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.

1910 - 1914

Paris and Bloody Marry

Based upon Alois’s diary entries we discovered Bloody Mary originated in the Harry’s Bar in Paris, however, not in 1921, as is generally known. In 1912, as a young man, Alois arrived in Paris to work as a barback alongside Harry Macelhon at the then New York bar. As he learnt from his grandma, he started every day with a glass of his favourite tomato juice. During his late night shifts he began to combine the juice with his favourite vodka. For the longest time, his co-workers in the bar laughed at this habit. However, later they discovered Alois, using this drink, had picked up a charming lady who turned out to be a globally renowned fashion designer. Many years later, Fernand Petiot, who used to work with Alois in the bar, remembered this love cocktail, modified it and started to sell it as Bloody Mary.

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.

1917 - ………

Friendship with al Capone

In Brooklyn, where he worked as a bartender, Alois met a man named Franke Yale. He had no idea this man was the head of the Mafia and accepted his offer to work as the head bartender in Harvard Inn, Yale’s new business. It was 1917 and Alois’s star started to rise. Frankie hired other employees, among them a young 18-year-old man named Alphonse Gabriel Capone. Alois started to call him al and since that time no-one has called him anything else. al worked both as Alois’s barback and Frankie’s bouncer. Unfortunately, as time went by, al became interested more in violence than in the bartender’s trade. He was Frankie’s right-hand man and became a full-time mafioso. Nevertheless, he and Alois continued to be good friends. This is also testified to by the fact Alois later worked as the head alcohol smuggler for Capone‘s organization.

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.

1918

First Note Of Cocktail Maturation

As the head bartender at Cotton Club, New York, Alois was authorized to organize al Capone’s 29th birthday party. The entire American underworld and the Mafia elite were invited. Alois had pre-prepared several barrels with cocktails because he thought the turn-up would be high and killers generally hate to wait for cocktails. The party was a success and no lives were lost. However, a single barrel was left forgotten in the cellar. Six months later, Alois found it and discovered its contents were not bad at all, to the contrary: the cocktail acquired flavour and fineness. This made him think he would not use barrels only to store bootleg alcohol but particularly pre -prepared drinks. He used such drinks as special presents for his chums.

1923 – 1924

Trip to Cuba and Club de Cantineros

During his trip to Cuba his ice skills and knowledge of cocktails charmed several of the local experienced bartenders. He was the sole non-Cuban who stood at the origin of Club de Cantineros. His diary reveals that he himself, as a great lover of vexillology (a scientific study of flags), designed its flag. Several months later, after having worked at local bars, he had to return to the USA. Later he used his Cuba contacts for a rum smuggling operation but his notes do not tell whether he ever returned there. Nevertheless, the local bartenders still remember him as El Grande Aloisio...

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