Cappuccino (and Mulligan)

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Sat Nov 4 03:02:52 UTC 2000

    Patrick Murphy moved to San Francisco in 1949, and he wrote about
"Cappuccino."  It's similar stuff to what I had posted here before.
    "Mulligan" is listed in the same column and is thrown in for OED "M"

28 March 1949, TAP & TAVERN, "The Barman's Corner by Patrick Murphy," pg. 15,
col. 1:

    An unusual libation but one which you may hear about now and then, and
that you'll certainly hear "on cal." in a strictly provincial Italian
neighborhood in any large U.S.A. city, is Cappuccino.  It is pronounced
'cah-poo-cheen' oe' and is spelled variously, which means that we aren't
certain our spelling of it is correct.
   Places which feature Cappuccino can serve the drink thanks to a specially
installed steam generating device which sits on the backbar and resembles in
all respect the regular old-fashioned coffee urn.  It's a gadget which is a
necessary part of the true drink, hence one reason you'll seldom find the
drink mentioned outside of a specialized bistro.
   To make the mixture, the bartender takes about a level teaspoon of ground
chocolate, mixes this with a little milk to form a chocolate paste, and does
the mixing right in the glass in which it is to be served.  This is very
often a stem goblet of 5-6 ounce capacity, resembling a hot toddy glass.
Once the chocolate is mixed, the drink is put under the spigot of the urn we
mentioned, and a specially designed (we think) flow of steam is introduced,
making a hot drink that at the same time thoroughly mixes with the milk and
the chocolate.  Finally, a shot of brandy is added, and the drink is placed
before the patron with a sugar bowl on the side, in the event he wants to
sweeten it up.
   We list it "for the record."  You'll probably not get a call for it, but
in the event you do, that's the pitch.
   To that Penna. reader who asked about "mulligan"--we're still working on
sources for a really authoritative answer, recipe and all.  West Coast
bartenders, by the way, know nothing about the mixture, as contrasted to
Eastern barmen, who work with draft beer.

18 April 1949, TAP & TAVERN, "The Barman's Corner by Patrick Murphy," pg. 8,
col. 1:

   A few weeks ago this column mentioned Cappuccino--a new drink to us and
one which we first came upon in the sizeable Italian colony of San Francisco.
 The drink, as we told you, is made by mixing chocolate powder with milk, by
placing this under a device which resembles a large coffee urn, and by
injecting live steam into the drink via said device.  The shot of brandy (or
rum or whiskey) is then added.
   We have continued our researches into the matter and this week met up with
the actual inventor of Cappuccino, who gave us the full and complete story.
He is Fred Landi, proprietor of La Tosca, a quality restaurant located on San
Francisco's Bohemian Columbus Ave.  The La Tosca boasts, in the way or
murals, two scenes from the opera "La Tosca," and between these huge pictures
is a portrait of the composer himself, Giacomo Puccini (b. 1858, d. 1924).
On an opposite wall hang photo murals of the Colisseum at Rome, the Appian
Way and other landmarks of that great city.  Underneath this is a backbar
sign which announces that this is the original home of Cappuccino, that it is
copyrighted (The other article said "patented"--ed.), and that copyright
protection is assured the owner.  This last was big news to us, for until
that moment we had assumed that the word was a general term, like "cocktail,"
or "highball" or "julep."  Not so, Mr. Landi assured us.
  . . .
   It seems that back in 1937 Mr. Landi ordered from Italy an Italian coffee
urn which produces "Cafe Expresso."  In this type of drink the grounds are
put right into the urn for each serving, the steam then goes through them and
more or less instanter a piping cup of jet black coffee is served, there
having been no escape whatsoever of flavor.  Cafe Expresso is variously
spelled (one club in San Francisco merely calls it "Express Coffee," and then
adds "Royal" for the shot that usually goes into the potation), and is a
nationally known Italian drink.
   Mr. Landi figured that, so long as the Cafe Expresso machine was on the
premises, he would popularize a chocolate drink, too.  Casting about for a
suitable name, it occurred to him that Benedictine, with its monastic
trademark, was a novel enough approach to capture public attention.  He also
noted that the gowns of Capuchin monks were chocolate colored in their hooded
austerity.  Hence, he reasoned, why not call the hot chocolate drink
"Cappuccino," after the hooded monks of the Franciscan order, particularly
(Col. 2--ed.) after the color of their robes.
   The name once established, Mr. Landi had it copyrighted.  (I checked
patents, but not copyrights.  I'll go to DC to check it out--ed.)  It has
since "caught on" very much here in San Francisco, so much so that we for one
were led to believe it was a general term for a drink, not suspecting that it
was a copyrighted private label.  Similar names in the trade which are
privately owned, and which are often mistaken for general titles, include the
Bacardi Cocktail, and the Sazerac Cocktail and Pisco Punch, to name but
three.  Cappuccino is a member of this privately owned classification, and we
are pleased to be able to set the facts straight for the mixologists in the

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