At OSS gala, Hemingway-worthy martinis

September 10, 2013
courtesy Marlene Dietrich Collection
Marlene Dietrich, left, and daughter Marlene. (Courtesy Marlene Dietrich Collection)

Forget the watery drinks so often served up on the Washington gala circuit. At the OSS Society’s annual awards dinner Oct. 26, the cocktails will be overseen up by Colin Field, the head bartender at the Hotel Ritz who’s known as one of the world’s leading mixologists.

He’ll be there to lead a toast to the liberation of the Hotel Ritz in Paris at the end of World War II by Ernest Hemingway, Col. David Bruce, and members of the French Resistance.  According to the OSS Society, which celebrates the history of the CIA-forerunner, the Office of Strategic Services: “When they arrived at the Hotel Ritz shorty after the Nazis had fled the hotel, the manager asked Hemingway if there was anything he could do for them. Hemingway said: ‘How about 75 dry martinis?’”

However, the drinks apparently weren’t very good. In his memoir “OSS Against the Reich,” Bruce wrote that the fabled hotel’s bartender had already left the building, and the libations weren’t up to par.

That’s why the society invited a pro to the event this month — to prevent a similar mishap while they honor Admiral William McRaven, Commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command. (McRaven, we recall, might prefer an energy drink called Rip It. Not shaken, not stirred, doesn’t even have to be cold.)

Also on the agenda is a musical tribute to  Marlene Dietrich, who recorded songs for the OSS’ propaganda efforts.

Emily Heil is the co-author of the Reliable Source and previously helped pen the In the Loop column with Al Kamen.
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Al Kamen · September 9, 2013