Today we’re going to mix the Papa Doble for Fred Waring’s birthday. Born in 1900, you all know Fred because he’s the name behind the Waring blender. Only the story is a little more complicated than that.
You see, Fred wasn’t born as the Baron of Blenders, and in fact he wasn’t quite the inventor either. Fred was actually an entertainer. A little like our last honoree in The Drunkard’s Almanac, Dean Martin. Only Fred wasn’t Italian, a crooner, or a fixture in Las Vegas. He didn’t do comedy, nor was he known for drinking. But he was the founder of Fred Waring’s Banjo Orchestra, eventually becoming known as Fred Waring and His Pennsylvanians, and was actually quite successful at it. He was a top-of-the-charts recording artist, a radio show host and a television star.
But, importantly for us, he was also a gadget freak. A gadget freak with money.
Sometime in 1936 a man named Frederick Osius somehow charmed his way backstage after a Waring performance at New York’s Vanderbilt Theater and approached Waring seeking financial backing. There he plopped down a device with an electric motor and a cup with blades he had patented as an improvement on a soda fountain device invented by Stephen Poplawski in 1922. Osius flipped the “On” switch and it didn’t work. Oops. But Waring was intrigued and agreed to back the idea. Six months and $25,000 later things still weren’t working. Waring dumped Osius, brought in some engineer buddies and things like sealed bearings were worked out. In 1937 the Miracle Mixer blender was introduced at the National Restaurant Show in Chicago. in 1938 the Miracle Mixer was renamed the Waring Blendor (later changed to Blender) and the rest is history. It turns out Fred Osius never lived to see his brain child debut, but a royalty agreement did pass in trust to his widow.
So what’s an appropriate Drink of the Day to recognize the blender’s enormous contribution to civilization? Turns out that’s easy, because we can follow the lead of one of the greatest drinkers of the 20th century: Ernest Hemingway. Of course we all know that Hemingway liked to get up early in the morning and stand in front of his typewriter banging out his cutting, signature style of prose. Beloved in Cuba, where he wrote The Old Man and the Sea, he was known as Papa.
But after all the morning writing, with the sweltering heat of Havana coursing through his veins, Hemingway would frequently find his way to El Floridita, the Old Havana bar tended by none other than Constantine Ribalaigua. It was here that the Papa Doble was born, and it turns out a blender was involved. Pre-Castro it seems there was free trade in gizmos.
Of course there is more than one story about the precise origins of the Papa Doble, but one thing is certain: you don’t need to be fluent in Spanish to recognize that Doble translates into English as Double. Very fitting for a drinker of Hemingway’s caliber. Yes, there’s a pun here, but Hemingway allegedly put away 13 rounds of these in a single sitting. Respect is due.
Now Hemingway had a notoriously dry palate, and asked for his daiquiris to be made without sugar. So the Papa Doble in original form is bone dry. Many modern recipes add a bit of simple or cane syrup, but we present the no-holds-barred original as related to Difford’s Guide by Alejandro Bolivar Rodriguez, the Head Bartender at El Floridita.
- Blender or food processor
- Add all ingredients to blender with crushed ice.
- Blend for a few seconds, strain into glass.