The Admiral Benbow Inn. It's a place where Jim Hawkins stayed in Treasure Island, and it shares a name with this cocktail I'll get to in a moment. But for anyone from Memphis, there's a far different association.
There are good hotels, affordable but clean motels, and places that are a little sketchy but sometimes the only option when there's a big convention in town or you just need a few hours of shuteye before getting back on I-40 heading toward one of the coasts. There are the places that show up on the news for various criminal activity, and then there's the Admiral Benbow. By the 1980s it was a haven for all sorts of weird, sad crime. If you had a friend who called in tears and needed a ride home at two in the morning, it wouldn't be too much of a surprise to find him at the Admiral Benbow, missing his car, wallet, and most of his pride.
It was the site of the 1986 Memphis Trousers Affair, in which former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser was found in the lobby wearing nothing but a towel, and confused as to where his pants were.
This is an older and somewhat obscure cocktail, but it contains classic ingredients and proportions. You're supposed to use Plymouth Gin, but in tribute to the Inn I went a little downmarket with a regular domestic gin.
The Admiral Benbow Cocktail
2 oz. Plymouth Gin
½ oz. Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
1 oz. Dry White Vermouth
Garnish with Citrus Peel and Maraschino Cherry
Combine everything but the garnish in a cocktail mixer with ice. I tried one shaken and one stirred, and found that I preferred the cloudy appearance of the shaken version. Reminded me a bit of some bad motels I've stayed in across the country where you get a glass of water from the tap and it has to settle for a few minutes before it's no longer cloudy.
The cocktail has a nice balance of elements, though the lime juice covers up most of the vermouth. Sort of a very tart martini, and while it won't be in the main rotation, I think I'll come back to it every once in a while. The stories alone are worth it.