Posts Tagged ‘Lewis Carroll’

Winter Wonderland: A Signature Drink

Tuesday, February 9th, 2016

This Winter, we’re posting about Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland books, and this theme lends itself wonderfullymiriam to a signature drink. So the call went out across New York City to every borough and burrow and we assembled our team of mixologists once more to create another UPG signature cocktail.

Our friend and bon-vivant Miriam was again our hostess, joined by her trusty Dormouse Mark. For the occasion, Miriam donned a top hat (and she is a woman who really knows how to wear a hat).

“No Room! No Room!”

There was plenty of room.

Our drinking committee consisted of some new faces and old: UPGers Jay and Meg were joined by UPG’s Customer Service Guru Amber (who was accompanied by her boyfriend Victor), and another first-timer, expert imbibee Peter.

We arrived at Miriam’s at 6 o’clock sharp (the time of the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party), and in case anyone was late, Miriam had stopped her clocks at 6.

Because it’s always 6 o’clock at the Mad Hatter’s tea party.


“I’ve Had Nothing Yet!”

Miriam got us started with a pre-cocktail glass of absinthe, pretty much to assure that we’d be in a Mad Hatter mood before beginning. It worked.


For an accompaniment to the absinthe, Miriam provided treacle pudding (from Tea & Sympathy), in homage to the Dormouse’s story about the little girl who lives in a treacle well. Because why not? (Pretty much the answer to any suggestion when you’re drinking absinthe.)


The Pool of Tears

Our first drink was a bust.

Miriam wanted something deep and green, and began with a green chartreuse base. Unfortunately, everything we added either radically changed the color or was decidedly un-tasty. Amber wanted a clean cup, so we all moved one place on.


Chartreuse FAIL

Fortunately, the second drink was much more successful. So we are happy to present to you:

The Man-Hatter


3 parts rye, preferably a bourbon-y rye such as Bulleit
2 parts hibiscus tea (brewed very strong)
a generous dash of Angostura bitters
a twist of lemon


This take on the Manhattan replaces the vermouth with hibiscus tea, which enforces the rich red color and keeps the flavor a bit less sweet than a standard Manhattan.

It’s a simple drink to prepare. Pour three parts rye over ice (preferably a rye with bourbon notes). Add two parts hibiscus tea. Make sure to brew the tea stronger than for normal use so it’s not too watery.

Add a healthy dose of bitters, shake over ice and strain into tea cups or serve from a teapot.

Stir with a flamingo stirrer, of course.


A variant of this drink is the “Mad-Hattan,” served without the stirrer.

This drink could be made hot as well, but the idea of something cold in a tea cup felt a little more Mad Hatter-ish to us.


“Who Stole the Tarts?”

Mark took care of cooking duties for the evening. We were plied with finger sandwiches of all kinds: cucumber and cream cheese, smoked turkey and arugula, and goat cheese and watercress. Plus there were lemony deviled eggs (a la Humpty Dumpty *spoiler*), sautéed mushrooms (in honor of the caterpillar), and plenty of bread and butter, just like the Mad Hatter likes. Mark had considered rabbit as an appropriate dish — White Rabbit? March Hare? — but ultimately decided not to pursue it. But he did make homemade pigs in blankets as a tribute to the Pig Baby from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The food was served on fan dishes, in honor of the White Rabbit, who drops his fan when Alice surprises him in the hallway.




Winter Wonderland: Lewis Carroll – Churchman

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016

This Winter, we’re posting about Lewis Carroll and his Wonderland stories.

Charles Dodgson (pen name, Lewis Carroll) was a born into the church. His father was a vicar, and Dodgson followed in his footsteps by studying at his college, Christ Church, Oxford. When Dodgson went on to teach there, he was ordained as a deacon (one of the conditions of teaching) and was expected to be ordained to the priesthood.

However, Dodgson never took the final step to become a priest. It is unclear why. Did his stammer make him uncomfortable with the idea of preaching? Did he have religious doubts? In his diary he wrote that he was a “vile and worthless” sinner, so did he not feel fit for the job? No one knows, although as with most aspects of Carroll/Dodgson’s life, there are numerous conjectures and theories. In any case, Dean Henry Liddell (father of the “real Alice”) granted Dodgson permission to refrain from being ordained as a priest, in defiance of the college rules.

Although he declined being ordained, Dodgson maintained his faith throughout his life, and stayed associated with Christ Church for the rest of his career.

Dodgson’s legacy lives on in his childhood church, All Saint’s Church in Daresbury, Cheshire, where his father was perpetual curate. On his the centenary of Dodgson’s birth, the church honored him with “Wonderland”-themed stained windows.

The windows feature Carroll and Alice at the nativity (!), with an array of Wonderland characters such as the Mad Hatter, the Caterpillar, and the White Rabbit at the bottom. And these may in fact be the only church windows to feature a dodo.


Winter Wonderland: Happy Birthday Lewis (and Wolfgang, Wilhelm and Wilhelm)

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

This Winter, we are posting about Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland books.

And today is Lewis Carroll’s birthday. But it’s also Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s birthday, F. W. J. Schelling’s birthday and Kaiser Wilhelm II’s birthday!


These four famous men had more in common than just a shared birthday. Here’s some of those commonalities:

Lewis Carroll was born Charles Lutwidge Dodgson and adopted Lewis Carroll as a pen name.

Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling was born Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling. The “von” was added when he was ennobled.

Kaiser Wilhelm II was born Frederick Wilhelm Viktor Abrecht von Preußen. The “Kaiser” and “II” came later.

Kaiser Wilhelm II was the eldest grandchild of Queen Victoria.

Alice Liddell, the real-life Alice from Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, was courted by Queen Victoria’s youngest son.

