Austria – Green Tear

Not Just a Band

When Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife were assassinated on June 28, 1914, he had absolutely no clue what his murder would instigate. Despite being the major catalyst for the first World War, this Austrian ruler is a largely forgotten footnote in history. Thankfully, the Sip Advisor is here to teach and while sipping a glass of the country’s fine schnaps, here is a little information on ol’ ‘Double F’ and the tragedy that would change the world!

First World War Problems

Growing Up

Ferdinand and his family lived by the motto: “Good Habsburgs (his family lineage), Good Catholics, and Good Austrians”… that just doesn’t have the same ring to it as “A Lannister always pays their debts.”

At the age of 11, Ferdinand found himself one of the wealthiest men in Austria, after his cousin Duke Francis V died and named Franz his heir on the condition that he add the name Este to his own. Hell, to become one of the wealthiest men in Austria, I’d tattoo the name Este on my member! Rumour has it Ferdinand also had to spend one night in a haunted house, but many are skeptical of this account.

Ferdinand may have never found himself the heir to the Austria-Hungary throne had it not been for his cousin Prince Rudolf (aged 30) committing suicide with his 17-year-old mistress in 1889. Karl Ludwig, Ferdinand’s father, became second in line behind Franz Josef, but quickly renounced the position and passed the rights down to his son.

Throne of Games

As a youngster, Ferdinand spent very little time in Austria, often travelling the world searching for cures to his never-ending stream of illnesses.

Ferdinand’s relationship with the citizens of Austria was always strained due to his lack of time spent within the country’s borders and the feeling that he was an outsider. And not one of those cool greaser outsiders like Patrick Swayze, Emilio Estevez, or Matt Dillon. He still managed to somehow stay gold, though.

An avid hunter, Ferdinand always made sure to schedule at least one hunting trip as part of any official travel for the Empire. He kept a running tab of his hunting exploits and stories state that he killed 2140 birds in one day. My belief is that he wanted to assemble an army of undead animals to do his bidding.

Ferdinand was passionate about landscaping outdoors and interior design inside and was constantly on the lookout for a property in need of fixing up. He could be considered one of the world’s first home flippers. Ferdinand’s eclectic tastes also helped him build a great antique collection, which included 3750 pieces of St. George and the Dragon. Clearly, he had a thing for slaying mythical beasts.

slain da dragon

Finding Love

Women always have a way of muddling things up and that was no different for Ferdinand. His wife Sophie was from a lower social class and even though Franz Josef stated he would not consent to Franz and Sophie’s marriage, the two wed on June 28, 1900. The catch was that Sophie could never receive an official royal title and their children could not succeed Ferdinand as ruler. As a result, Sophie rarely appeared in public beside her husband.

Franz and Sophie had three children: Sophie (I guess you’d call her junior), Maximilian (a name which I hope to bring back to present day popularity), and Ernst (a name which I have no joke to deploy upon).

Sophie was finally allowed to accompany Franz on official business for the empire for his trip to Bosnia in June 1914. The end of the visit would also mark their 14th wedding anniversary. The couple arrived in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914, which is also St. Vitus Day, commemorating the Battle of Kosovo in 1389.

cat-battle

Surprise Attack

The Battle of Kosovo made a martyr out of Milos Obilic, who snuck into the Ottoman Sultan’s tent and killed him before receiving the same fate himself.

Serbians viewed the Austria-Hungary Empire as their new oppressors and there had been other attempted attacks on high-ranking Austria-Hungary members before Ferdinand’s death.

The Black Hand (must have caught a case of gangrene), which carried out the assassination of Franz and Sophie were also responsible for the murders of King Alexander and Queen Draga of Serbia. This act of treachery was committed while the two were together in bed… what a way to go!

Death Sting

First, a grenade was hurled at Ferdinand’s procession by Nedlejko Cabrinovic, but it detonated behind his vehicle and he was not harmed. While any normal person would halt their little parade there, Ferdinand was urged to continue by General Oskar Potiorek who asked, “What, do you think my city is full of assassins?”

Ferdinand insisted that if the trip continued, only major routes should be used and no side streets… unfortunately his own driver was never delivered this message. When the driver took the first schedule turn, there was assassin Gavrilo Princip, waiting for him. Princip had earlier tried to get a shot in at Ferdinand and when he couldn’t retreated to the side street in dejection.

Princip fired only two shots, one into Franz’s neck, the other into Sophie’s stomach. Both proved to be fatal. Ferdinand’s final words to his wife were “’Don’t die! Stay alive for our children!”

Assassination

The Aftermath

Princip and his fellow assassins were rounded up and put on trial. Because he was under the age of 20, Princip did not receive the death penalty and was instead sentenced to 20 years imprisonment. Princip died in his jail cell on April 28, 1918 from tuberculosis. His illness was so bad that his right arm was amputated before his death.

