A History Lesson With Booze ®

King of Albania

This week in 1959 Otto Witte, an illiterate circus magician who impersonated the King of Albania, died.

By Strobridge Lithographing Co. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The History Lesson

This week back in 1958, Otto Witte died. He was an illiterate circus magician. Oh, and, for a few days? He was also the King of Albania. The year was 1913. Albania had just become an independent nation, so the country was looking for a king. Among the contenders? Halim Eddine, the nephew of a Sultan in Turkey.

European newspapers printed pictures of Eddine. And Otto Witte and his pals couldn’t help but notice the guy bore a striking resemblance to Otto. So like any good showman, Otto decided to step into the role.

He sent telegrams to Albania, announcing he, Halim Eddine, was coming to accept the throne. Sure enough, he was crowned upon arrival. He even got a harem of women to keep him company. And a few days later, when the real Eddine caught wind of the ruse, Otto pocketed a bunch of royal cash and high-tailed it to Italy. Where he blew it all on parties.

Now some say there’s one problem with Otto’s story: It probably wasn’t true. Otto was known for tall tales. And this one sounds suspiciously similar to the novel “Prisoner of Zenda,” a film version of which happened to be released in 1913.

Then again, no one actually disproved Otto’s tale. In fact, in Germany, the story made him famous. The Police even let him add a royal title to his official ID. It read: “Otto Witte — ex-King of Albania.” And when he died penniless in Hamburg in 1958? That’s what they inscribed on his grave.

The Booze

King of Albania

created for the Dinner Party Download by Mata Renga of Bar Hamburg in Hamburg, Germany
– 6 cl* of Goslings Black Seal Rum
– 1 1/2 cl of Wray & Nephew white rum
– 2 cl Falernum spiced rum V
– 1/2 cl sugar cane syrup
– Juice of 1 sweet lime
Combine all the ingredients in a boston tumbler of ice Shake hard till it’s chilled Serve in crown-like eight-corner tumbler Make a “scepter” out of a swizzle stick with orchid leaves. Behave like royalty (i.e. Be oblivious to the plight of the common man, have an affair, and stop smiling).
*1 cl is equal to 1/3 of an ounce