Jazz and Cocktails

It starts around one minute in, but watch the whole thing for the setup. And it’s amazing. Ella Fitzgerald and Mel Tormé presenting together at the 1976 Grammy Awards, but performing a scat duet of “Lady Be Good.”



A couple years later, Tormé would record this number with Buddy Rich, with the lyric re-written as “Ella Be Good.” What an amazing record.

But this live performance? I can’t put it any better than one of the YouTube commenters, who wrote, “OH MY GOD. My face hurts from smiling SO HARD.” Yeah. That. The best part is, every single person in that auditorium, including that year’s winner, knew they just got absolutely schooled by two of the finest vocal performers in all of jazz history. And the ones who didn’t know it? They didn’t deserve to be at the Grammys.

To drink, we need something smooth, sophisticated, and sweet enough to match all the smiles.

Only — only — a Manhattan will do.

You’ll need:

2.5 ounces bourbon
1/2 ounce sweet vermouth
1 maraschino cherry (preferably with the stem still on, but my jar didn’t have any like that)
A cocktail shaker
Plenty of ice


Fill the shaker halfway with ice, then pour in your bourbon and vermouth. I happen to like Maker’s Mark for my Manhattans — anything fancier tends to get lost in the vermouth, so why bother?

Stir slowly and gently for ten seconds. Thou shalt not count to 11, nor count to nine, excepting as to then proceed to ten.

Do not break or chip the ice.

Strain into a martini glass and garnish with a single cherry.

Now rewind the video and play it again with your Manhattan. You’ll find both are improved immeasurably, along with your attitude.

Here’s the one I just made.



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