Not Quite #HiggsBoson Here…

The world of science is all aTwitter (sorry) about CERN’s announcement this week that they have confirmed the existence of the long-predicted Higgs Boson. See this video for a quirky explanation of the importance of the phenomenon.

Our historical discovery this week isn’t in Higgs Boson league, but it’s quirky, I think. It comes to us from several commentaries on the American landings in Cuba during the Spanish-American War. For reasons the tacticians will have to weigh in on, US troops landed at a coastal town near Santiago de Cuba. Turns out there was an iron mine in the area, manned by U S engineers. These yanquis apparently adopted a local Cuban concoction of rum, lime juice and sugar and added the innovation of ice, thereby creating a libation suitable for relaxing after a hard day in the mines. Urban legend holds that a U S Navy medical officer, LT Lucius W Johnson, fell in with the engineers and became enamored of the cooling, soothing combination.

Americans landing at a pier near Santiago de Cuba. From p. 318 of Harper’s Pictorial History of the War with Spain, Vol. II, published by Harper and Brothers in 1899

So pleased was he with his finding – no doubt Johnson appreciated a good scurvy preventative when he saw one – that the good doctor brought the recipe – plus a good stock of rum – back to the States with him, and introduced the drink to his friends at the Army Navy Club in Washington DC. Thus, according to legend, was the daiquirí – named after that Cuban mining town – introduced to American tiplers. The drink became especially popular during World War II, when, with encouragement from FDR’s Good Neighbor Policy, importation of rum made that important daiquirí component especially plentiful and cheap.

Historians – and internet commentors on drink – don’t discourse on what role, if any, Johnson’s association with the daiquirí played in his subsequent promotion to Rear Admiral, Medical Corps.

The Daiquirí

Recipe for a Classic Daiquirí:

60 ml white rum (dark rum is too sweet)
30 ml fresh lime juice
1 tsp sugar
Shake over cracked ice until very cold, then strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a lime wheel if you wish.
Sounds perfect for a hot summer afternoon.

©2012 Thomas L Snyder

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  • Gene MD  On 06 Jul 2012 at 17:44


    I had this sent to me for review last week. I know it is not Navy, but it is still Medical Corps. I think it is the type of research data your looking for.

    Just a thought……

    Gene MD

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