Cocktail Hour!

Cocktail Hour!

Cocktail Hour!

Two of my favorite words! When I was younger, they meant Vernor’s ginger ale, or maybe a Jolly Roger, and Pepperidge Farm goldfish crackers. And sometimes, we got to join the grownups at their cocktail hour.  We’d sit, sip, and listen to conversations that we didn’t understand, just enjoying the pleasant sociability that was Cocktail Hour.

Recently, Ned, our daughter Biba and I were visiting friends in Connecticut. Biba has come to know and love Cocktail Hour, and she asked if we were going to have one that Friday night.

“Great idea!” our hosts replied, flinging open the sideboard where cocktail supplies were kept. “Fifi, you’re a bartender – how about you mix us some drinks?”

I peeked in and saw that there was a little bit of everything – but not really anything that brought a standard cocktail recipe to mind, unless it was bourbon and branch. I’ve been going through a Manhattan phase, and I did see a nice sweet vermouth, as well as a bottle of Bulleit bourbon. But I didn’t see bitters, and there wasn’t a maraschino cherry to be had. Ah, but I was craving the Manhattan. What to do… 

I opened the refrigerator, looking for something for Biba – and perhaps a bit of inspiration. Or cherries. A gleam of red caught my eye, and lo and behold! Cocktail hour was saved! A bottle of Foxon Park cherry soda! Hooray!

Foxon Park is located in East Haven, Connecticut and has been in business for at least 80 years. They use sugar in their recipes and have a wide variety of flavors, including Irn Bru, for the Scot in you.  (Oh, all right, they spell it Iron Brew.) It’s one of Biba’s favorites.

As soon as I saw the cherry soda, I got an idea. (Hey, it happens every now and then.) I decided that it was time for the birth of a new drink.


The 'StavenAnd so the Staven was born. (Staven is a local nickname for East Haven or West Haven.)

I decided to batch the drinks.  This will make three. Here’s how it goes:

Fill your mixing glass with ice. Pour in

  • 4.5 oz of bourbon
  • 3 oz sweet vermouth
  • A generous splash, (maybe an ounce?) of Foxon Park cherry soda

And now is when you have options.


Option one: Set your shaker on your mixing glass and shake shake shake! The soda will force your shaker and glass apart, but no matter; reset your seal and shake until icy. It helps if you shake over a sink. The shaking will take the fizz out of the soda, but not the taste. Serve in a stemmed cocktail glass, either V or bowl shaped. The glass should hold no more than 3 ounces.

Option two: With a long-handled bar spoon, gently stir the drink until icy.  I like to drag my spoon from bottom to top through the ice repeatedly. This will preserve the fizz, making a more sparkly version of the drink.

Raise your glass and say “Hotzy Batotzy,” as they used to do when I was young! 

What drinks have you ended up inventing?


Anne Stewart aka “Fifi Della Bon Bon”, world traveller and bon vivant, shares her love of people and alcohol in her USBG blog “All Over the Place WIth Fifi”.

This story was originally published on the USBG blog “All Over thePlace With Fifi” on March 13, 2013.  Used with permission from the author.

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