In the beginning of 1944, the allies were being kept from capturing Rome by German army elements holding the Rapido-Gari, Liri, and Garigliano valleys. Monte Cassino, a Benedictine Abbey founded in 529AD dominated the landscape and was believed to be serving as a German lookout post. The allies dropped thousands of pounds of ordinance on the abbey in an attempt to neutralize its use. The bombing proved fruitless and actually allowed German paratroopers to set up an almost impregnable defensive position in the rubble of the monastery.
For four months the allies assaulted Monte Cassino in an attempt to remove the German blockade. Finally, on May 18, 1944, Monte Cassino fell and the flag of Poland was raised above the ruins – Poland providing the unit that finally lodged the Germans from their positions.
In tribute to the many lives that were lost in the capturing of this iconic landmark, thus enabling the allies to finally take Rome from the Nazis, I present the Monte Cassino cocktail*:
1oz. Rye Whiskey
1oz. Yellow Chartreuse
1oz. Lemon Juice
3/4oz. Cold Water
Shake the ingredients with crushed ice, strain and serve with a lemon twist
*(from “365 Days of Cocktails…”)