquiris, A Club Closes,” The New York Times, January 2, 1984.
“Early Days of a Cocktail: The Daiquiri In Cuba and Baltimore,” The Evening Sun, August 22, 1952.
“Origin is Disclosed of Daiquiri Cocktail,” Miami Herald, March 14, 1937.
“Daiquiri Room,” ArmyNavyClub.org.
“Original Daiquiri recipe by Mr. Cox,” University of Miami Libraries Special Collections. (online)
Brian Petro, “Classic Cocktails in History: The History,” The Alcohol Professor. (Blog)
“The Daiquiri,” The Rum Nerd. (Blog)
Mark Jones, “The District’s Claim to the Daiquiri,” Boundary Stones (WETA). (blog)
“The Hemingway Daiquiri(s),” To Have and Have Another. (Blog)
“The Navy Doctor & the Daiquiri,” The Grog: A Journal of Navy Medical History and Culture, Spring 2011: 23.
The Battle of the Somme began on 1 July, 1916 – the deadliest day in the history of the British Army. Around 20,000 British Empire soldiers lost their lives that day and it was just the beginning of a battle that would be become forever associated with the horrors of the First World War.
Based on population modelling data, it’s believed that around 11 million Brits have a family member who fought at the Battle. But how many people really understand what their ancestors went through during the Somme offensive?
There are a number of collections available on Ancestry.co.uk which provide this context and can help researchers understand the role their ancestors had in the Battle.
The UK WWI Diaries 1914-1920 collection provides comprehensive details into British and colonial military operations and uncover some of the horrors of action on the first day of the Battle. According to the diary of the 10th West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales’s Own), which suffered the worst battalion losses of the day, troops assaulted in four lines, but the machine guns were “so deadly that the 3rd and 4th lines failed to get across “no-mans-land”. The Battalion saw 27 Officer casualties and 750 casualties of other ranks in just one day.
One of the most detailed diaries in the collection, belonging to the 7th Green Howards (Alexandra, Princess of Wales’s Own Regiment), tells of an “unfortunate mistake” by one of the commanding officers that saw many men fall victim to the German guns, when his company assaulted without the support of the battalion:
“As soon as they began to climb over our parapet terrific machine gun fire was opened by the enemy and the company was about at once wiped out. The survivors lay… some 25 yards in front of our wire until dark”.
Following a later “feeble” bombardment, “the battalion assaulted and were met by a murderous machine gun and rifle fire, officers and men were literally mown down and were finally brought to a standstill about half way across to the enemy trenches. 13 Officers and over 300 men became casualties in about three minutes.”
Records also reveal a number of famous names who fought at the Battle of the Somme, including the then-Prime Minister Herbert Asquith’s son Raymond, who was killed in action. His record in the UK, WWI Service Medal and Award Rolls, 1914-1920 collection reveals Asquith was awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal posthumously.
War poet, Seigfried Sassoon also appears in the WWI Service Medal and Award Rolls, 1914—1920 collection. Sassoon famously denounced the first day of the Battle of the Somme as ‘a sunlit picture of hell’ but despite his obvious discontent with his circumstances he, like Asquith, was awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal, as well as a 1914-15 Star.
Despite 11 million people being related to a Somme hero, and considering the horrors of the Battle, few people know much about it. As an introduction, we ventured into the depths of the National Archives with actor and historian Sir Tony Robinson to reveal five key facts people need to know about the Somme.
/ 3 hours ago
Salt Lake City, Utah, June 27th 2016 Leading family history website, Findmypast, has announced that they will be granting free access to over 1 billion records as part of a new campaign designed to help US family historians learn more about their earliest American ancestors. This will include free access to their entire collection of Immigration & Travel records, all US marriage records, and all UK, US and Irish censuses.
The campaign has been launched to coincide with this year’s 4th of July celebrations and will provide family historians with exciting new opportunities to discover the intrepid immigrant ancestors who crossed the Atlantic to start their family’s American story.
The campaign also coincides with the release of two new record sets that will prove incredibly useful to those looking to explore their family’s pre-American roots. Over 2 million US Passport Applications & Indexes (1795-1925), and over 7 million US Naturalisation Petitions have just been released in the initial phases of two brand new collections that will allow family historians to learn more about the first members of their family to become US citizens.
Over 1.1 billion records will be free to search and explore on Findmypast until July 6th 2016. This will include free access to:
· Over 106,000,000 US passenger list records
· Over 116,000,000 US marriage records
· Over 690,000,000 US & Canada census records
· Over 265,000,000 UK & Irish census records
· Over 10 million new and existing Naturalization records
· Over 1.7 million brand new US Passport applications
· Passenger Lists Leaving UK 1890-1960
· Over 827,000 convict transportation records
This vast collection of travel and migration records coupled with unique UK, Irish and US data, makes Findmypast the best place for tracing ancestors back across the Atlantic and uncovering their English, Welsh, Irish or Scottish roots. Findmypast is home to more than 78 million exclusive UK parish baptisms, banns, marriages and burials, the largest collection of Irish records available online (totalling more than 110 million), and over 100 million United States marriages including millions of records that can’t be found anywhere else online.
