Going Out? Don’t Forget Your Speakeasy Membership Card

Stork Club Speakeasy card

Actual Stork Club card from the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library

In the 1930s and 40s, the Stork Club — owned by the dapper Sherman Billingsley — was the hottest nightclub and restaurant in New York City. So when I clicked on Slate.com to find photographs of real membership cards to the city’s speakeasies, I nearly fell out of my chair. It’s pretty remarkable that some forward-thinking tippler managed to keep track of his cards and preserve them for posterity. But here they are, part of the rare manuscripts collection at Cornell University. Phew. Read More

What is a pousse-cafe?


From Jerry Thomas’ 1862 book, How to Mix Drinks

Popularized in the mid-1800s, a poussé cafe is a multicolored, layered drink taken as a coffee chaser. In French, poussé literally means “to push,” as in, to push down the coffee. The differing specific gravities of each liqueur keeps the layers separate, though you have to be careful to pour slowly over the back of a spoon to achieve the Missoni-like layered look. At some point, these concoctions must have been popular.

Read More