1897 - 1905
Childhood in Vizovice
As a young boy, Alois spent every summer at his grandparents’ in Vizovice. He had never been like the other kids who climbed trees, engaged in fights with other children from nearby villages and swam in the local fish-pond. He preferred to help his grandma, an avid gardener, to weed her flower and vegetable beds and pick fruit. Together, they used the plentiful crops of strawberries, currents, gooseberries and apples to make home-made syrups and purées. Plumbs which they picked in his grandparents’ orchard went to the new local distillery where Alois’s grandfather worked as the head taster. To his grandma’s chagrin, grandfather’s job became his hobby, as well. Grandfather used most of the fruit from grandma’s garden in his home-made distillery. So in his early years Alois learnt to make the best fruit syrups and the strongest spirits.
1911 - 1914
The First Big Love
The years in Paris brought probably the biggest love into Alois’s long and colourful life. During his working at Harry’s Bar, yet not too famous at that time, he fell in love with a beautiful brunette named Gabrielle. It was her who under the name of Coco Chanel became an icon in the world of women’s fashion. Before the discovery of his diary no-one knew that he was the one behind Chanel’s greatest fashion ideas such as the glass pearl necklace or the original shirt-dress. In May 1941, on his last work night before his departure for the USA, Alois asked Coco out to the bar where he gave her his favourite checked shirt and a necklace he had made himself using ice balls he usually decorated his cocktails with. In 1916, to honour her big secret love she would never see again, Coco designed her famous suits inspired by Alois’s shirt and made necklaces similar to those she had received from him. Based upon this story, we can confidently claim the first ice ball used in a cocktail came from Alois’s hands.
1917 - 1932
The Film Phase
After he arrived in the USA Alois initially had trouble finding work so he set out across the country. After a long and arduous journey he reached Los Angeles, specifically Hollywood. He tried to make a breakthrough as an actor but his first opportunity came in 1917 when “The Adventurer” with Sir Charlie Chaplin was being made. Charlie had to learn something of the bartender’s trade. Alois was an excellent teacher and Charlie looks like a true bartender on the screen. This was not the only experience Alois made with film. Soon after he set out to go to New York where he met Gustav Machatý, his friend, who left his homeland to study film-making in the USA. With some exaggeration we can say that a few years later Gustav Machatý and Alois were to lay the groundwork for the contemporary film pornography. Together they worked on “Erotikon” (1928) and “Extasy” (1932) the first film in the world to feature a naked women.
1924 - 1925
The Origin Of The Zombie Cocktail
In the late 1920s and early 1930s, Alois at that time a well-known figure of the American underworld and his crime organization searched for new sources of bootleg alcohol for the American market. In 1925 he was sent to Jamaica to establish contact with local rum producers. One afternoon, at the Mandeville hotel where he was staying, he met a man in a straw hat. Several glasses later, they made a spontaneous agreement on smuggling alcohol into the USA. To celebrate the deal, in a state of advanced drunkenness, Alois made his favourite drink made of three portions, equal in amount, of three various types of rum and other additional ingredients. The following morning, still three sheets into the wind, he rushes back to Chicago with the good news not knowing that the man in the hat was none other than Don the Beachcomber. Later, Beachcomber improved Alois’s recipe and introduced it as his own drink under the name Zombie.