Don’t you hate it when you believe a thing to be true only to find again and again that you were wrong, have most likely been wrong your whole life and you have no one but yourself to blame? Yeah, me either. I have spent my whole life avoiding drinks topped with sparkling wines, but the more I make them the more I see that I was just buying into some hype. That I was hating on a whole class of drinks because I was told they weren’t any good, or not manly enough for a fella to drink. Well, they were wrong and I was wrong to listen and now that I know better, I am going to be better. So here we are, back with another sparkling wine cocktail, inspired by our success with the French 75 we decided to tempt fate, yet again, with a Southwestern riff on a champagne cocktail. So, join me as we stand and make the Lone Ranger.
I was a big fan of the Lone Ranger growing up. I am old enough that the tv show was still in syndication in the afternoon and you could watch the Tarzan & Lone Ranger Adventure Hour on Saturday morning. Funny, that we learned the William Tell Overture and how to properly scream like Tarzan at the same time, but it is what it is. All of those old shows are available now on YouTube. It gets a bit cringey at times, many of the characters attitudes range from outdated to straight up offensive when viewed through a modern monocle, but still the notions of honor and justice ring true. When I realized that Liam’s blood didn’t stir when he heard the opening strains of the overture, I set about to expand his education at once. It was fun going back through some of those childhood memories.
The Lone Ranger’s lore is fascinating, I won’t try to cover it all here, but I encourage you to do your own research. The story of the Texas Rangers is pretty cool on its own, Larry McMurtry wrote a couple of prequels to Lonesome Dove that explores this unusual time in American history and the niche that the rangers filled. Fans of HBO’s Watchmen series, may be surprised to find out that Bass Reeves, the first black U.S. Marshal west of the Mississippi, is considered to be an inspiration for the Lone Ranger legend. After all he wore a disguise, had a Native American partner, rode a white horse and gave out silver souvenirs to the people he met. Oh, and he was an incredible badass who brought justice to a lawless territory. Who was that masked man, indeed?
Of course, that’s the first thing we think of when we remember the Lone Ranger. Not his silver bullets, not his quest to avenge his fellow ranger’s deaths at the hands of Butch Cavendish, or even Hi-Ho Silver. It is his mask. So, why did he wear it? To protect his identity, obviously. He was supposed to be dead and if the Cavendish gang discovered he was still alive that would be bad, right? I mean if they knew he was alive, they’d try to kill him. Of course, they tried to kill him anytime they saw him anyway. Weird. Could it have been to remind him of his mission to avenge the deaths of his fallen brothers? I guess, it could have been. Of course, he had the silver bullets, made from their melted badges to do that and it doesn’t seem like you’d really need a daily reminder of your all-consuming quest. Maybe he was like the Dread Pirate Roberts and just found them terribly comfortable, but that seems less likely given the heat and all.
Some of the stories seem to indicate that he wore the mask to hide his identity in order to, get this, protect the people he cared about. In this scenario the mask was to keep the bad guys from learning his identity and taking revenge on his family and friends. It is a crazy theory, but the Lone Ranger’s mask wasn’t actually to protect him it was to protect others. I know. How would that even work? It is hard to imagine that he would ride across the desert in that hot, uncomfortable mask just to protect the people he cared about. Harder still to imagine that he rode into town, bearing the looks of judgment from the citizens, their scorn. Why does he hide his face? Is he a bandit, here to harm us? What is he scared of? Seems pretty far fetched that he would deal with all that discomfort and derision only to make sure his Mee Maw was safe from the consequences of him going unmasked. Alas, it was a different time and men were made of sterner stuff. As it turns out, some heroes wear masks. Ponder on that, while we make a drink.
Grab your tins and pop in 1 1/2 ounces of Mezcal, I went with Illegal Mezcal, because bandits; 3/4 ounce of fresh squeezed lemon juice and 1/2 an ounce of simple syrup. Shake with ice and double strain over a single large cube in a rocks glass, top with champagne or other sparkling wine, we used some cheap dry prosecco from Aldi. Garnish with a lemon peel and serve.
This drink is amazingly good, way better than I expected. See, you listen to my Lone Ranger story, learn about how masks work and you get a reward, a damned fine drink. The smokiness of the mezcal plays perfectly with the sour lemon and that hint of sweetness, then the bubbles just make it all light and airy. Super refreshing, super good. You should make this one, if you go in for that sort of thing.
I am going to leave you with one other gem today, something I remembered from long ago and had to go track down, to dutifully copy and paste it for you here. I don’t usually like to use long passages of other folks words, but this one might be worth the read. I think so anyway.
Fran Striker and George Trendle created a series of guidelines to the character of the Lone Ranger as they wrote the original radio show scripts, just to keep them on track . A shorthand they could use about him and how he would handle situations. It is fascinating to read in its entirety, but the part that really struck me was the Lone Ranger Creed:
“I believe that to have a friend, a man must be one.
That all men are created equal and that everyone has within himself the power to make this a better world.
That God put the firewood there but that every man must gather and light it himself.
In being prepared physically, mentally, and morally to fight when necessary for that which is right.
That a man should make the most of what equipment he has.
That ‘This government, of the people, by the people and for the people’ shall live always.
That men should live by the rule of what is best for the greatest number.
That sooner or later…somewhere…somehow…we must settle with the world and make payment for what we have taken.
That all things change but truth, and that truth alone, lives on forever.
In my Creator, my country, my fellow man.”The Lone Ranger
I wanted to share the whole thing, but there was one line that really struck home with me, “That men should live by the rule of what is best for the greatest number.” That is a noble goal, to take care of your fellow human. The Lone Ranger wore his mask to protect others, we can do that much, can’t we? Be a hero and put on your damned mask. As always, stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, kemo sabe.