April 14th 1912- I think we all know what happened on that night.
But, really (from a S&B perspective) – what was going on behind the scenes?
With a little research, I was able to track down some interesting facts about what people were drinking on the night Titanic Sank- and here are my findings.
First, if you were drinking wine or Champagne (in 1st and 2nd Class) – you would have been drinking from a 1908 Vintage done SPECIFICALLY for RMS Titanic- below are copies of the actual labels (from the original printing company) -
While we today do not think much of branding (as we are surrounded by it every day – even the little soaps in the hotel) – I can only imagine how opulent this was.
As far as dinner was concerned, as per the below menu – an entire course was dedicated to drinking – a round of Punch Romaine.
This drink was the sixth course of the Titanic's final dinner, and was served immediately after the main course. What followed was roasted squab, asparagus salad, foie gras, and dessert. THIS recipe makes eight servings, about 1 cup per serving without rum. As a note, the simple syrup can be stored in a sterilized container in the refrigerator for up to one month.
6 cups crushed ice
1 cup simple syrup (see recipe below)
2 cups champagne or sparkling wine
1 cup white wine
1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Orange peel, slivered, optional
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
To make punch:
1. In a blender, combine the crushed ice, simple syrup, champagne, white wine, orange juice and lemon juice. Blend until mixture is well combined.
2. Spoon the mixture into individual dessert cups. Drizzle with rum, if desired, and garnish with a sliver of orange peel. Serve immediately.
To make simple syrup:
1. In a large saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Cook over medium heat, stirring gently until sugar is completely dissolved.
2. Bring to a boil and cook one minute or until syrup is clear. Remove from the heat and cool. Makes 2 cups.
Joughin was one of the victualing crew (Chief Baker) of Titanic, and his story of survival is epic S&B.
After grabbing quick snort of courage, he headed to his boat assignment (Boat 10) but found that all boats were already away. He proceeded to toss 50 deck chairs into the ocean (to be used as flotation devices) and then used his purser knowledge to head to the liquor stores.
He’s actually depicted in a deleted scene from the movie Titanic -at the 1:51Mark.
After loading up his body with two bottles of whiskey, Joughin rode the Titanic into the ocean just like in the movie and simply stepped off the bow as it went down.
Joughin spent three hours in the frigid waters before being rescued (thankfully not by blowing a whistle) and he was one of only a few survivors to survive until the return trip by the lifeboats.
Many attribute this to the whiskey.
Finally – What about Benjamin Guggenheim, forgoing his lifevest and opting for Top Hat and Evening Dress – determined to go down like a gentleman. Quoted as saying
"Tell my wife, if it should happen that my secretary and I both go down, tell her I played the game out straight to the end. No woman shall be left aboard this ship because Ben Guggenheim was a coward."
Guggenheim and his valet were last seen seated in deck chairs in the Staircase sipping brandy and smoking cigars. Both men went down with the ship.
As you can see – on this night in history, there was opulence and bravery – both of unequal measure.
This Saturday, I hope your raise a silent toast to the fallen – people who were put in a terrible situation, and did the best they could to survive.
I know I will.