You can lead a horse to firewater . . .

3 Jan

Country singer Smokey Dawson with his horse Flash at the Outback Bar at the Kingsgate Hotel, Sydney in 1974. Pic: Bob Finlayson, Daily Telegraph (Australia).

Patrick J. Farrell, assistant chief of the fire department and proprietor of a saloon in Bloomfield avenue, Montclair, NJ, has invented a new drink which, he says, is far superior to the highball, gin rickey, sherry cobbler, fishhouse punch or any other popular refreshment. He calls it the colic cocktail in recognition of the part a horse played in leading him to invent it. It is guaranteed to quench any thirst and to cure any colic. Farrell makes no secret of the way in which it is concocted.

“The recipe is very simple,” he said. “I take a little of everything in my saloon except my excise license and put it in the cocktail. Then it is shaken up well and makes a blend that is simply unequaled. It ought to be good because it meets the requirements of any sort of a thirst except one for tea, coffee or water. They may be added if necessary. That is one of the beauties of the colic cocktail. It is elastic.”

Peter, a sorrel horse owned by L.H. Henderson, a local drayman, was first to manifest appreciation of the new cocktail. Pete was in front of Farrell’s place the other day and seemed on the verge of falling. Many amateur veterinarians made suggestions, but it remained for Farrell to diagnose the case and deal with it.

“That horse has the colic,” he said. “Wait a minute. I’ll mix him up something that will cure him.”

He entered the saloon and for five minutes was busy jumping from bottle to bottle, jug to jug and keg to keg. Then he went out and served the dose to Pete. The horse took a taste, winked at Farrell, gulped down the cocktail, kicked up his heels and tried to run away. It was an instantaneous cure. Half an hour afterward Henderson drove Pete through the same street. When he reached Farrell’s place he balked, hunched himself as though in a paroxysm of pain and began to stagger in the shafts. Farrell ran out with another colic cocktail and warned Henderson to keep the sorrel away in the future.

“If that horse becomes a drunkard, I don’t want to be responsible for it,” he said.

— “A Colic Cocktail”, New York Press, repr., in Hartford Courant, 12 September 1911, p. 12.

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