Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The King Is Toast

To honor the anniversary of Elvis' death, I've created three cocktails to get toasted on. Elvis Presley died on August 16, 1977, and he was carrying quite a get happy mix in him when he shuffled off, (1) courtesy of his own Dr. Feelgood, Dr. George Nichopoulos, or as he was more commonly known, "Dr. Nick." (2) David Stanley, the stepbrother of Elvis, has been quoted as saying, "Drugs were Elvis' escape. He didn't take them to get happy. He took them to get unconsicous." Guess what? It worked. Stanley goes on to say that he thought Elvis' favorite book was the Physician's Desk Reference (an encyclopedic book of pharmaceuticals.) "He'd go through the PDR and pick out combinations, like a drug cocktail, that he felt would be just right for him."

Blue Suede Cocktail

The first cocktail I had made up is called Blue Suede Cocktail, and I drank this in honor of an early hit of Elvis' called "Blue Suede Shoes," written by rockabilly, Carl Perkins. The Blue Suede Cocktail consists of:

1/2 ounce Jim Beam whiskey (preferrably poured from an Elvis shaped decanter)
1/2 ounce Blue Curacao
3 1/2 ounces lemon-lime soda
1 1/2 ounces lemonade

Mix the Jim Beam and Blue Curacao in a glass, stir in the lemonade and soda. Serve iced with a lemon wheel or peel. Drink, tread lightly and go cat go.

Elvis gyrated on to Hollywood where he made a string of films that seemed to be thematic in that there's always this girl, there are his gang of guys, singing is accomplished, and other cultures are explored (Charro!, Harum Scarum, Blue Hawaii) in embarrassingly condescending ways. Plus, each movie was guaranteed to contain at least one surreal moment involving a woman's ass, usually involving either a spanking or some bizarre pop music mating ritual and always a fight scene (Surprise. Elvis wins.)

Elvis In Hollywood Cocktail

To honor these cinematic clunkers, the Elvis in Hollywood cocktail:

1 1/4 ounces Malibu Pineapple Infused Rum
1 ounce Pineapple Juice
3/4 ounces Chambord Black Raspberry Liqueur

Mix the rum and the pineapple juice into an iced martini glass, then "sink" the Chambord down the side so that it settles into the bottom the glass. Sunk as in Elvis' movie career. Garnish with pineapple. Sip and think about Elvis surfing on some wired board in Paramount's back lot and cue to ukulele music while Elvis wails on "Rock-A-Hula-Baby." (3)

Viva Vino Martini

Finally, the Viva Vino Martini named after an Elvis song called "Vino, Dinero y Amor," and whose lyrics in part go, "I like to drink wine, and money is fine, but I like the girls even more. Viva el vino, viva el dinero, viva viva el amor." This cocktail consists of:

1 1/4 ounces Fonseca Vin 27 Port Wine
3/4 ounces Shakka Apple Infusion, Eau de Vie
1/2 ounce Midori Melon Liqueur
3/4 ounces Cranberry Juice

Mix contents and shake into chilled martini glass rimmed with red sugar.

So many items have been merchandized using the image of Elvis, but some of my favorites are the bottles of booze, either shaped using Elvis' figure, or my personal favorite, his head. Country singer George Jones has this fantastic bar song called "The King Is Gone," (alternate title: "Yabba Dabba Doo,") and the lyrics are so impressive, I just have to reproduce them here:

Last night I broke the seal on a Jim Beam decanter
That looks like Elvis
I soaked the label off a Flintstone jelly bean jar
I cleared us off a place on that one little table
That you left us
And pulled me up a big ole piece of floor

I pulled the head off Elvis
Filled Fred up to his pelvis
Yabba Dabba Doo, the King is gone
And so are you

Round about 10 we all got to talking
'Bout Graceland, Bedrock and such
The conversation finally turned to women
But they said they didn't get around too much
Elvis said, "Find 'em young"
And Fred said "Old Fashioned girls are fun"
Yabba Dabba Doo, the King is gone
And so are you

Later on it finally hit me
That you wouldn't be 'a comin' home no more
'Cause this time I know you won't forgive me
Like all of them other times before
Then I broke Elvis' nose
Pouring the last drop from his toes
Yabba Dabba Doo, the King is gone
And so are you

I've added in a little clip of the song for you: RealMedia

You want to toast Elvis today? Elvis has been made out of toast. Oh, yes. He has. New Zealand artist Maurice Bennett, aka "The Toastman," is known for his toast portraits, and his Elvis work consisted of more than 4,000 pieces of toast (in varying degrees of doneness.)


