Guillermo L. Toro-Lira – January 1, 2009
I had already been told in New York about the ‘Morris Bar’ and specially about the drinks but really one has to taste them to know how good they are. My favorite [is] ‘Pisco Sour’.
James Sanguesa, February, 1926.
This article presents the results of a study of the Morris’ Bar Visitors Register of Lima, Peru, which covers the years from 1916 until 1929. This is the first study of the register, which was in the possession of the Morris Family for 78 years, who resides in the United States and that kindly permitted taking photographic copies for the preparation of this analysis. It have been included in between [ ] and in smaller font characters, some expansions and historical inferences, that where prepared from the data found in the registry and that provided by the Family.
General Physical Characteristics
The registry measures 23 inches wide, 12 inches high and 1 5/8 inches thick. It has a front cover composed of red leather and brown corduroy cloth with a label printed in gold ink that reads: MORRIS’ BAR VISITORS REGISTER. It has 82 signed pages for a total of more than 2,200 signatures. Each page has a total capacity of 27 signatures.
All the pages have the title of MORRIS’ BAR REGISTER in black ink and six primary vertical columns in red ink with the following titles in black ink: Registry Date; NAME; ARRIVED, which contains two sub-columns titled DATE and FROM; DEPARTED with two sub-columns titled DATE and FOR; HOME ADDRESS; and COMMENTS & REMARKS.
Analysis of the First Page – Beginning of the Bar
The first page of the registry gives important revelations about the history of Morris’ Bar, never known before. The first line has been written by Victor Vaughen Morris himself, who signs as “V. V. Morris”. In the date column he writes “April 1st ‘16” and immediately to the right: “April’s Fool Day”. Gives as address ”Salt Lake City, Utah” and in the comments he wrote: “Padrino: Mr. Dan’l C. Babbitt” (Godfather: Mr. Dan’l C. Babbitt). The second line was signed by D. C. Babbitt. The date of registry is October 9, 1922 and indicates that he came to Peru on August of 1903, from New York; gives an address in the city of Morristown, New Jersey and writes in the comments: “Friend of Vic for 20 years.”
The date of Babbitt ‘s signature, as well as from all of the following signatures, permits us to conclude that Victor Morris started the registry at the beginning of October of 1922, that the bar was inaugurated on April’s Fools Day (April 1st) of 1916, and that its Godfather was Daniel C. Babbitt. When Morris created the register he wrote the date of the bar’s inauguration retroactively.
[Daniel “Dan” Craig Babbitt was born in New Jersey in 1870, he was comptroller of the Cerro de Pasco Mining Company and later of the Cerro de Pasco Copper Corporation, since 1903. He was director of the bank Banco del Perú y Londres en 1919 and of the Peruvian mining society of Sociedad Minera Backus y Johnson, that owned the Casapalca y Morococha mines, in 1920.]
The next six signatures, signed in between October 5 and 6 of 1922, are from employees of the bar. These are, in order of registry: Leonidas Arteta, Augusto S. Rodriguez, Hernan B. Bruijet, Alfonso G. Matos, Rafael S. Vargas, y Victor H. Conde. The dates shown at the right of each signature are their employment dates, written also in a retroactive way. These dates are, respectively: May 1916, November 1916, February 1919, August 1921, April 1922, and October 1920. The places of origin of each employee are indicated as: Huánuco, Trujillo, Chincha Alta, Huánuco, Callao, y Lima – Cuzco.
In addition, Rodriguez, Bruijet and Matos give their arrivals dates to Lima, which are July 27, 1907, December 22, 1915 and April 23, 1921, respectively. In the Comments section Rodriguez writes “tierra de hombres y de gran cielo” (“land of men and great sky”), referring, presumably, to his hometown of Trujillo. Bruijet writes in his comments “Gallinazo” (crow), possibly his nickname, followed by “Chincha Alta” (his home town) and a short indecipherable writing. To the immediate right of four of the six signatures there is the word “ladron” (thief), written at a later date and presumably after a certain event or events that were not of Victor Morris likeliness, subject that will be discussed later.
