See the guy with the laundry bag? He's wearing a sling belt. Click on the picture for a closer look. This is from Take Ivy and so we're looking at 1965. I remember the belts being very popular in the southeast around the early to mid 80's. They were also advertised heavily by LL Bean in the New Yorker. Sometime in the early 90's I thought I'd like to have one and POOF... They disappeared. Just like the Greek in the joke.
There's this outfit called Colonel Littleton . Very popular with southern Trads. They had a variation of the sling belt that was sold by Willis and Geiger that was bought by Lands' End who ran it into the ground when POOF... Willis and Geiger disappeared. But it wasn't really a sling belt. I looked on and off for this belt going back to 1992. I kid you not. And then one day I found it.
I ordered my belt from these guys. Narragansett Leathers is in Damariscotta, ME. The belt is $36 plus $9 or so for shipping. They're wonderful people who insist you call them to place an order. I like that. They'll also ship world wide. How much can a belt weigh? Those other belts look pretty heavy but the Springfield Rifle Sling belt is very light. It's made in the US. It's affordable. It's damned good looking. It's Trad. Hard to go wrong there. Now it's time for the belt you can drink.
I think it appropriate to kick off the Friday Belt with a Manhattan. I was a bourbon drinker in college and the army. Not so much afterwards. Back then Wild Turkey was my brand. Why? Clint Eastwood ordered it in The Eiger Sanction. Is there a better reason than that? Anyway, I pour 2 ounces of Rye Whiskey in a glass without ice. I like Sazerac a lot. Tough to find but worth the effort.
Add 1 ounce of sweet vermouth. I like Carpano. If you think Sazerac is hard to find wait'll you try and find this stuff. $29 a bottle. Steep for vermouth but this stuff is amazing. I use it in Americanos and there's nothing like it. It comes in a handsome tin that you can mail cigars and screenplays in to big shot film producers who you roommated with in college but now never return your calls or emails.
Being a fairly bitter man -- I like bitters a lot. For a Manhattan I use the two bottles on your far left. A dash of Peychaud's (a Sazerac connection) and two dashes of Regan's Orange bitters. Now add ice and stir with a cocktail spoon. One of those long ones. Stir for 5 minutes or so. Maybe 10. You want it very cold and you want some of that ice to melt. Strain into a chilled martini glass from the freezer and take a sip. Will a cherry or slice of orange help? I dunno. I never have the patience to put that stuff in. Next Friday we'll be looking at wine made with sour grapes. I have a lot of those.