(1) The autopsy suggested that he had overdosed on "significant amounts" of: Codeine, Methaqualone, Ethinamate, and miscellaneous barbiturates. There were also traces of Morphine, Valium, Demerol, Meperidine, Placidyl, and Chloropheniramine. The coroner also reported that Elvis' last meal had consisted of four scoops of ice cream and six chocolate chip cookies.

(2) For ten years, Dr. Nick was Elvis' doctor, and he sure didn't stint on the scrips. "Elvis's problem," Dr Nick has said, "was that he didn't see the wrong in it. He felt that by getting it from a doctor, he wasn't the common everyday junkie getting something off the street. He was a person who thought that as far as medications and drugs went, there was something for everything." The Medical Board Tribunal heard evidence of astounding volumes of prescriptions written by Dr Nick. Between 1975 and 1977, he had prescribed 19,000 doses of drugs. In the first eight months of 1977 alone, he had written 199 prescriptions totalling more than 10,000 doses of sedatives, amphetamines and narcotics: all in Elvis's name. On 20 January 1980, the board found him guilty of overprescription, but decided that he was not unethical. They gave him three months' suspension of his licence and three years' probation. He was charged again in 1992, facing a more aggressive review board, and finally in 1995, he was stripped of his medical license.

(3) Actress Jenny Maxwell played the bratty Ellie Corbett in Blue Hawaii. She got the ass smacking in this film. Not many fans know that Jenny Maxwell was murdered. The details of her death are sketchy and confusing. In June 1981 Jenny and her husband, famous attorney Ervin "Tip" Roeder, were shot to death outside their Beverly Hills condo. Their murder has never been solved. It's an interesting, but odd, coincidence that Tip was also actor Nick Adams' attorney and was involved in trying to solve Nick's death. Nick allegedly committed suicide in 1968, but Tip and others felt he was murdered. (As many fans know, Nick Adams was a good friend of Elvis' and often visited him on movie sets and in Memphis.) Coinky dink? Uh. Yeah. No grassy knolls here.

I want to apologize for the fuzzy fotography. I've just purchased a new digital camera and haven't a clue how to work it, other than knowing where the power switch is, and the shutter button. Hopefully, I'll be sitting down with the manual real soon and figuring out what I'm supposed to be doing.


Blogger I-66 said...

A-thank ya. Thankyaverymuch.

1:56 PM  
Anonymous drew said...

Judging by what the coroner found in Elvis' "digesting tract" during his autopsy, Dr. Death should have prescribed some stool softener and laxatives in that impressive drug-cocktail!

By the way, the drinks looked tasty (the last one, especially so)! Have any post-sampling reflections to share?

2:10 PM  
Anonymous Sweet said...

I'm so gonna make those!

2:12 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

There he is. Mr. I-66. Resurfacing into blog world.

Drew: I was going to run a list of Elvis' favorite drugs, but it gets redundant, yanno? As for the drinks. The Blue Suede Cocktail is quite tart, not much sweetness to it. The Elvis in Hollywood you can achieve two quite different tastes dependent on whether or not you stir in the Chambord before you start sipping. It's also visually dramatic. The Viva Vino Martini was the surprise. It is...amazing. It's like wine, only sweeter, a whiff of sangria, and somehow that Apple Eau de Vie turns into a stronger grape flavoring. That is the one I would want on a regular basis, also has the more expensive and complex ingredients. I would definitely serve it at a party.

Sweet: Any of them would be good party drinks. If I had to choose one, I would definitely recommend the Viva Vino Martini. You would have the Elvis song I quoted playing, of course, along with "Viva Las Vegas."

2:22 PM  
Blogger Momentary Academic said...