It must be mentioned that in later pages of the registry there have identified two other employees of the bar. On February 18, 1925, a Mario Bruijet, a close relative to Hernán Bruijet, signs and registers July 16, 1924 as his employment date and indicates he arrived to Lima on December 22, 1915, the same date reported by Hernán Bruijet in 1922. He indicates that he lives in “La Pólvora” (and unknown site in Lima) and in his comments writes “Gallinazo 2do” (2nd crow) and an indecipherable word. On February 22, 1927, a Juan de Dios Mejía signs, indicates he came from Huaráz and writes “empleado Morris Bar” (employee of Morris’ Bar).
The next signature, dated October 4th, is from a J.T. Glidden, possibly the first registrant not associated with the bar. He writes that he came to Peru from New York on January 25, 1908 and that he resided North Abington, Massachusetts. He writes in the comments section: “Perfection is made of attention to trifles and yet perfection is no trifle”, thus praising the service provided by Morris.
[John Tinker Glidden was born in Massachusetts in 1883, he was a mining engineer that worked in the Yauricocha mine owned by the Peruvian Copper & Smelting Co. in 1920. He was married to a Peruvian lady (whose name was Angélica) and had two daughters.]
That same day nine other people signed the registry. These are, with their place of residence in parenthesis: V.T. Whitefield (Sidney, Ohio), Harry Boeland (Miami – Arizona), H.M. Bison (London), J.P. Lacerda (San Jose, California), K. Kolbede (Odense, Denmark), P.V. St-Clair (Los Angeles), H. O’Higgins (Nueva York), D.A. Lindley (n.d.), y Lytton Chas. Bernard (St. Louis, Missouri).
[John P. Lacerda was born in the Azores Islands in 1868 from a wealthy family. He moved to San Francisco, California in 1882 where he worked in hotels, restaurants, mining, and finances. In 1906 he opened a retail grocery and liquor store plus a wholesale commission market in San Jose, California, which he significantly expanded in 1919. Lacerda could have been a liquor provider for Morris’ Bar.]
On the next day, October 5, 1922, nine more people sign and conclude the entries of the first page of the registry. These people are: Manuel Erquiaga (“espalda Santa Clara #483,” a Lima address), Hw. R. Runyen (South Beach, Connecticut), Ernest Collitt (England), C.N. Griffis (Chicago), A.W. Shaw M.D. (Pittsburg), José R. Lindley (n.d.), José R. Lindley (hijo)[son] (n.d.), Nicolás F. Lindley (n.d.), y Aug. Field (“Avenida Magdalena”, a Lima address). The last five registrants wrote April 1st, 1916 as their arrival date, which corresponds to the date of bar’s inauguration, thus indicating retroactively that they were present during that event.
[Cecil N. Griffis was born in 1880 in Minnesotta and later lived in Chicago. He arrived in Lima in 1913 where he opened a weekly newspaper called The West Coast Leader, a publication written in English that targeted the Anglo-Saxon population of Lima. Victor Morris published several advertisements of the bar in that periodical. Later, The West Coast Leader becomes The Peruvian Times, still in existence.]
[José R. Lindley was born in Doncaster, England in 1858. He emigrated to Lima in 1910 accompanied by his wife and eight children. He opened in the Rimac district of Lima a small soda water factory that he named “Fábrica de Aguas Gasificadas “Santa Rosa” de José R. Lindley e Hijos” (Santa Rosa Soda Water Factory owned by Jose R. Lindley and Sons). His first soda water product was named Santa Rosa, in honor of the Peruvian saint. The initial production of one bottle per minute was raised to fifteen per minute in 1918 after the installation of semi-automatic machinery. The presence of the Lindley Family during the inauguration of the Morris’ Bar suggests that they could have been the provider of the soda water used in the preparation of the “fizzes” and possibly other cocktails served there and that Morris could have been an important client during the initial development of that factory. In 1935, Jose R. Lindley Jr. introduces Inca Kola, currently own by the Coca Cola Company, and sold as Golden Cola in the United States.]
Some of the comments written during those two days help to give us an idea about the Morris’ Bar in 1922. Among them there are the following (the author’s name is shown in parenthesis): “God’s Nobleman is here” (P.V. St-Clair), “Thanks God for ‘Legitimate Drinks’” (Lython Chas. Bernard), “Three rousing cheers!” (Manuel Erquiaga), “Here’s to each other to one other” (Ernest Collitt), “Good – DRINKS” (Aug. Field).
