William Schmidt wanted to be an individual.

Hard for a man named William to be distinguishable, even in the 1890’s.  This is why William went by the moniker William “The Only William” Schmidt.

This is just the kind of turn of the (other) century nonsense I love.

Schmidt was a connoisseur of Lady Liquor, and he wanted to extend his brash, experimental individualism into the world of fine drinking.  He has long been considered the godfather of modern mixology, taken to traveling his glass down any kooky road he could find until he reached a beverage he could stand behind.

A lot of times it ended up with either crap, such as red wine + rum + vanilla ice cream (sounds great.  Isn’t.), or with a recipe that I would have no idea if it’s good or not because such ingredients don’t anymore exist, such as gin + creme de roses + tonic phosphate (+ a Dodo embryo).

But a fair deal of these drinks are tasty and revolutionary.  And they all come out of “The Only William”s (HE IS THE ONLY ONE!) 1891 booze tome, “The Flowing Bowl.”


From Mr. Schmidt’s suggestion, I made “The Delicious Sour,” one cold (52 degrees) LA evening.  I made it because I wanted an old-timey drink, and also because I had all the ingredients at home and didn’t want to go out to the store.  It was nippy!

“The Delicious Sour” involves two ounces of Applejack (oh, Applejack…you taste even less like apples than Apple Jacks), two ounces of fruity brandy (I used cherry), an ounce of fresh lime juice (I used bottled), a teaspoon of sugar (I used a tablespoon accidentally-on-purpose), and 1 egg white (I got most of it on my fingers.  Heading to “Top Chef” I am not.).  Shake all that in a drinky-drinky shaker with ice.  Then (do I really have to tell you this) pour it into a highball glass.

I wonder if one day, in a dark and lazy moment, I’ll drink straight out of the shaker?  I look forward to that day.  Top it off a splash of tonic or soda water.

What a lovely bit o’ foam you get.  I’ll have to look more into this egg whites business.

Cheers, Billy Schmidt!  You were far from the Only William, but you make a hell of a libation!

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Written by Adam Sass

Adam Sass

ADAM SASS is a journalist and copy editor for Mediaplanet, which prints in USA Today. His short story appeared in the anthology STARLING SCI-FI: NEW TALES OF THE BEYOND and was nominated for Best Science Fiction Story by Writer’s Digest. He lives in New York City with his husband and two dachshunds.

Keep up with Adam’s pop culture blogging at GeeksOut.org and on his (over)active Twitter: @TheAdamSass.