Classic cocktails — including Lord Baltimore Hotel’s Diamondback Cocktail — and vintage postcards mix deliciously in new book

Authors Diane Lapis and Anne Peck-Davis have merrily combined their love of vintage 1930s and 1940s colorful linen postcards with their appreciation of classic cocktails from the golden age of post-Prohibition drinking in their recently published book “Cocktails Across America.”

They have matched up such notable drinks as the Ramos Gin Fizz, Salty Dog, Sonja’s Sun Valley Sunrise, Palm Beach Special, Tequila Sunrise and the Daiquiri: E. Hemingway Special — among many others — with postcards from bars, hotels or cities, where they were created and from which they are lastingly associated with.

Local imbibers will be happy to note that the Lord Baltimore Hotel’s Diamondback Cocktail is included along with a wonderful late 1920s postcard showing the hotel’s facade and a busy Baltimore Street filled with vintage autos and streetcars.

They have also included a whimsical advertising poster “depicting a well-dressed turtle sporting a top hat, bowtie and cane. Its shell, naturally, is encrusted with diamonds,” they write. It was the handwork of Landy R. Hales, a Baltimore advertising artist.

The authors say the cocktail was created in the hotel’s Diamondback Lounge in the lower lobby, which could accommodate 100 thirsty patrons. The cocktail’s actual birth date remains unknown. It was, however, first mentioned in Ted Saucier’s 1951 book “Bottoms Up.”

The drink’s name, which is obviously a tribute to Maryland, is “Relaxing & Entirely Different,” extols Hales’ terrapin on the poster.

Now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for. The ingredients are as follows: 1 ½ ounces of rye whiskey, ¾ ounce applejack and ¾ ounce Yellow Chartreuse. Shake in an ice-filled cocktail shaker and strain over ice in a rocks glass.

No one knows when it vanished from the hotel’s eight-page bar menu, which in 1956 boasted more than “sixty cocktails, 113 different spirits, and fifteen beers,” the authors write.

A phone call to the Lord Baltimore the other day revealed that not only had they no knowledge of the Diamondback Cocktail’s prior existence, much less how to make it.


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