Midcentury Cocktails: History, Lore, and Recipes from America's Atomic Age
A delightful history of cocktails from the era of new interstate highways, sprouting suburbs, and atomic engineering
America at midcentury was a nation on the move, taking to wings and wheels along the new interstate highways and in passenger jets that soared to thirty thousand feet. Anxieties rippled, but this new Atomic Age promised cheap power and future wonders, while the hallmark of the era was the pleasure of an evening imbibing cocktails in mixed company, a middle-class idea of sophisticated leisure. This new age, stretching from the post-World War II baby boom years through the presidency of General Dwight Eisenhower into the increasingly volatile mid-1960s, promised affordable homes for those who had never dreamed of owning property and an array of gleaming appliances to fill them. For many, this was America at its best--innovation, style, and the freedom to enjoy oneself--and the spirit of this time is reflected in the whimsical cocktails that rose to prominence: tiki drinks, Moscow mules, Sea Breezes, Pina Coladas, Pink Squirrels, and Sloe Gin Fizzes.
Of course, not everyone was invited to the party. Though the drinks were getting sweeter, the racial divide was getting more bitter--Black Americans in search of a drink, entertainment, or a hotel room had to depend on the Green Book for advice on places where they would be welcome and safe. And the Cold War and Space Race proceeded ominously throughout this period, as technological advances alternately thrilled and terrified.
The third installment in Cecelia Tichi's tour of the cocktails enjoyed in various historical eras, Midcentury Cocktails brings a time of limitless possibilities to life though the cocktails created, named, and consumed.