I love cocktails as well as airships, so here is a drink in honor of the elegant Pauline Charteris and the Hindenburg in happier days.
The Story of this Cocktail
As the Hindenburg approached New York on its maiden voyage to America, on the first of its many successful transatlantic flights of the 1936 season, the passengers learned that the Hindenburg’s bar had run out of gin.
The staff of Hindenburg was well equipped to cater to German tastes — a typical dinner was pork and anchovy meatballs in caper sauce — but less equipped to satisfy Anglo-American desires.
In the absence of gin, but with an abundant supply of kirschwasser, passenger Pauline Charteris reacted to the emergency with panache and improvised a Kirschwasser Martini to the delight of her thirsty companions.
Pauline then led her fellow passengers in singing a new song she had just learned in Nassau: “Mama don’t want no gin because it would make her sin.” [video of song by Count Basie].
Pauline was the 24 year old wife of Leslie Charteris, the author who created Simon Templar — better known as The Saint — and in honor of Pauline I have created the Pauline Charteris Kirschwasser Cocktail.
There is no reliable documentation of the ingredients or proportions of Pauline’s actual Kirschwasser cocktail aboard the Hindenburg, so I have created what is more of a tribute than a recreation.
The Pauline Charteris Hindenburg Cocktail
- 3 oz kirschwasser
- A tad less than 1/2 oz dry vermouth
- A splash of Grenadine
- Lemon peel*
(*A peel… just the oily skin… not a “twist” with the bitter white pith.)
Shake with ice, enough to make cold, but not enough to dilute too badly.
And remember, if things get too hot, JUMP!
(What? Too soon?)