Ben Bennet, EVP of International business at Findmypast, said: “As we come together to celebrate the birth of our nation, it’s also a great time to discover and celebrate our ancestors who came here from lands far and near. Whether your ancestors walked through the hallowed halls of Ellis Island or arrived in one of the country’s other ports, Findmypast’s vast collection of records and resources can help you discover your family’s path to red, white and blue.”
James Tanner of Genealogy Star said: “Findmypast.com has proved to be an invaluable aid in connecting with my English ancestors. Not only are the collections helpful, but the searches have database features that help in more easily identifying ancestors with common names. The more I use the program, the more indispensable it becomes.”
To find out more, visit http://search.findmypast.com/search-world-records-in-immigration-and-travel
If successful, the Juno team will celebrate the culmination of a nearly five-year voyage to the giant gas planet to study its atmosphere and origins.
Oh, and it will be America's Independence Day, too. [Photos: NASA's Juno Mission to Jupiter]
Iran Used ‘Intimidation Tactics’ on American Sailors Navy investigation details detainment of American personnel, which violated international law
Iran used “intimidation tactics” when interrogating the 10 American sailors arrested in the Persian Gulf in January, according to a Navy investigation into the incident.
Members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp Navy interrogated the U.S. crewmembers individually to obtain information about U.S. forces, according to the declassified investigation findings released Thursday. Iran’s detention of the American personnel overnight on Jan. 12 violated international law and sovereign immunity, investigators concluded.
Details surrounding the incident, which has fueled efforts by Iran to embarrass the United States, have been sparse since U.S. Central Command released a preliminary timeline of the event days after the arrests. The newly released findings cast light on the events leading up to the sailors’ detention, as well as their treatment and interrogation while in Iranian custody.
“Interrogators employed intimidation tactics such as slapping the table, spinning the captive’s chair, or threatening to move them to the Iranian mainland; no crewmember was harmed,” the findings state.
Iranian personnel demanded to know what the U.S. boats were doing wading into Iranian territorial waters, where they came from, and “where their ‘mothership’ was.” The Iranians interrogated the crewmembers as a group and later individually interrogated seven of the 10 Americans in a separate room. The sole female crewmember’s interrogation was also recorded.
The Iranians asked questions about U.S. forces and also collected passwords to the sailors’ personal phones and laptops during their overnight detention.
“Crewmembers response strategies and actual answers varied; some were honest while others lied or played dumb,” the findings state.
Some crewmembers provided information such as their name, rank, and serial number when asked.
The Iranians gave food to the American crewmembers and attempted to film them when they began to eat.
While investigators found the American personnel to have been “derelict” in their duties and faulted multiple commanders for lack of leadership, they also concluded that Iran violated the sailors’ right of innocent passage under international law by arresting them at gunpoint.
Iran’s navy further breached the principle of sovereign immunity by boarding, searching, and seizing the boats, and replacing the United States flag with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps flag. Iran also violated the principle by detaining, searching, and video recording the American crews, investigators concluded.
Iranian state media have published images and video of the sailors in captivity, including pictures of one of the captured sailors appearing to cry during detention. A video released by Iranian state television showed one of the sailors, who was later identified by news sources as Lt. David Nartker, apologizing for entering Iranian territorial waters and thanking the Iranians for their “hospitality.”
The Navy investigation said the sailor was pressured by the Iranians to issue the apology. On the morning of Jan. 13, the crewmembers were “provided breakfast and told that they would be released if they cooperated,” the findings explain. The Iranians again filmed the Americans, instructing them to “eat and act happy.”
An Iranian interviewer gave a “script” to one of the crewmembers, whose name is redacted, and a uniformed Iranian “told him he had to apologize.”
The crewmember “reworded his responses to questions through several iterations,” the findings state. “The Iranians told him that the crews would not be released unless he answered exactly as told. Although there were no weapons pointed at or near him and he was not threatened, eventually [the crewmember] complied with the directions given and answered according to the script.”
After the completed interview, the crewmembers were blindfolded and escorted back to their riverine command boats, and were sent into international waters.
Investigators concluded that the crewmember failed to uphold the code of conduct by making the scripted on-camera statement.
In addition to Iran’s violation of international law, the Navy’s investigation documented the failings of the American crews and their leadership and recommended administrative and disciplinary action be taken against several American personnel.
Before the release of the investigation’s findings, the Navy had already relieved two commanders of their duties because of their involvement in the events. Service leaders told reporters Thursday that a third individual had likewise been punished and that six more could also be subject to disciplinary action.
Critics slammed the Obama administration for its response to Iran regarding the incident. Secretary of State John Kerry was swift to cast the incident as a diplomatic victory following the sailors’ release, thanking Iran for negotiating their freedom.