Mozart dedicated an aria to his pet Pomeranian and Queen Victoria was crazy about Pomeranians (although the breed of dog she imported from Florence – the Italian Vopino – is now classified as a Spitz and not a Pomeranian).

Schelling gave lectures concerning India, its mythology and philosophy and Victoria was Empress of India.

W. J. Schelling was a German philosopher.

Kaiser Wilhelm was a German ruler.

Mozart spoke German (but he was Austrian).

Lewis Carroll visited Germany on the only trip he took abroad.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was the greatest master of the Classical style.

Schelling was one of the greatest Idealists (along with Fichte and Hegel).

Lewis Carroll is the epitome of a Victorian-era icon.

Kaiser Wilhelm II liked wearing fancy medals, had a crush on his cousin, and was a hunting enthusiast.

Carroll suffered from many ailments. A fever as a child left him deaf in one ear. Whooping cough at age 17 led to a chronic weak chest. And he had a stammer.

Wilhelm II had a withered arm from birth.

The characters from Carroll’s Wonderland books were immortalized by illustrator John Tenniel.

Kaiser Wilhelm is pictured in one of Tenniel’s most famous political cartoons.


Wilhelm watches Bismarck leave the ship of state in Tenneil’s “Dropping the Pilot”

Mozart was a master of any art form he put his pen to, and could play in virtually any musical style.

Schelling radically changed his philosophical outlook so many times, it was hard to pin him down.

Besides being a writer, Carroll was a deacon, photographer, mathematician and logician.

Kaiser Wilhelm II was famously spurned by John Bull and Marianne and shunned on the world stage.

Carroll was spurned by the Lidell family and restricted access to their children.


Wilhelm shunned by Britain and France


Mozart was a child prodigy, writing his first composition at age 5, and taking Europe by storm before he was 10.

Schelling was a very gifted child, learning Greek and Latin by age 8, admitted into the theological seminary at age 15, and writing his first philosophical work at 19.

As an adult, Lewis Carroll enjoyed the company of precocious children.

When Wilhelm was 4 years old, he bit his uncle in the leg.

Winter Wonderland: Meet the Real Alice

Wednesday, January 20th, 2016

This winter, we’re posting about Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland stories. Today’s post is about Alice Liddell, the inspiration for Carroll’s lead character.

If you’re even a remote fan of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, then you’ve heard the origin story: Lewis Carroll enjoyed the company of children, especially young girls, and struck up a friendship with three young daughters of Henry Liddell, the dean of his college. One of these, Alice, became the inspiration for the Alice stories. Carroll first told the Liddell girls the Wonderland story on an outing and Alice told him that he should write it down.

The friendship between Carroll and Alice Liddell ended shortly after the book was published. For reasons unknown (Carroll’s diary pages on the incident have been removed, and Alice’s mother destroyed Carroll’s letters), Alice’s mother began to limit Carroll’s access to her, and they grew apart. There has been much speculation about what led to the split – some of it sinister – but the truth remains unknown.

Young Alice

The rest of Alice’s story is less well known.

At age 20, Alice was rumored to have been courted by Prince Leopold, the youngest son of Queen Victoria. But Alice was a commoner and marriage was not a possibility.

Alice instead married cricketer Reginald Hargreaves. But it’s clear that Alice’s and Prince Leopold’s relationship remained important to the two of them. Alice named her first son Leopold (and the Prince was her godfather) and Leopold named his daughter Alice.

Alice lived the life of a landlady – painting, drawing, doing woodcarvings (one of which can be seen on a door of St. Frideswide’s church in Oxford) and taking care of the estate.

It wasn’t a peaceful life though. Two of Alice’s sons died in the First World War. When her husband died, she couldn’t afford to take care of her home, and needed money to pay death duties. Luckily she had held on to the original manuscript for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland all those years, and she was able to auction it off for an entirely unexpected whopping sum of £15,000 – serious money in those days.

On the centenary of Carroll’s birth in 1932, Alice was invited to New York by Columbia University to attend a Carroll conference and to receive an honorary degree. It was an odd experience for Alice, who was so much in the public eye for a story that really had very little to do with her. After her trip to New York, Alice did her best to stay away from the public, although it was difficult to keep all the journalists and letters at bay.

Alice died in 1934 at age 82.


Older Alice

Winter Wonderland: Adaptations

Thursday, January 14th, 2016

It’s Wintertime finally (it’s taken a long time to reach us in the Northeast US), and the PhLog will be posting over the dark months about the raucous and silly Wonderland books by Lewis Carroll.

Today’s post is about the many – so many – adaptations of these books.

Ever since Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was published in 1865, people have been adapting it for stage and screen.

As early as 1886, the story appeared onstage as a musical pantomime.

A photo from the 1898 revival of the 1886 play.

A photo from the 1898 revival of the 1886 play.

An early British film was the first adaptation on screen. It’s a little rudimentary by modern standards, but it does pretty much tell the story. And unlike our bloated modern movies, it’s a blissful 8 minutes long.

And there were at least two more silent film adaptations, in 1910 and 1915.

And just as soon as talkies hit the scene, Wonderland wasn’t far behind. In 1931, Carroll’s words were heard on screen for the first time.


Of course the Disney version in 1951 was an iconic version for generations of Alice fans.


And the spoofs! There have been so many spoofs!


Yes, yes, “blunder” instead of “wonder.” How clever.

You can watch the Betty Boop one here:

1960s drug culture reinterpreted the stories, most notably in this classic Jefferson Airplane song.

But our favorite adaptation is also one of the creepiest: Czech animator Jan Svankmajer’s Alice, complete with taxidermy animals!

What’s your favorite adaptation of the Alice stories? Share as a comment!