These drinks look like they would be marvelous. The Blue Suede sounds especially appealing as I loved Blue Hawaii.

2:30 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

Momentary: Blue Hawaii had great music in it, including the title song, "Hawaiian Wedding Song," "Rock-A-Hula Baby," and an Elvis classic, "Can't Help Falling In Love." It also has Angela Lansbury hysterically playing a neurotic, over-preening, over-weaning, Southern "Belle" who calls her husband "Daddy" while she mother smothers son, Chad/Elvis.

2:38 PM  
Blogger Phil said...

Hey thanks for reminding me! 9 yrs ago I got my cat, "Grace" (named after Graceland).

I will give her one of those drinks as a way to celebrate.

3:50 PM  
Blogger TooMuchCoffeeLady said...

I'm just disappointed he hasn't been sighted at any random truckstops in Arkansas lately. :(

And do you have any idea how hard it is to find a decent velvet Elvis these days?!

3:55 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

Phil: I thought about the Playaz while I was typing the lyrics to the George Jones song. You men are just the type to own Elvis decanters. And you will NOT give little Grace booze.

Coffeelady: I checked. There is velvet Elvis on eBay. Any good? In the eye of the beholder.

3:59 PM  
Blogger Hammer said...

As they say in Britain...

"The King is dead. Long live the King."

4:41 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

Hammer: It's funny. I had two friends offering feedback on this piece. One wanted me to very much pursue the whole "The King Fell Off His Throne" aspect of Elvis' death (i.e. he died on the toilet,) while the other wanted me to sidestep the bloated, aged Elvis angle and leave him a little dignity. I guess I fell somewhere between the two. America does have it's royalty, and Elvis is certainly up there in being iconic with Marilyn (not Manson.)

4:45 PM  
Blogger Dennis! said...

Those drinks look awesome. I wonder, if I printed this entry out, whether the bartenders at, say, Halo would be willing to mix one of those for me. Delish.

PS: "ukulele". (sorry).

4:51 PM  
Blogger Red said...

He died on my 9th birthday. I was so sad.
Definitely gonna try the drinks.

4:51 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

Red: Happy Birthday.

Dennis: First of all, thanks for catching that, and secondly...I had a good laugh over your doing that, after reading your blog today.

4:54 PM  
Anonymous Siryn said...

That Elvis in Hollywood cocktail sounds totally delish. I love Malibu, and I love Chambord. Will have to try it!!

5:37 PM  
Blogger Wicked H said...

Oh SNAP!!!


Here's lookin at you kid. Cheers.

Wicked, I mean Elvis, has left the bldg.

8:04 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

Wicked: I wonder if Elvis played snap cup?

8:06 PM  
Blogger MG said...

Harsh man.....harsh.

Although, now I've got some new drinks to try. w00t!

8:26 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

MG: Harsh? I didn't write the book of his life. I wish he had had a better quality of people around him to protect him from his weaknesses. I had friends egging me on to really rip into his final days, so trust me, this isn't harsh. I didn't get into his autopsy report (for the most part,) even though it's online and for the taking.

I actually like Elvis music, from his earliest stuff on. There is, however, a lot of dreck in those movie soundtracks.

8:40 PM  
Blogger ThaiMex1 said...

When Elvis died I was in Mexico City visiting family. Most of Mexico didn't observe his passing due to statements he, reportedly made. It was just another day.

There used to be a 10K race in DC called "The Jinglebell Run for Arthritis." Held in December it also had a best costume event. I had always wanted to have my running team dress up in red and green bellbottomed tights, capes on our shoulders, BIG wavy wigs and call ourselves "The Elvish Impersonators"....get it??? Yeah, I know you would.

9:40 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

T: Got it, and welcome home.

9:43 PM  
Blogger Law-Rah said...

Oooo, I am so going to try the Viva Vino Martini! It looks fabulous.

11:19 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

Law-rah: Dean's Fella! Friend of the young law student. Make up a big pitcher of the Viva Vino. Serve it to your young charges. Tell them the first step in practicing law is getting a good buzz on.

12:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mock his films all you want, but the fact is Elvis is the only actor who never made a movie that lost money.

You can look it up.

So there.

1:43 AM  
Blogger Miss Scarlet said...

It's 8am, but those look REALLY good to me.

8:19 AM  
Blogger Reya Mellicker said...

This is beautiful, what a tribute! I'm sending the link straightaway to my friend Deborah in San Francisco who says Elvis is the true modern world Pagan God. I think she's so very right. LOVE the cocktails!! Wow.

8:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just came back from a trip to lower, slower Delaware. There are lots of places to find Elvis in velvet or other media. Yeehaw. I understood that Elvis' creepy controlling manager, "Colonel" Tom, was the guiding light of his movie roles. Poor Elvis listened to him, and for that, we have the bizarro Elvis film legacy.

Why was it considered normal for Ann Margret to be wearing only pantyhose and no pants in that movie? That's kind of a hooker thing, isn't it?


8:28 AM  
Blogger Hey Pretty said...

Ah yes, the Physician's Desk Reference. Our bible junior year of college.

9:57 AM  
Blogger Needtsza said...

Celebrated by downloading a buncha Viva las Elvis. Thanks for the blog reminder

10:03 AM  
Blogger cuff said...

The blue suede cocktail may be a keeper. I also like the looks of that last one, so beautifully crimson.

The King is dead but he's not forgotten...
This is the story of Johnny Rotten...

10:54 AM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

Anonymous: I may have had a mocking tone about Elvis movies in this piece, but I still enjoy watching them as, for me, they reflect a more innocent era of America. I have many books on Elvis and probably most of his music, so please don't think I'm not a fan. I most certainly am. So there. I should add, if you are an Elvis fan, that Baltimore does a show every year on the first Saturday in December called "Night of 100 Elvises." It consists of local bands from D.C. and Baltimore performing Elvis songs as well as a variety of Elvis impersonators from around the country. Here's the link:

Scarlet: Spoken like a true fan of Happy Hour (8 a.m. to ---)

Reya: People do visit Graceland like a shrine. I would agree with your friend. I hope she enjoys the piece.

Grince: It is a commonly held belief that Elvis could probably have produced some really good movies and had a much more respected acting career if Col. Parker hadn't been at the helm in the choice of material and his concern over his product (Elvis.) He received very good reviews in his first film, Love Me Tender, but toward the end of his film career, certainly, it was considered formulaic as I indicate in my piece. I adore Ann Margret in her Viva Las Vegas performance doing her little kitten dance and yelping while she go go's across the screen. The tights is also a "dancer thing." One thing I've noticed in Elvis films: Very often the women are wearing orange or yellow...especially yellow, (which, by the way, is the first color to catch the human eye in the color prism.) Maybe the director thought Elvis would overshadow them and needed to bring them out more? Dunno.

Pretty: I worked with a woman who kept a copy in hardback on her desk. I swear. I could tell more about her, but she came to a sad end.

Needtsza: Such talent. There are only a few singers that come along in any generation that have that raw "thing" about them that is nature's gift. He was one of them.

Cuff: The Blue Suede has very little sweetness and is good as a "Collins" type drink. The Viva Vino turned out amazingly well, if I may say so, so I highly recommend it. And I love, love, love that you quoted Neil Young. I may have to slap on some Neil today now that you've planted the seed. And...oddly enough...I was thinking about The Sex Pistols last week, triggered when I was listening to some Clash.

1:39 PM  
Anonymous TravelGirlDC said...

Do you really do all your own photography and graphics? Your posts are always full of great graphics.

I swore off alcohol till Friday night. Might have to make the on your cocktails as my pre going out Friday cocktail at home.

1:43 PM  
Blogger Johnny said...

I'd pork Lisa Marie.

Even after the Michael Jackson thing.

2:35 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

Travel: I do some of the photography that I use (the cocktails in this piece,) I do things where I Photoshop and combine my photographs with things I find online, I use online graphics, or I scan things in my varies, but thank you for the compliment.

Johnny: You are such a mess. You always make me laugh. You are such a....GUY, and I mean that in a good way.

4:02 PM  
Blogger Blue Dog Art said...

