The wooden barn moaned in the wind as Pat looked over Bridgette’s corpse. Though he had instructed neighbors to call the police, the reality of the situation was setting in, and Pat realized that what the police would find here would not bode well for his son. He gathered the evidence: some rope, weed-eater twine, and a blanket, and placed them in a pile to be burned. Perhaps if these items were gone he could get a good lawyer and somehow get his son off on some sort of technicality. Maybe his son, Benson, could plead innocent by reason of insanity. Perhaps they could make it look like an accident. Maybe they could call a friend with a few pigs and make all the evidence disappear. They couldn’t.
Before Pat even got a chance to burn the evidence, the police had arrived.
It wasn’t the first time the police had been called either. Benson and Brigette’s relationship had been volatile since the start. 9-1-1 dispatchers wouldn’t have been surprised by a call from a frantic girlfriend, pleading for help. Maybe she thought a baby would help calm his temper. Maybe he would be more respectful once their daughter arrived. Maybe he’d be a good father.
The family had deep roots in turmoil. The patriarch, Benson Harrison “Pat” O’brien, was a bootlegger, turned speakeasy owner, turned legit barman, godfather of the French Quarter, and ultimately, a Dixie Mafia murder victim.
I could write a very long, very gruesome and dark story about the O’brien family. It would deal with gambling, and money laundering, drug use and abuse and dealing. It would put Boardwalk Empire to shame. It also wouldn’t make for a great primer to this weeks episode, which is decidedly less depressing…
Honestly, when I began researching this weeks TIP, all I wanted to do was tell you about how high fructose corn syrup, citric acid, and money can ruin once decent cocktails, and then google decided that I was gonna go on a ride through endless New Orleans news reports about death and a family whose legacy began with massive success and has lead to various forms of tragedy. On the coattail of Shrove Tuesday, perhaps it is good to have this little confession of dirty secrets, absolve this family name of its black marks, and instead, raise a glass to a new beginning, and hopefully a brighter future for a family that would much rather be known for inventing…
We’ve covered this drink before in “Pipeline Fever”. That recipe will work just fine, but it is a variation on the original (which is NOT what you’re likely getting served in New Orleans these days either). If you can get your hands on some passionfruit syrup, I highly recommend checking out the original recipe below, to get a taste of what Benson Harrison “Pat” O’brien put together that originally put his bar and his family into the history books.
- 2 ounces dark rum
- 1 ounce passion fruit syrup
- 1 ounce fresh lemon juice
- Orange slice and cherry.
Combine rum, syrup and juice with ice and shake vigorously until the mixing tin frosts. Serve in a tall glass or tiki glass over crushed ice, and garnish with an orange and cherry.
Margarita. Have you forgotten how to make it proper? Here's a reminder.
OR Bourbon, neat. As in, NO ICE.