Thursday, May 11, 2006

Hi-Yoh! Drinking with Ed McMahon (Sort Of)

One of my favorite thrift store finds of all-time is my near mint copy of Ed McMahon's Barside Companion, a late 60s classic if ever there was one.

Written at a time when hippie war protests were swinging into high gear, this slim volume is blissfully unaware of the revolution happening outside. It's nothing more than 150-plus pages of how great booze is, what a great drinker WC Fields was, the history of booze, bar tricks to play on sober (and drunk) buddies, hangover cures, and lots and lots of jokes about wives.

An amazing document of America's cocktail culture filtered through a Rat Pack looking glass, I found this the same day I picked up my copy of The Playboy Gourmet. Would I be out of line assuming they came from the same person's library?

Now, my copy of Barside Companion can sit beside McMahon Perfect, the new Russian vodka endorsed by Big Ed himself! Though the introductory message on the web site -- "Some things in life you can't control. The vodka you drink isn't one of those things." -- sounds more like a riddle than a tag line, I dig the bold image of Ed staring out from the bottle, a giant star behind him reinforcing that this is the guy who hosted Star Search, not just the guy from Publisher's Clearing House.

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