The Cat’s Meow

October 28, 2007

The expression “The cat’s meow” is a quaint piece of Americana denoting superlative goodness, perfection, and even sexual desirability. Particularly popular during the Jazz Age, it was said to have been coined first by Thomas Dorgan, a turn-of-the-century cartoonist and possibly the most successful turner-of-phrases eveeeeerrrrrr. (He was also missing a few fingers on one of his hands – this will prove important later in the post).

This past summer a dear friend of mine, in his infinite hospitality, offered to make me a new cocktail he had devised just that day. He called it The Cat’s Meow. Or maybe he called it A Cat’s Meow in which case I was remiss to have not embarrassed him publicly. On the other hand, it may be considered poor form to bite the hand that tends your bar. Regardless, this friend (who constantly uses the non-existent word “irregardless”) introduced me to a tasty libation and I am in his debt.

The Cat’s Meow

Whiskey (amount to be determined according to one’s evening plans and amount of responsibility the following day)

Ginger Ale (nearly top off)

Red Grenadine (one shot)

*Warning: The Cat’s Meow is high in sugar and will most likely leave its owner with a serious hangover.*

Perhaps my attachment to this concoction is due in part to the immediate association I make upon hearing its ingredients. Sing along if you know it:

Brown eyed women and red grenadine/The bottle was dusty but the liquor was clean/Sound of the thunder with the rain pouring down/And it looks like the old man’s gettin’ on

We miss you, Jerry. Good Americana deserves good Americana as company. Now two great Americans who were without all ten fingers and have made significant cultural contributions are forever linked courtesy of alcohol and language. That’s the cat’s meow.

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