Magazine Article


Back Page: The Birth of a Cocktail

Back Page: The Birth of a Cocktail

This story does involve somebody by the name of Champagne, but in this case not "Champagne the Elder." It segues with the family of antiquity, known by the name of Pliny the Elder and Pliny the Younger. The latter was kind enough to write the life story of the Elder Pliny, who expired at the ripe old age of 56 (or thereabouts) not because of illness but because his curiosity had brought him in the proximity of mount Vesuvius at the time when the mountain was experiencing a major eruption. But back to the story.

There is this wonderful hotel that goes by the name of Wyndham Anatole. The hotel is known for its collection of art, not the least of which is the wonderful display of Bjorn Windblatt's ceramic sculptures.

A group of our industry's people are gathering at the hotel's famous Nana's Grill for dinner and the gathering point is the no less famous bar with the $4 million painting of Nana herself in the nude and reclining on a bedabout which later, dear readerabove the bar.

As I approach the bar I order a champagne cocktail, a not altogether unknown before-dinner drink in polite society, only to hear G. Champagne the Younger say: "and I'll have the same please!"

Not two steps behind The Younger strolls in another industry stalwart, who goes by the name of Bob Leidlein. Ignoring the ongoing, Bob pulls his five foot seven and seven eighths frame up to one of the bar stools and orders a Leidlein cocktail.

The Barmaid, professional as she must be, enquires what that may beeven offers to look it up in her book. To which Mr. Leidlein responds, "If he can have a Champagne cocktail, why can't I have a Leidlein cocktail?" Of course we all second his opinion and start a flow of suggestions as to what this Leidlein cocktail might consist of.

As Bob's current address is in the northern part of Minnesota we all agree that something resembling the look of windshield-wiper fluid may be appropriate. Those chilly Minnesota mornings give a worried look to even the most hardened blue eared Norwegian descendant!

The professionalism of the Barmaid starts to shine as she selects the blue Curacao as the base for the cocktail. My memory banks were deleted that evening so I do not recall what the other ingredients may have been, but if you, untiring industry traveler, happen upon the Wyndham Anatole hotel in Dallas, go up to the Nana's cigar bar and order up a Leidlein. It behooves industry members to keep a tradition going, or at least try to establish one. . .

At the beginning of the article I briefly alluded to the painting of the nude Nana. She is lying on the bed with a lock of her blond hair cut off and held in her hand. You are getting the gist of all the innuendos suggested by some of the art displayed at this hotel.

After dinner we returned to the bar, where the cigar smoking crowd was materializing, to enjoy the rest of the evening. To our surprise, this $4 million art treasure was in no way protected from the atmosphere, which included copious amounts of alcohol and tobacco fumes. Being part of the reproduction industry, we came up with some suggestions for the manager of the place. We thought that a reproduction of the painting, the copyright of which has long expired, could be digitally retouched to place a cigar in reclining Nana's hand instead of the ever so subtly suggestive lock of her golden hair. Some other artifacts present on the night table could be changed to more modern implements that would be imagined on the night tables of loving people of today's generation. This modified-modernized version of the famous painting could then be transferred to a canvas and rolled up in front of the original.

As news of this "new and improved" version would spread through Dallas, new crowds (or old ones to verify the rumors) would arrive to view the abomination/modernization of Nana. What more could a place of business ask for but a reason to fill all the seats in their house?

But here is the kicker: when the busloads of faithful art patrons arrive, the manager could in all seriousness, announce that this is their way to help preserve the original. The new canvas would be hanging in front of the original, protecting it from the environment, only to be rolled up and out of the way for those wanting to view the real thing. Thus several purposes would be served: help preserve the original art and in doing so, create interest in the modern technology allowing us to do this without affecting the physical well being of the original.

If nobody in Dallas is up to the task of making this suggestion a reality, and I know that just isn't so, some outsiders could get the job done! All I want out of it is to be invited to the "unveiling" party! To sit at Nana's bar with a wonderful fuming stogy in my hand, sipping my Leidlein cocktail, and watching the universe unfold as it is supposed toTexas style. . .