Wednesday, April 9, 2014

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Quaffing from the Tomato Tin

A gentleman of the tin can brigade
In the summer of 1889, the St. Paul Daily Globe in Minnesota published a tongue-in-cheek study of drinkers in bars — the self-important society man with his elegantly curved arm, the lady who drinks Champagne, the man about town with the latest gossip and news of the freshest scandals, the regular who drinks alone because he likes it and does so in silence, the “posers” who blow foam off their lagers…and this guy, the vaguely Irish, slightly simian tough who pinches stale beer dregs in a keg and…well, read on.

But peerless as she is and tempting as is the sight of beauty and wine, the lady thinks the liquid she is about to taste not with half so tumultuous and pleasurable anticipations as the gentleman of the tin-can brigade as he makes a fat find of stale beer in the discarded keg in front of the saloonist's door. Already provided with a cigar stump from the gutter, he has now made a discovery that to him is more than jewels and fine raiment. There is enough of the flat extract of hops in the keg to fill the can, and ecstasy— yes, unspeakable joy— is imprinted on his features. He has a withering contempt for cold victuals now, and he would scoff at champagne. Safely to the nearest alley will he hie him, and there alone and unaided will he engine in a Bacchanalian revelry that will not cease till the tin vessel is emptied thrice and again. He will attempt no style in drinking. He will simply hoist the can with both hands, and not until it has been replenished and drained many times will he sleep, to be awakened rudely by the policeman, who will hammer the soles of his feet with the stinging club.

St. Paul Daily Globe
July 28, 1889

Reminds me of the juice served at certain lowbrow bars — either as punishment or prize — consisting of all the spills that accumulate in bar mats, a sickly prank juice of commingled whiskey,  energy drinks, cordials, vodka, shot slops, deflated beer foam, melted ice, and whatever else didn't stay in the glass. 

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