So, it’s E.B. White’s birthday on July 11. I propose we hoist a cocktail in honor of the most famous Seattle Times reporter. Yes, it’s true, the author of “Charlotte’s Web” and co-author of every writer’s bible, “The Elements of Style,” used to live the ink-and-paper life, tapping away on our metro desk from September 1922 to June 1923 before he was, uh, fired.
“I operated, generally, on too high a level for routine reporting, and had not at that time discovered the eloquence of facts. I can see why the Times fired me. A youth who persisted in rising above facts must have been a headache to a city editor.”
OK, his stint in our newsroom was not as memorable as Hemingway’s time with the Kansas City Star.
But both scribes had something else in common: They were both cocktail men. White might have even been what you would call a cocktail geek today. He knew his way around a bar.
(One of the famous quotes about the martini is attributed to White, who called that America classic “the elixir of quietude.”)
White’s favorite drink is a twist on the martini. Recipe here.
But one of my favorite summer cocktails, the Pompier, was also a go-to drink for White. It’s the perfect summer, low-alcohol libation. It’s easy to make, and the ingredients are inexpensive. I love the Clear Creek cassis for this drink, but any black currant liqueur will do.
The Pompier (also called the Vermouth-Cassis cocktail)
2 ounces dry vermouth (such as Noilly Prat or Martini & Rossi)
1 ounce crème de cassis
2 ounces club soda
Fill a highball or collins glass with ice, add dry vermouth and crème de cassis. Top with club soda. Stir.