This semester I took a class that stretched me in a different way than any other college class had: Bealtes and Their Times. It was a truly fascinating class and included a focus on history, my favorite subject. However, it was hard for me. I know little about music. If you ask me what I liked about Andrew Jackson Jihad, The Dead Kennedys, or the Iron & Wine, I really wouldn’t have been able to point to more than the lyrics. Additionally, I’m one of the few people who exist, from my experience, that couldn’t have named 15 Beatles songs off the top of their head. Over this semester, however, I’ve become quite familiar with them through readings and extensive amounts of listening.
My professor asked us to come up with a creative way to show him that we had learned something by the end of the semester. I pondered what to do briefly, then it suddenly became clear: I had to craft Beatles cocktails. So, I created a cocktail or series of shots to match the characteristics of the four stages of the Beatles I identified.*
*These are based on a semester of work. I’m sure many who have been interested in the Beatles their entire lives will hold issues with the stages I theorized and some of my characterizations.
Bealtes in Hamburg
During their time in Hamburg, the Beatles were working on technique. Their skill grew a lot from repetition, but they still played only recent hits with a choppy double upbeat. Their music was simple. They also emulated the people they played for– working class folk who wore leather. They, unlike many other bands of the day, associated themselves with the proletariat with the help of a young woman named Astrid Kirchherr. The above photograph was taken by her and epitomizes the class alignment of the Beatles at this time.
I thought the drink that best fit this time was not any sort of cocktail, but rather a standard, middle of the line beer. This drink gets the job done, but is nothing fancy or complex. It is also a favorite of the working class.
During their pop stage, the Beatles gained worldwide popularity, but not very defined or developed yet. They were popular for a reason, however. Their music stood out from the pop music of the day because they made little changes to help their songs stand out. Their songs still largely wrote love songs, but these songs contained creative new elements in them.
To represent this stage of the Beatles, I chose a rum and cream soda. This drink is a small deviation from rum and coke, a wildly popular drink. It’s still simple and does not have a whole lot of depth, but it is noticeably different from its inspiration, the rum and coke.
4 oz cream soda
1 oz white rum
1. Pour cream soda and rum.
2. Roll to combine.
As the first ever concept album, I think that Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band exemplifies the experimental natural of the Beatle’s later work. While Revolver was a major turning point for the band away from upbeat love songs, Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band was the first time they put out an album of cohesive and experimental songs. The interesting cover, taking on of alternate identities, and use of orchestra all feed into the creative and experimental nature of the album as a whole.
So, to represent this era I crafted Sgt Pepper’s Cocktail. This cocktail incorporates something unexpected, chili peppers.
.5 oz simple syrup
3 red chili pepper slices
3 lime wedges
2 oz rum
1.5 oz lime juice
1. Muddle chili pepper, simple syrup, and lime wedges in a shaker.
2. Add rum, lime juice, and ice.
3. Shake and pour into a glass.
After the Beatles broke up, Paul continued to be a prolific pop music writer. Without Lennon’s influence, his music became more mainstream and pop oriented. This shot, a lemon drop shooter, is also a popular phenomenon. Also significant: it’s most popular with women. During the time of the Beatles and beyond, Paul had a slew of devoted female fans who appreciated him for more than just his music.
Paul’s Lemon Pop
1.5 oz vodka
.5 oz lemon juice
.25 oz simple syrup
1. Mix the first 3 ingredients.
2. Coat the lemon wedge with sugar.
Take the shot, then eat the sugar coated lemon.
George was the Beatle who felt the strongest the pull of Eastern religion, and after the Beatles broke up, South Asian culture continued to play a major role in his life. This shot is inspired by the flavors of a culture that so inspired George.
“My Sweet Shot”
.5 oz chai tea
.5 oz vodka
.5 oz ginger liqueur
.5 oz simple syrup
1. Shake ingredients and pour into shot glass.
As a Beatle, Lennon tended to light people on fire. His incendiary remark that the Beatles were “More popular than Jesus” resulted in Beatles music being banned from many areas in the United States. His confrontational and unconventional approach did not end with the breaking up of the Beatles, however. He continued to push buttons and light fires. This shot is inspired by those fires.
An incendiary man
1 oz part Everclear, 190 proof
1 oz ginger liqueur
1 oz simple syrup
2. Pour ginger liqueur, then simple syrup, then Everclear into a wide shot glass.
3. Carefully light the shot on fire.
4. Allow it to burn for approximately 30 seconds.
5. Blow out before drinking.
Ringo was very much in the background of the Beatles. He wrote few songs and was literally in the back ground while the others stood in front. After the Beatles broke up, however, Ringo was hardly peripheral. He drummed for many singles, acted, and designed clothing and art-deco. He did a little bit of everything. So, I decided to represent him with a shot that’s a little bit of everything: long island.
Long Island Shot
.25 oz vodka
.25 oz gin
.25 oz white rum
.25 oz white tequila
.25 oz Triple Sec
Dash of lemon juice
Dash of cola
1. Separate liquor into two shot glasses and put in freezer for 15 minute.
2. Add a splash of lemon juice and cola to each shot.
I hope you enjoy these creations!