The Boothby Fog Cutter was invented by my Great Grandfather, and is a catchup drink (for when you arrive late to a party). It is deceptively simple to make. Judge it right and you will catch up within ten minutes. Get it wrong and you can overshoot by a week! Here is my Cousin Bobs' explanation;
The Boothby Fogcutter
My Boothby grandfather was an interesting man aside from his exotic pets he was a bit of an inventor. He came up with all kind of things, mainly aeronautic despite being a naval man.
His one invention that has directly impacted my life was the 'Boothby Fogcutter'. Described as a 'catch-up drink', he invented it so that when he arrived at parties late where everyone was several drinks merrier, he could be as merry as them within 10 minutes.
The recipe is as simple as it is fiendish:
Take a half pint glass.
Add 1-4 shots of dark naval rum depending on how much catching up you need to do.
Fill the rest of the glass with cider. I preferred dry but with a sweet cider it is described as tasting like an inferior Tokay.
The real problem with this drink is gauging how much to catch up. It is all too easy to overshoot. It is also worth noting that under no circumstances should this be drunk at any time other than at the start of a session of drinking as I have learnt to my cost.
I introduced the 'Boothby Fogcutter' to my college at Cambridge in my second year and I don't think that Corpus Christi ever recovered. A number of deplorable incidents ensued, usually because the drinkers did not judge the shots of rum correctly or drank it later in the evening after already getting merry.
The incident that sticks most in my memory was at one of Corpus' annual Rugby Club dinners. These were alway boozy affairs.
The routine of the evening was extremely well defined. The club members would meet up in the college bar for a few pints at six o'clock. At around half past seven we would head up to a reception room to make a start on the sherry. At 8 o'clock we would be seated to eat, accompanied by the mandatory fellow of the college who would have to sit in on any function making use of the college facilities. There were invariably three courses, each accompanied by a different wine. The main course was alway a posh variant on steak and chips. After dessert we would start in on the port and after that was finished various people would be sent to the college bar for further supplies of alcohol. At about 10:30 we would pour ourselves out and adjourn to the bar for a few more convivial drinks and, if any of us were still standing, we would see what else would happen.
The year that I introduced the 'Boothby Fogcutter' proceeded along the lines of any other I was pretty well lubricated by the time that the port was finished and when volunteered to get further supplies I decided that this was an opportune moment to introduce the rugby club to a new drink.
I staggered into the bar and somehow managed to convince the bar manager that what I really wanted was 22 'level 2' Boothby Fogcutters. I felt that 2 shots of rum each would be sufficient. Carrying a heavily laden tray I made my way back to the dinner.
Looking back, the major warning sign came when I tried to mount a flight of steps carrying the tray and lost my footing. I fell, but was in that peculiar elevated state that the very drunk have that allows them to keep their containers of alcohol intact. There was a little sloshing but I managed to keep all 22 glasses on the tray and largely full.
Arriving back at the table of drunken rugby players I dispensed my largesse. A couple of people declined and despite my suggestions to the contrary the responsible, senior fellow decided to have two. My last recollections of the evening were of the start of a round of the 'I have never' game where you stand up and drink if you have.
I woke up the following day in a terrible state. I had mixed grain and grape and had had a 'Boothby Fogcutter' halfway through a nights drinking. I had lost my glasses, I was pretty sure that I had been sick given the state of my mouth and chin and had an enormous bruise on my left shoulder.
Over the course of the next couple of days I reconstructed what I had done. I had made it back down to the bar and then gone into the JCR (Junior Combination Room - basically a common room with seating) where I had decided to join in a game of rugby using a rolled up newspaper. My fellow prop forward Tom and a guy named Ed had tackled me and I had gone shoulder first through the closed double doors of the neighbouring television room, taking one of them off their hinges. I then staggered forwards through the assembled viewers to the front of the television room and stood being sick out of the window behind the television for about 5 minutes. At the time I had not realised that there was a bicyle under the window and with uncanny accuracy I had targeted the seat.
After that night I never drank heavily again. The 'Boothby Fogcutter' continued to cause mischief around college and I'm pretty sure continues to cause havoc wherever Corpus people go.
I leave my final thoughts with the fellow of the college who became the first to be up before the Dean for discipline in several decades. I still don't know what he got up to after the second fogcutter.