A History Lesson With Booze ®

The Red Baron and The French 75

After shooting down his 16th plane, Baron Manfred von Richthofen was given Germany's highest military honor.

A German Albatross D1 scout bi-plane used by The Red Baron's 'Flying Circus', captured by the British. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The History Lesson

Then the “Red Baron” went and shot down another 64 planes – 21 of ’em in a single month.

After each victory, Richthofen had a silver cup made inscribed with the date of the battle. He stopped after cup #60 though, the blockaded Germany began rationing silver.

Eventually, Richthofen commanded his own team – a mobile unit that could be deployed anywhere. Since they slept in tents and painted their planes red to avoid being shot by their own ground forces, they were called The Flying Circus. That’s where Monty Python got their name. Ironic, since the Baron was known as a totally humorless dude.

But flying aces were gentlemen, even if they did spend most of their time trying to slaughter one another. In 1916, the red Baron was in a dogfight with a tenacious Brit. He wrote:

“The gallant fellow was full of pluck, and as he got down to 3,000 feet he merrily waved to me as if he would say ‘Well, how do you do?’ My Englishman was a good sportsman.”

Then Richthofen shot him out of the sky and put the pilots machine gun over the door of his home.

The Allies got the last word though, The Red Baron was shot down over France in 1918. Even with a bullet through his heart, he managed a controlled landing. His last word was reportedly, “Kaput.”

The Booze

The French 75

Photo credit: Elana Lepkowski, stirandstrain.com
Photo credit: Elana Lepkowski, stirandstrain.com

RECIPE, as recounted by Corey Mason of Smith & Mills in TriBeCa:
In shaker, combine:
– 2 oz. gin
– 1 oz. simple syrup
– 1 oz. lemon juice
Shake and strain into champagne flute, then:
– Fill rest of flute with champagne
– Add twist of lemon

Episode: 5