Upon Franz’s assassination, the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, etc.) declared war on Serbia, drawing Serbia’s allies (the UK, Russia, France, etc.) into the fray and creating the first World War.

The 1911 Gräf & Stift Double Phaeton automobile, which carried Franz and Sophie during their fateful procession, is now displayed at the Museum of Military History in Vienna. It’s no Batmobile, but it has its own place in history. The pistol used by Princip, as well as the clothing Ferdinand died in are also displayed at the museum.

Future Museums

The bullet that killed Ferdinand, sometimes referred to as “the bullet that started World War I” is part of an exhibit at Konopiště Castle in the Czech Republic.

Franz and Sophie are buried at Arstetten Castle in Austria. In memoriam, Austria-Hungary released a commemorative stamp featuring the couple. One day there will be a Sip Advisor stamp tribute that will taste like schnaps with each lick!

Austria: Green Tear

Green Tear Cocktail

  • 1 oz Mata Hari Absinthe
  • Top with Cranberry Juice
  • Splash of Tonic Water
  • Garnish with a Lemon Slice

Well, that wraps up our stay here in Austria. It should be noted that the country can also claim to be home to famous world citizens like Sigmund Freud, Adolf Hitler, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. That would be an interesting table to sit at for a dinner party!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
Well, as you can see, the drink is certainly not green. On the plus side, this was a really decent Absinthe cocktail. I think the combo of Cranberry Juice and Tonic Water is perfect to go along with the very bitter Absinthe. If you’re weary of the hallucinogenic spirit, give this recipe a try and your mind may be changed for the long run!

Cuba – Seven Sinful Years

Smoke Shop

As we wrap up our all-too-brief stay at one of Cuba’s all-inclusive resorts, it’s time to pick up some souvenirs for the folks back at home. A must-have, providing you’re not returning to the United States, is Cuban cigars. Mrs. Sip picked up one for me when she visited the Communist country a few years ago and it was one fine stogie. Here are some interesting facts on Cuba’s trademark treat:

cigar

Torcedores are recognized worldwide as being the best cigar rollers and are greatly respected in their homeland of Cuba. In the Seinfeld episode ‘The English Patient’, Kramer brings his own Cuban cigar rollers to New York City, but they are merely Dominicans posing as Cubans. This causes Kramer’s financial backing to fall through and his latest entrepreneurial enterprise to fail. The Dominican’s go on to roll crepes in a restaurant, but roll them too tightly, causing filling to burst out of the pastry and burn customers.

President John F. Kennedy signed the United States trade embargo against Cuba (which is still in effect today) in 1962… but the wily politician waited until he received 1,200 H. Upmann brand petit corona Cuban cigars before putting his pen to paper! It was also revealed later that the trade embargo originally sought to have cigars be exempt. The whole ordeal has branded Cuban cigars as “forbidden fruit” within the U.S. Some Cuban cigar manufacturers moved their operations to the Dominican Republic so they could maintain a profitable partnership with America.

It has been estimated that 95% of the cigars advertised as being “Cuban” and sold in the U.S. are counterfeit. Buyers beware when grabbing smokes across the States.

One Sigmund Freud (the famous and groundbreaking psychoanalyst) was a Cuban cigar aficionado. When asked about the phallic shape of cigars, of which Freud smoked about 20 per day, he replied, “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.” Freud’s smoking habit led to him suffering cancer of the jaw and eventually led to his death, which was done in an assisted suicide manner.

Freud Cigar

The Cohiba cigar company was established to honour Cuban leader Fidel Castro, with products manufactured only for “friends of the Revolution”. The company finally launched commercial sales in 1982. Interestingly, Cohiba only employs female cigar rollers.

Cuban cigars have gained their reputation and popularity as the world’s top choice in smoking thanks in large part to the country’s environment and temperatures. The island’s humidity makes growing and drying the tobacco leaves easy, especially the leaves used to wrap the cigar, said to be the most important part of the production. The U.S. trade embargo has also caused the cigars to gain a mystique about them, adding a quality of danger to the stogie, as well as driving prices up.

Revolutionist, Che Guevara, once said, “A smoke in times of rest is a great companion to the solitary soldier.” That about sums up the item used to celebrate weddings, births, and other landmark events in one’s life.

Cuba: Seven Sinful Years

Seven Sinful Years Drink Recipe

  • Muddle Slices of Ginger
  • 2 oz Havana Club Rum
  • 0.5 oz Triple Sec
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Dash of Angostura Bitters
  • Garnish with a Lime Wheel

I don’t smoke very often at all, but every once in a while, it’s fun to light a cigar up and relax with a drink in the other hand. This is all preferably done in the comfort of a hot tub, so if anyone is offering, I’ll be over as soon as possible!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
I don’t know what it is about Ginger, but it seems to work in cocktails, given your libation that extra little bite of flavour. I was worried that this drink would be quite strong with the high Rum quotient, but it wasn’t. It even passed the Mrs. Sip test!