The recipe paper-clipped inside one of my grandmother’s cooking pamphlets sounds like a scientific formula: 6 orange juice, 4 ging, 2 vermouth, 1 lemon. Though I can’t remember anyone making this drink – much the name of it – I pulled out a measuring cup and cocktail shaker to test it out. In went orange juice, ginger ale, vermouth, and fresh lemon juice. Out came a bland, citrusy cocktail that needed more oomph. An ounce or two of ginger liqueur or vodka did the trick.
The recipe, typewritten of the back of a note pad from an insurance company in Richmond, Virginia, dates back to the 1930s. My family likely made it soon after prohibition ended in 1933. I imagine them raising a glass beneath my great-uncle’s bead-and-wire mobile and toasting to a good year. I gladly did the same.
Family Cocktail (1930s)
6 ounces (3/4 cup) orange juice
4 ounces (1/2 cup) ginger ale
2 ounces (1/4 cup) Vermouth
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) freshly-squeezed lemon juice
Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker and shake until well mixed. Serve over ice.