This gin and brandy combo dates back to World War II, when Joe Scailom invented the drink at Shepherd’s Hotel in Cairo, Egypt.
With good spirits in short supply during the war, Joe realized he needed to come up with something that the British officers could drink without being floored the next morning. So he built a drink with gin, brandy, homemade bitters made by a chemist across the street from the hotel, lime juice and ginger beer. He dubbed it ‘The Suffering Bar Steward’. The name was later changed by the officers to
The Suffering Bastard
The original recipe goes something like this:
1 oz cheap Gin
1 oz cheap Brandy
1/2 oz. bottled Lime Juice
a few dashes of homemade Bitters
Pour all ingredients except ginger beer into a glass with ice. Top with ginger beer and stir with a glass rod. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint, a slice of orange and a cucumber peel. Ginger ale is usually substituted for the ginger beer these days, as it is easier find and has a little less of a bite. Of course, you can update the recipe with good gin, good brandy, fresh lime juice and Angostura bitters.
And don’t let anyone tell you this drink is made with rum. I’ve seen so many bastardized versions of the Suffering Bastard, that I could kill the bastard who started bastardizing it to begin with. I even found a recipe that used rum, orgeat syrup and curacao…yeah, that’s a Mai Tai, dingbat.
To get you in the WW2 mood for this drink, here’s The Andrews Sisters swingin’ The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy. All reet, Jackson! Slip me a solid five!
-Tiki Chris reporting from a foxhole somewhere in North Africa