A History Lesson With Booze ®

The Abolitionist’s Old Fashioned

This week back in 1856, Massachusetts senator Charles Sumner fell victim to a serious congressional beat down at the hands of his southern cousin, Sen. Preston Brooks of South Carolina. After hearing this very un-civil story, you’ll want to abolish negative thoughts about your fellow citizens with this cocktail

By John L. Magee (c.1820–c.1870) (Lithograph reproduced here) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The History Lesson

This week back in 1856, The first battle of the civil war was fought in the U.S. senate. Here’s the background: Kansas had just become a state. Now Kansas had to decide whether to allow slavery. Abolitionists and pro-slavery forces from other states moved in and started attacking each other — people called the showdown “Bleeding Kansas.”

Now, Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner hated slavery. And the violence inspired him to deliver a speech in the Senate. It took two days. During which he outraged most of the slave-owning South. Particularly South Carolina. He accused the state of quote “shameful imbecility,” and mocked its Senator’s stutter. South Carolina Representative Preston Brooks wasn’t a big fan of Sumner’s speech. Especially because that stuttering Senator? Was his cousin. Brooks figured the disrespect had to be avenged.

Two days later, Sumner sat in the Senate chamber writing letters. That’s when Brooks walked up and beat him over the head with a thick wooden cane. Sumner tried to protect himself, but Brooks kept at it until Sumner blacked out and the cane broke. Later, Brooks’ admirers sent him replacement canes. One was inscribed with the phrase: “hit him again.” Brooks got fined $300 for the assault. He was reelected the following term. Sumner took three years to recover, and by the time he returned to Congress Brooks had died. They wouldn’t have had to serve long together, though: Five years after the beating, the actual civil war began.  

The Booze

The Abolitionist’s Old Fashioned


as concocted by bar manager Jackson Cannon of the Eastern Standard in Boston :

In an Old Fashioned glass, add:

  • 1 sugar cube soaked in angostura bitters
  • 1 dash orange bitters
  • splash of soda water

Muddle, fill with ice and add:

  • 2 oz. Hurricane rum
  • 1/2 oz. Napoleon Liqueur

Beat it mercilessly and enjoy.