1.5 Gloom Raiser

9 Nov

“Let me mix a Gloom Raiser!” Marian fluttered around the makings on the sideboard. She looked like a gorgeous flower in her cloth-of-gold pajamas. “I feel low”. Miss Blymm, who had already been secretly to the bar, demurred. “Aw, come on, Blymm, wipe your eyes and don’t act virginal. Surely you’ve learned to drink after all these years in the Leistner household.”

Fudi, Oriental, impassive, uncorked the absinthe, the grenadine, the gin, the French vermouth. While Marian measured, he disappeared into the kitchen and returned with the lemon peel.

— Jane Burr, Marble and Mud (Westport, CT, 1935), pp. 159-60.

“And thy God and his Church can alone raise the gloom / That covers the future, and curtains the tomb.” Thus spake the Reverend J. Bandinel,¹ but Robert Vermeire begged to differ. And so, in the dark days of 1915, when the man known simply as “Robert” was working at the RAC in London, he invented the Gloom Raiser, yet another variation on the martini. Now that the clocks have gone back and the sun is struggling to get out of bed in the morning, here’s something guaranteed to chase the shadows away.

Voilà, Robert’s recipe. He expressly says the ingredients should be “stirred up” rather than shaken.

2/6 gill of Dry Gin.

1/6 gill of Vermouth Noilly Prat.

2 dashes of Grenadine.

2 dashes of Absinthe.

Squeeze lemon peel on top.

— Robert, Cocktails: How to Mix them (London: Herbert Jenkins, n.d.), p. 31.

That works out, roughly, as: 1.5 oz of gin, 3/4 oz of vermouth and 1/2 teaspoon each of grenadine and absinthe.

The drink evidently caught on: within 5 years it was already being mentioned on the West End stage:

Eric : Let it be a Gloom-Raiser.

Nadine: There’s no more absinthe, I fear.

Eric: Then a Champagne-Cobbler.

— Ronald Firbank, The Princess Zoubaroff : A Comedy (London: Richards, 1920), p. 36.

Not to be confused with the Gloom Chaser, an entirely different kettle of ball games involving Grand Marnier, Curacao, lemon juice and grenadine).

¹ “Remember Thy Creator in the Days of Thy Youth”, The Churchman, vol. 5 (1841), pp. 762-3 (p. 763).


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