A History Lesson With Booze ®

Corrigan’s Bluff

This week, back in 1938 an aviator named Douglas Corrigan took off on a routine flight to California and ended up someplace else.

By Photographer unknown (http://www.hill.af.mil/museum/history/corrigan.htm) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The History Lesson

This week, back in 1938 an aviator named Douglas Corrigan took off on a routine flight to California. American’s were suffering from the Great Depression until Douglas Corrigan flew on the scene. Corrigan started out as a mechanic. He actually assembled the wings on Charles Lindbergh’s “Spirit of Saint Louis.” In fact, he was the guy who took the blocks off the plane’s wheels so Lindbergh could take off on the first transatlantic flight.

Corrigan dreamed about making that flight himself one day. Only problem? He didn’t have much cash. So in California, he bought a junky old monoplane for $300 bucks and modified it himself for transatlantic travel. He called it “Sunshine.” Safety regulators called it — a deathtrap. The door was held on with baling wire. Extra fuel tanks blocked the view from the cockpit. Even after Corrigan flew Sunshine cross-country to Brooklyn — officials wouldn’t let him take the plane over the ocean to Europe. Dejected, he said he’d fly back west the next day.

He flew, all right. But the folks in Brooklyn were surprised when he headed east. And kept going. 28 hours later, Corrigan landed in Ireland. Until the day he died, he swore he’d simply got lost. His first words to Dublin’s airport workers? Quote: “I just got in from New York. Where am I?”

Officials didn’t buy the story — they suspended Corrigan’s license for two weeks. Which is how long it took him to sail back to the U.S. And for word to spread about the guy who’d flown a junkbox over the sea. He was greeted in New York by a million cheering fans. They called him “Wrong Way Corrigan.” Even though they were pretty sure he knew exactly where he was going.

The Booze

Corrigan’s Bluff

Created by Brad Farran of Clover Club in Brooklyn.


    • 3/4 ounce Lemon juice
    • 3/4 ounce Maraschino (liqueur)
    • Scant bar spoon of Creme de Violette
    • 2 ounces Red Breast Irish whiskey

Claim you’re drinking something else. Drink it down, giddy with your secret knowledge. Feign ignorance if questioned. Accept punishment/hangover.