Friday, April 24, 2009

Digressionary ...

... connections and a Friday Cocktail. 

This morning, whilst reading through Emily Eerdmans' Classic English Design and Antiques: Period Styles and Furniture, one of my latest acquisitions, I found the picture above. Interestingly, Ms. Eerdmans describes Charles Townley as the man in the middle sitting in a bergere by a pembroke table. I'd always thought he was the man on right with the dog at his feet.

Why do I care which of the men is Townley? Well, I'm from the same town as he and I went to school in what had been the grounds of his country house (see below, Townley Hall) and spent many a lunch hour, or late afternoon after school in the museum that had been his house. Still that place resonates with me and I visit every time I go back. 

Here Charles Townley was born in 1737, but in the Johan Zoffany painting above you see him surrounded by his collection of antiquities in his residence in Park Street, London, which had been built for the purpose of holding his collection. That collection still forms the core of what is the British Museum's Graeco-Roman collection.

I shouldn't be doing this as I'm on the wagon but in honor of times past here is a recipe for what possibly was the first cocktail. 

An Old Fashioned

In an old-fashioned glass, stir simple syrup to bitters and add about an ounce of whiskey and stir again. Add two cubes of cracked ice and top off with more whiskey. Twist lemon peel over the top and garnish with that lemon peel and a maraschino cherry. 

The older I get the more irritating that word garnish becomes. WTF would one want to add a maraschino cherry to anything? 

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