Q is for Queen of the May

Dear reader, I have three confessions to make.

First, "Queen of the May" is a bit of a misnomer. The drink is better known as "May Queen", both of which are short for the drink's full and proper name, "To-morrow'll be of all the year the maddest, merriest day, for I'm to be Queen of the May, mother, I'm to be Queen of the May." As you might imagine, the full name can be a bit cumbersome to call out in a crowded bar.

Second, unlike every other cocktail in this A to Z catalog, which I have at one time or another actually tasted, I have not, in truth, had the pleasure of drinking a May Queen. One of the reasons I've never had this drink is that it is fictional (which is why I felt a bit better about garbling up the name in order to fit under a blog post about a "Q" cocktail, which, let's be honest, is a bit tough to swing no matter who you are.)

The May Queen was described by P.G. Wodehouse's Lord Ickenham (aka Uncle Fred, aka Uncle Dynamite) in the novel Uncle Fred in the Springtime, a first edition of which I happen to be the proud owner. Uncle Fred describes the drink thusly:
Its foundation is any good, dry champagne, to which is added liqueur brandy, armagnac, kummel, yellow chartreuse and old stout, to taste.

Another reason I've never had one is that it's a bloody complicated and expensive drink to make. It also sounds like the kind of thing that energetic young men on a pub crawl would order for each other late in the evening, then spend an hour daring each other to slug down.

Still, the May Queen regularly makes the lists for the most famous literary cocktails of all time, so I'm proud to give it a place here.

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