I paid my income tax today
I never felt so proud before
To be right there with the millions more
Who paid their income tax today . . .
I paid my income tax today!
– Irvin Berlin (performed by Danny Kaye)
During World War II, our country saw a tremendous rise in the modern income tax. Prior to 1942, income taxes only applied to a small, upper-class minority, and not the masses. As the shift from “class tax” to “mass tax” took place, you can imagine the challenging PR campaign that ensued. Even Irvin Berlin was approached by the Office of War to create a rallying song that would promote tax payments as a patriotic duty and a joy. Right.
A more appropriate approach to the “celebration” of tax day may be lifting a glass and congratulating yourself on making it through another year of withholdings and tax payments! And what better way to do so then with an old vintage cocktail: “The Income Tax Cocktail.”
There is a bit of history to this drink that you should know. Back in the early 1900s there was a popular drink served at the Old Waldorf Astoria Hotel called “The Duplex.” Bartender Johnnie Solon, a popular mixologist of his day, was challenged by a customer to take “The Duplex” to a new level and create a new cocktail. “The Duplex” was a simple blend of equal parts French and Italian vermouth with squeezed orange peel and two dashes of orange bitters. Solon took the challenge and combined two jiggers of Gordon Gin and one jigger of fresh orange juice with the dash of the two vermouths. No bitters.
The new cocktail was a huge success. Solon gave it the name “The Bronx” based on the strange creatures he had seen at the Bronx Zoo and the strange creatures his customers saw after too much imbibing.
So where does “The Income Tax Cocktail” fit into this tale? At some point down the road someone decided to add to “The Bronx” two dashes of Angustora bitters. If you are a fan of bitters you know that a couple of dashes can indeed change the complexity of a drink. And nothing calls for bitterness like Tax Day, right?
If you are going to make this your cocktail of choice for Tax Day, please make it a point to use fresh juice you have squeezed yourself. The difference is amazing, and after the grueling task of tax preparation you deserved only the best. The fresh juice really makes what is basically a perfect gin martini shine and the bitters add the needed complexity and depth for the cocktail to truly satisfy.
The Income Tax Cocktail
1.5 oz gin (we used Plymouth)
3/4 oz dry vermouth (Noily Prat)
3/4 oz sweet vermouth (Carpano Antica)
juice of 1/4 orange (squeeze directly into the shaker)
2 dashes of Angostura bitters
Combine in iced shaker, shake, strain, and pour into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange wheel or peel.
A final note from the Grand Master of American science fiction, Robert Heinlein:
“Be wary of strong drink. It can make you shoot at tax collectors… and miss.”