Happy Canada Day to my friends up north and ex-pats living abroad! I am not sure how you celebrate this day when the provinces came together, but I hope it brings you joy and has at least a few quirky, but lovable traditions. Today, I wore my Squirrely Dan’s in solidarity and even had a piece of ham at lunch, but I called it bacon, because Canada. Just kidding, you know I love you guys and gals, seriously. If they’d let me across the border, I would be there with you right now, mildly befuddled by your Canada Day customs or lack thereof. But I am not, so Laura and I will celebrate with a cocktail from home. Join me as we stand and make, the classic Mary Pickford.
I know some of you are saying, why are you celebrating Canada Day with a drink named for “America’s Sweetheart”? Well, Mary Pickford was born in Toronto, Ontario. That is right “America’s Sweetheart” was Canadian through and through. I see some of you in the back are still confused, looking at each other quietly asking, who is Mary Pickford? I get that, you are young and probably not up to date on the silent film stars of the previous century. She was a huge star, appearing with most of the other big hitters of the times. If Charlie Chaplin was the king of the silents, she was the queen. Her star faded with the advent of talkies, I have always sort of thought that the movie “Singin’ in the Rain” paid an homage to her and that tricky transition as the film world changed. For the record, she did receive an Oscar for her first talkie “Coquette” in 1929. She just slowly transitioned behind the camera once talking pictures became all the rage. Anyway, she was cool… and Canadian.
I was surprised when I discovered this cocktail named for her. There is a whole class of prohibition cocktails where I swear they must have just discovered grenadine. I am serious, there is a whole time frame where every drink is some liquor, some juice and a bunch of grenadine. I want to hate on these drinks, but so far they have been pretty good. This one is weirdly tropical with rum and pineapple juice, but when I dug a little deeper it made perfect sense. It was, allegedly, created for Pickford at the Hotel Nacional de Cuba in Havana where she stayed with her husband, Douglas Fairbanks and Charlie Chaplin, in the 20’s. I had no idea. I have sat on the veranda at that hotel looking out over the water enjoying a few drinks, maybe a cigar. Carefully avoiding the creepy albino peacock, that had no sense of social distancing. I wish I had known about this drink and its history, so I could have had one there. Oh well, next time. So, let’s make it and see how it is.
Grab your tins and pop in 2 ounces of light rum, I went with Havana Club 3 year; 1 1/2 ounces of pineapple juice, 1/6 ounce of Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur and 1/6 ounce of Grenadine. Add ice and shake till your hands get cold, double strain into a chilled coup and garnish with a fresh cherry on a pick.
It is so delightfully pink. The rum pushes through nicely, it’s definitely tropical. More color than flavor from the grenadine. This is a good drink and I’m not surprised. I haven’t had anything yet from the Havana prohibition scene that I haven’t liked. This drink has got a lot going on, kinda like its namesake. In addition to her acting career she was a producer and joined with Douglas Fairbanks, D.W. Griffith and Charlie Chaplin to found United Artists, yeah the legendary studio that is still kicking out hits 100 years later. She was super active in social movements, helping to found several support groups for actors in a time before social security and retirement funds. She was also one of the 36 founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the folks who give out Oscars every year. Yeah, that Academy, the one I would like to thank. There you go, a cocktail created in Cuba for “America’s Sweetheart” who was actually born in Canada. Nothing is ever simple is it? It’s almost enough to drive a man to drink. I think I will go do that. Stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.