If you’re reading this the odds are you either avoided the wrath of Interpol or you successfully faked your own death and are living comfortably under a new identity somewhere without an extradition treaty. That means you can enjoy Interpol’s birthday with the Interpol cocktail. In any event, September 7 is the day in 1923 that the International Criminal Police Organization, or Interpol, was formed in Vienna. It’s a lot more exciting in the movies than real life, but that’s no reason not to enjoy an Interpol cocktail as Drink of the Day.
The cooperation of police in different national jurisdictions was on an ad hoc basis through the 19th century. It wasn’t until the early 20th century that efforts were made in earnest to formalize cooperative measures. The first try was the International Criminal Police Congress held in Monaco in 1914. Things went quiet during World War I, but then came the 1923 International Criminal Police Congress in Vienna.
That 1923 meeting created the International Criminal Police Commission, and 58 countries joined by 1934. This worked until Vienna fell under Nazi control during World War II, at which point most members withdrew their support. The organization was finally revived in 1946 and retitled to the International Criminal Police Organization known as Interpol.
For better or worse, Interpol much more exciting in movies than real life. It’s not really a supranational law enforcement agency. Its agents can’t arrest anyone. They don’t carry guns, nor do they have 007-level gadgetry like exploding pens or something like his signature drink, the Vesper. The folks at headquarters can’t just dial a skilled assassin anywhere to take out a target, nor can they abscond to a safe house filled with state-of-the-art surveillance equipment. When you get down to it, Interpol is really a giant police bulletin board and database shared around the world.
The infamous Red Notice seeking the arrest and extradition of a person does exist. But Interpol has rules to prevent political, military, religious or racial notices. Many Red Notices have been canceled upon review, and Interpol has added additional rules such as refusing notices against refugees.
Bill Browder, the CEO of Hermitage Capital Management describes such a tale in his book Red Notice. The Russian government repeatedly requested Interpol to issue a Red Notice, but Interpol refused after deeming the request political.
The Interpol Cocktail
The Interpol cocktail comes to us from Chicago’s unfortunately now defunct Blackbird. Their bar manager, Kyle Davidson, invented it there in 2013.
The Interpol cocktail recipe utilizes Cardamaro, an ingredient we haven’t utilized before in our drinks. It’s an Italian wine-based aperitif you should seriously consider adding to your collection of ingredients. The name might make you think it’s a cardamom-flavored amaro, but it turns out it’s not. Rather, it’s wine-based and infused with two relatives of the artichoke: cardoon and blessed thistle. It’s a bit like a mix of sweet vermouth and Cynar, but neither as sweet as the former or as herbal as the latter.
- Nick and Nora or coupe glass
- 1½ oz Cardamaro
- 1 oz Gin
- ½ oz Fresh lemon juice
- 2 dash simple syrup This is maybe half a barspoon. Just a bit.
- Add all ingredients to your trusty cocktail shaker.
- Add ice and shake until frosty cold.
- Strain in to pre-chilled cocktail glass.
- Rinse and repeat.
“My life,” I said, “is a series of telephone messages which nobody understands but me. Every woman I meet thinks she’s some kind of Delphic phrasemaker. My phone rings at three in the morning and it’s somebody stranded at some airport calling to tell me that the animal crackers have left the zoo. The other day I got a telegram—a schizogram—from a girl on the coast and all it said was MY TONSILS WENT TO A FUNERAL. Do you ever send messages like that, Blink? My life is a telex from Interpol.”
—Don DeLillo, Americana, 1971.