As noted on my blog, the man croaked on my birthday. Yes, I am bitter. I am reminded of the anniversary of his death every damn year on my birthday. Next year will be the 30th anniversary of his death, so I'm sure the news will ramp it up an extra notch. Plan the pilgrimage to Graceland now. (JFK, Jr. crashed his plane the night before my wedding and I'm bitter about that too.)

4:32 PM  
Blogger MG said...

40 lb. colon

'nuff said.

4:36 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

Blue: Double snap. I always felt sorry for that Kennedy cousin having JFK, Jr. die the night before her wedding. Yes. What happened to him was a tragedy, but think what that poor girl had to undo in terms of wedding guests in place waiting to celebrate her special day. Even after she did marry, at a later date, I would imagine every wedding anniversary she has, that one incident will pop up every year as a reminder.

MG: ...or more.

5:25 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

The EIH cocktail looks like a delicious dessert!

5:56 PM  
Blogger Lisa Goldstein/Kelly Kelly said...

Yummmm. Sounds like an Elvis party with those drinks served is in order.


9:02 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

Liz and Lisa: If you ever had an Elvis party, the food would have to be highly disturbing, given his culinary tastes: fried peanut butter and jelly with bacon, friend banana, peanut butter and bacon...well, you get the drift. Lots of bacon.

9:57 PM  
Blogger Stef said...

Wow, that first picture of Elvis is HOTTT. A little less conversation? Okay!

And that pineapple drink sounds so perfect for a hot night. I'll have to try one soon! :-)

10:14 PM  
Blogger WashingtonGardener said...

The Viva Vino Martini looks might tasty - I'm up late working so I'll have to hold off trying it until I take my holiday in a week.

10:34 PM  
Blogger wharman said...

Phenomenal. I'm totally making these early and often, Elvis' birthday or not.

11:46 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

Stef: I had a friend who asked that I deliberately not post older Elvis pics, so I acted accordingly. Sounds like you had a blast in NYC.

Gardener: Lucky you for the holiday. My dogwood is shedding early this year.

Wharman: I did a cocktail of the week blog project last year. This was my first time this year getting cranked up on it again. I think I'll do another one next week.

12:05 AM  
Blogger Needtsza said...

Agreed about the 'raw' talent

2:10 AM  
Blogger Ryane said...

Good 'ol Elvis. Any person that eats fried PB and banana sandwiches with regularity can't be all bad, now can he?? =-)

Great drink recipes...thanks for sharing.

10:07 AM  
Blogger MissThi said...

The drinks _do_ sound tasty. I'm
always up for adventurous alcohol concoctions. It's a very Elvis
kind of week, and so, there's this:

For all the folks who dare to dream,
autopsy reports aside.

(and congrats on the Wonkette coverage!)

12:04 PM  
Blogger avocadoinparadise said...

Those drinks look great! Thanks for the recipes & pretty pics!

12:19 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

Needtsza: Me too. I wrote earlier about Judy Garland having it. Elvis had it too. So rare.

Ryane: I should have written out the recipes for some of Elvis' favorite sandwiches. They all seemed to have peanut butter and bacon. Part of his Southern "ruts," I guess.

Miss Thi! My buddy, my pal, my thi hi boot wearing friend. You were always the best hostess for parties. Your friends haven't been the same since you decamped and left town. :(

Ellocin: Thank YOU for the thank you. Love the kitty avatar.

12:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've forwarded the link to Elvis P. (now at an undisclosed location). He'll probably follow up soon.

1:50 AM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

fc: I've already heard back from Elvis.
He said, "thankyouverymuch."

6:35 AM  
Blogger Ryane said...

Well, anything with Peanut butter is a winner as far as I am concerned. And haha--I had Rock A Hula, AND Moonlight Swim singing through my head all day last Friday after reading this great post. Your blog is really wonderful...

11:12 AM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

Ryane: Thank you, thank you. It's funny. My friends thought I was making it up about the peanut butter, jelly and bacon sandwich until I showed them where Elvis bought them.

11:49 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

the blue cocktail looks kinda tasty to me!

2:30 AM  

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