Wednesday, February 13, 2013

stagecoach mary

1 1/2 oz Macchu Pisco
1/2 oz Campari
1/2 oz Crème de Cacao
1/2 oz Dry Vermouth
1 pinch Salt

Stir with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Jumping over to the last drink I created for the Blue Room's Women of the Wild West-themed Whiskey and Amari Night is the Stagecoach Mary. I will do the fourth drink tomorrow, but I figured that this pink and chocolaty drink is the closest I will come to a Valentine's Day recipe, so I might as well print it early. One of the amari that had not received any love in the night's recipe collection was Campari, and the pairing that I eventually focused on was Campari and crème de cacao which worked so well in the Carletti. I wanted to tone down the Campari a touch, so I added a pinch of salt to the recipe. After trying a few base spirits, Pisco seemed the best match for the funky salt-smoothed Campari-cacao combination, and the drink was perhaps influenced by Love Makes You Feel 10 Feet Tall. I think I picked Stagecoach Mary because I figured that I needed to take a break from women engaged in the more sinful professions for one in a more honorable one. For some history on Mary, here is what I wrote up for the event:
No, not all of the women we were honoring on the 11th earned their money through illegal trades, but some like Mary Fields a/k/a Stagecoach Mary had honorable jobs. Mary was the first African-American employed as a mail carrier in the United States, and the second woman to work for the United States Postal Service! Born as a slave, she was freed after the Civil War and made her way West to Montana to work which led her to an Ursuline nunnery as a laborer. Part of Mary's job was to haul goods and materials to the nunnery by horse-drawn wagon. While she lost the job getting into a shootout with a co-worker that gave her grief, it led to her carrier as a mail carrier at age 60 for she was the fastest candidate to hitch 6 horses. She gained a reputation for delivering the mail no matter how bad the conditions were, and protecting it with her guns and accurate aim.

When Mary wasn't working, she was a hell of a woman and hellraiser. At 6 foot 200 pounds, she fit right in with the tough frontier life. Sporting a 6 shooter and a flask of whiskey in her apron, a cigar in her teeth, and a large bore shotgun, she took no shit. With her short temper, she was known to let fists fly, and the Great Falls Examiner claimed that she broke more noses than any other person in central Montana. In fact, she had a standing bet until her death at 82 that she could knock out any man at the bar with a single punch for some money and whiskey.

"She was one of the freest souls to ever draw a breath or a .38."
- Gary Cooper

And for that, we should raise a glass! And hope that we don't give the ghost of Stagecoach Mary the wrong kind of look.
Once mixed, the Stagecoach Mary's twist contributed bright lemon oils that mingled well with a fruitiness from the pisco. A richness from the cacao paired with the vermouth's grape notes. Next, the funky pisco was followed by the less bitter Campari-chocolate combination on the swallow.
campari chocolate cocktail

1 comment:

Erich Hicks said...

The real ‘Stagecoach Mary’ story:

Mary Fields, Black Mary, and ‘Stagecoach Mary’ are all one of the same person. Mary was born in 1832, a slave in Arkansas and was owned by a Catholic family; the plantation owner had a single girl child the same age as Mary. Mary’s mother was the House Slave Servant and the plantation owners’ favorite cook; therefore Mary was always in the main house, in the kitchen and not in the fields, as a Field Slave. Mary’s father was a Field Slave, and Field Slaves were not allowed in the Main House, much less, to court a House Slave. Mary’s mother became pregnant by Mary’s father and he was beaten and sold to another plantation for getting Mary’s mother pregnant. After Mary’s birth, Mary’s mother and her were allowed to stay in the main house, and Mary became the plantation owner daughters’ playmate, therefore being the owners daughter’s playmate, Mary was allowed to read and write, a rarity for that time.

After the emancipation and coming into adulthood, Mary was 6 feet tall and weighed over 200 pounds. Mary became her own woman and traveled solely from Arkansas, up and down the Mississippi River, to Ohio, then finally to Montana where she got her nickname at the turn of the 20th Century. She earned this nickname by working for the “United States Postal System” delivering the United States Mail through adverse conditions that would have discouraged the most hardened frontiersmen of her time. All by herself, she never missed a day for 8 years, carrying the U. S. Mail and other important documents that helped settle the wild open territory of central west Montana.

Mary had no fear of man, nor beast, and this sometimes got her into trouble. She delivered the mail regardless of the heat of the day, cold of night, wind, rain, sleet, snow, blizzards, Indians and Outlaws.

Mary was a cigar smoking, shotgun and pistol toting Negro Woman, who even frequented saloons drinking whiskey with the men, a privilege only given to her, as a woman. However, not even this fact, sealed Mary's credentials given to her, her credentials boasted that, “She would knockout any man with one punch”, a claim which she proved true.

Her fame was so acclaimed, even the Actor, Gary Cooper, two time Academy Award Winner, told a story about her in 1959 which appeared in Ebony Magazine that same year. While, Annie Oakley and Martha Canary (Calamity Jane) were creating their history with Buffalo Bill, Stagecoach Mary was making “her Epic Journey!”

Despite Mary's hardness, she had another side of her, a kindness so strong, even today, in the beginning of the 21st Century, the town of Cascade, Montana, and other surrounding communities celebrate her birthday. The Epic movie is in pre-production mode. Check out website at