Just to explain to Brits

Indeed Martin, the “king of cool” for a generation of Americans, was putting on a act when he prowled the stage swigging whisky, smoking cigarettes and singing songs, He also sang Little Old Wine Drinker Me. Often, and unknown by fellow Rat Pack members Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr, his tumbler was full of nothing stronger than cider.

We can imagine how bad it would have been of the whole lot had been done on scrumpy…..

“Drinking — that was his gimmick”, his daughter Deana, who is also a singer, told the New York Post. “There’s no way he could have done that body of work [while drinking].” The “whisky” in the glass was actually apple cider, Martin’s Ocean’s 11 co-star Henry Silva said.

The thing being that to Americans “cider” is more a sorta non-alcoholic, curdled, apple juice. What we over here call cider is to them “hard cider”. And of course scrumpy doesn’t exist. As it doesn’t anyway out of that sacred and divine area roughly from Pilton to Priddy.

15 thoughts on “Just to explain to Brits”

  1. Not sure why this is news. I read something about Dean Martin’s drinking years ago and how it was his gimmick.

  2. In those days the drink that you couldn’t imitate on the telly was beer. You had to drink the real thing. Wine and spirits you could fake easily.

    The smoking was real enough and was what eventually killed him. But die we all must.

  3. Dave Allen’s scotch was ginger ale. But I’ll never forget him dipping his missing finger into it, looking bemusedly at the stump, and saying “damn, that’s strong!”

  4. “dearieme

    In those days the drink that you couldn’t imitate on the telly was beer.”

    Nor in cinema. One of the most iconic beer drinking scenes must be in the bar at the end of ‘Ice Cold in Alex’.

    Apparently they tried other drinks but nothing looked like beer except beer so that’s what they had to use.


    And apparently it took 7 or 8 takes of John Mills downing his glass before the Director was satisfied.

    If you’ve never seen the film – and I can only think you can’t be from the UK if you haven’t – watch it. Quietly and realistically one of the best war films. The ‘hero’ isn’t much of a hero, he’s an alcoholic, and one of the ‘central’ characters is killed early on – as tended to happen to people in the real world during wars.

    Also, what an advert for Carlsberg.

  5. “What we over here call cider …”: when I was a boy there was plenty of “cider” fizzy pop on sale to children – every sweet shop carried a stock beside the Vimto, American Cream Soda, Dandelion and Burdock, Raspberryade, and so on.

  6. Are you meaning to tell me that Tom Cruise doesn’t actually know how to pilot a fighter jet? Next, you’ll tell me Adam Sandler didn’t really have to repeat the third grade.

  7. Jeez dearieme! You must be pushing a century. Dandelion & Burdock? Yes to Cream Soda although I don’t know about “American”. Definitely Tizer*, Ginger Beer & possibly Vimto. Dandylion & Burdock was a retro-thing from the 80s, wasn’t it? Can’t say I remember a non-alcoholic cider for tots either. Ice lollies sure. Although Woodpecker was virtually N/A. I think you’d drown before you got pissed on it. My grandfather used to get me a glass when we went to his local.

    *Appears to be identical to La Colombiana from CO. Recognised the taste at first swig. I think I had the same experience a while back in some other country. Belgium? Algeria? I s’pose it’s just something gets marketed under a name wherever they flog it.

  8. @Stu: the name “Cydrax” rings no bells (though thanks for trying). I wish I could remember the brand name – there’s magic in brand names from childhood. I still remember the Spangles that used to get passed around at Sunday School. Highland Toffee …

    They still make Smarties thank goodness.

  9. Dandelion & Burdock is a Northern speciality that I remember from childhood in the 50s. Moving Down South it was rare to find for many years. I remember complaining to Tesco when they withdrew it from sale after a trial run & I got a condescending reply that it was a ‘Northern drink’. It’s more generally available now.

    As for cider, the offie near school was quite happy to sell Woodpecker to us 14 year olds before the school party. We got a bit merry but one of the yobbos got blotto & aggressive and the teachers had to throw him out.

  10. Shandy Bass was 0.5% IIRC which was sold as a soft drink, they still sell shandy cans in the local chip shop but doubt it has any at all.

    School had a special licence from the magistrate (a.k.a the deputy head) to sell “ordinary strength beer or cider” to seventeen plus year olds from the tuck shop. Ordinary in the legal sense was 3.2% for beer and 4% for cider. Downside was Total Opening hours were severely limited to three or four 45min sessions per week.

  11. Sarsaparilla was my favourite childhood pop. Never liked Dandelion & Burdock. Liked Cream Soda but Sass was best. Not had any in 40 years because of some EU shite about “Acid No 2” not being on their approved list. We had 2 local soft drink firms in the 60s both still going strong from before WW1.Until the EU and their USA cash-suppliers like Coke and the other bastards used their large volumes –no pun intended –to crush UK firms.

    Same pattern as many other industries. Remember all those car/aircraft/motorcycle firms that we used to have? Something fucked our industries up and I don’t think it was competition. Not from the USA. Fiddling using UK govt as the stooge? More like it in my book.

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