élégance sans effort

 

“You resemble

the advertisement

of the man,”

she went on innocently.

 

“You know

the advertisement

of the man——”

 

Daisy Buchanan to Jay Gatsby,
The Great Gatsby

 

If Daisy Buchanan’s laugh is the sound of money, then a gimlet, well executed, is the color of it. It is just the thing when you are posing on a staircase or feeling a bit impoverished.

A 1928 description of the drink was: “gin, a spot of lime, and soda.” A 1953 description was: “a real gimlet is half gin and half Rose’s lime juice and nothing else.” Whatever your pleasure, the essentials are as follows:

 

* 2 oz. gin or vodka
* 1/2 oz. lime juice
* 1/4 to 1/2 oz. simple syrup
* Garnish with a lime

 

See ‘Comment’ for how all these disparate threads tie together.

 

 

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~ by eaesthete on 04/30/10.

6 Responses to “élégance sans effort”

  1. Joseph Christian Leyendecker (1874 – 1951), better known as J. C. was one of the pre-eminent American illustrators of the early twentieth century. Best known as one of the key players in modern advertising, he is credited with creating the iconic trade character known as the Arrow Collar man. Working with Cluett, Peabody, and Company (the makers of Arrow collars), Leyendecker proposed not just one ad, but an entire campaign. He helped them work out the look and feel of the “Arrow man” and was one of the first to demonstrate the creative genius of the power of branding.

     

    The original campaign, one of the most successful in advertising history, ran from 1905 to 1931 and bestowed the title of “The Arrow Collar Man” on the various male models who appeared in advertisements for shirts and detachable shirt collars, although it is rather well known that the real-life model was Leyendecker’s live-in companion, a Canadian named Charles Beach.

     

    So popular was the Arrow Collar Man that literally hundreds of printed advertisements were produced from 1907 to 1931 featuring him in all his iconic perfection. So well known did he become, that he not only received fan mail in the 1920’s, but was acknowledged by President Theodore Roosevelt as a “superb portrait of the common man”.

     

    I hardly think him common!

     

    What is especially interesting about the power of a personified image is the creation and publication of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s literary classic, “The Great Gatsby” in 1925, twenty years after the introduction of Arrow Man. In a pervasive act of sym-bolien, Fitzgerald juxtaposes the lives of the smart set in and around New York in the 1920s with the conventions of contemporary advertising. Moreover, because of this intervisuality illustrating clothing as defining personal image, the author suggests targeted social engagement, disguise, pretense or performance, and evokes the false yet powerful cliché, “clothes make the man.”

     

    In chapter 7 of the novel, Daisy and Tom Buchanan are with Nick Carraway, Jordon Baker, and Jay Gatsby in the Buchanan home in West Egg. Daisy is bored and wants to go into Manhattan. In a manner indicative to all present, including her husband, that she is in love with Gatsby, she says to Gatsby, “’You always look so cool…. You resemble the advertisement of the man,’ she went on innocently. ‘You know the advertisement of the man—‘”

     

    That man was none other than The Arrow Collar man as depicted in this glamorous image with its emphasis, not on the shirt or collar, but on an ideal. The ideal of the upper-class American man, at the same time masculine and refined.

  2. This is the blog mine wants to be when it grows up. Thanks again for the inspiration (Friday night gimlets are divine) and information.

     

    Lynne,
    Thank you for that very kind sentiment. I am truly touched. But know this: It was not always so.

    My first gimlet of the evening will be in your honor.
    tea

  3. Chère Suzanne:

    It is indeed a pleasure to see you returning to your cocktail swilling roots. The Gimlet is an excellent choice, simple but elegant, and (as you point out) requiring almost no effort. It’s too bad that the couple on the stairs aren’t holding a pair. The Vodka Gimlet has had a recent revival due to its freqent mention in the book “Julie and Julia”. Although Gimlets were shown peripherally in the film, they were never called by name. A Gimlet familiaris is made with Gin. Originally this was probably bathtub gin due to the cocktail’s birth during the roaring twenties (the lime juice helped cover the taste). Mathematically speaking: Vodka + sweetened lime juice = Vodka Gimlet (much like a Martini made with Vodka is properly a Vodka Martini).

    The 1953 recipe is an avenue I will not travel due to the inclusion of Rose’s Lime Juice. Now I have nothing against Rose’s except the sugar and the fact that it’s bottled lime juice. I don’t mind getting the carbos in the alcohol (they are, after all, a necessary evil), but I try to avoid empty sugar calories. Many Gimlet recipes insist on Rose’s, but unless you had your first Gimlet made with Rose’s at your mother’s knee, you shouldn’t mind a making a little substitution and using fresh lime juice. This gives you the option of forgoing the sugar or using your substitute of choice. As I write this I can catch a glimpse of some fresh limes on the bar… That’s all I have time for now; this writing has made me thirsty.

    — Utah Mixologist

    • Jim,

      Thank you for that wonderfully informative analysis on the properties of the Gimlet. I do recall the drink appearing in Julie & Julia. Frequently, in the book as the Gimlet was the cocktail of choice for Julie and her husband.

      I’m in complete agreement on FRESH lime. I remember reading somewhere that it was suggested that Rose’s either originated or claimed the Gimlet as its own in order to have it prominently featured in the drink, assuring their reputation and longevity.

  4. i adore this….

  5. Who would have guessed this is an ad campaign? It does look like it could have been lifted out of Gatsby. Interesting idea that Fitzgerald used the Arrow Man for his protagonist. In fact, had I been shown the illustration without the benefit of the back story, I would have put my money on a literary source, rather than advertising. But I guess they’re one in the same — at least as far as perception goes.

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