Among expressions that denote the typical exuberance shown in any good bar, there are some that show a real satisfaction for being able to drink legitimate liquors, which was understandable because the liquors available in Lima in those days left much to be desired, especially to the foreign taste.
[Don Abelardo Gamarra “El Tunante”, a folklore writer and the person that gave the name of “Marinera” to the Peruvian national dance, allows us to have an idea about the alcohol activities of Lima at that time, when he writes the following in 1907:
In the main streets and in the most visible places, the drinking joints display batteries of “botijas” [clay jars for storing pisco] and bottles, as if telling the foreigner: This is not the City of The Kings, but the City of the Fans (of liquor)… and the people are not satisfied with a little cup of regular size, the cups of aguardiente [pisco] have stretched so much and they look as older sisters of a water cup… People drink a lot and bad drinks, because liquor stores, not being able to supply the consumption with the original broth, they mix it with alterations and invent thousand concoctions with capricious names.
It is under the historical context well described by Abelardo Gamarra that the Morris’ Bar is born in Lima. Victor Morris provides genuine and the best liquors available, thus filling the void that the significant Anglo-Saxon population felt at that time, which was of a relative economic boom. Morris understood that population because he lived thirteen years in the faraway and cold Peruvian mountains of Cerro de Pasco, experimenting with several local and imported liquors.]
Distinguished Registry Entries
Other than the persons already mentioned, several important and famous people in several aspects of the World and Peruvian history have been identified. Following some of them will be presented with their date of registry, place of residence and comments if available, plus a short biographical summary. They have been organized according to their branch of work. A famous San Franciscan bartender that visited the bar in 1927 will be discussed in a later section.
– Roberto L. Pflucker – October 6, 1922 – Rancho [Ranch] Pflucker, Chorrillos
“Died Jan[uar]y 5th 1923 R.I.P” [added by Morris at a later date]
[Roberto L. Pflucker was owner and president of the Peruvian mining company “Compañía Santa Inés y Morococha” in 1911. In 1912, the company was sold to the Haggin sindicate of New York (Cerro de Pasco Mining Co.), and was later merged with other companies to form the Cerro de Pasco Copper Corporation in 1915.]
– Alberto Brazzini – June 20, 1923 – Valladolid 246 altos [Lima]
[Alberto Brazzini was born in 1899 in La Merced, Chanchamayo, Peru. Went to Lima and graduated in the School of Mines in 1920. Studied in the United States where he obtained his Master in Mining Engineering. Returned to Lima in 1923, where he was in charge of the Alejandría de Puquio Cocha mine in Morococha, for forty years. He was President of the National Society of Mines and Oil. He died in 1985.]
– Roger W. Straus – March 23, 1925 – 120 Broadway New York City
“Pisco Sour’s for me.”
[Roger Williams Straus was President of the Board of Directors of the American Smelting & Refining Co., which was owned by his wife’s family (Guggenheim). He was brother of Isidor Straus, founder of the retail chain Macy’s, and who died drowned in the Titanic.]
– A. L. Kroeber – June 25, 1925 – University of California, Berkeley, California
[Alfred Louis Kroeber was Director of the Anthropology Museum of the University of California, Berkeley. He worked with the Peruvian archeologist Dr. Julio C. Tello in the Paracas and Nazca regions in 1925, 1926 y 1927. After returning in 1927, a California newspaper published an article sub-titled “Dr. A.L. Kroeber Returns From Explorations Where Pisco Punch Born” referring to his explorations in the areas around the city of Pisco. Kroeber published in 1960 the book titled The Archaeology and Pottery of Nazca, Peru.]
– R. Larco – June 20, 1928 – Alfonso Ugarte 117, Miraflores [Lima]
“Aquí he tomado los mejores cocktails” (I have tried the best cocktails here).
[Rafael Larco Hoyle, born in Chicama, Peru in 1901, studied in the United States until 1923. In 1925, his father Rafael Larco Herrera bought several thousand of archeological artifacts from his brother in law Alfredo Hoyle. On July 28, 1928, Rafael Larco Hoyle opens the Rafael Larco Herrera Museum. Larco Hoyle registered in Morris’ Bar one month before of the museum’s opening, accompanied by his cousin Luis Bernales Larco and two other people.]
– M. S. Marsden – March 29, 1923 – Royal Aero Club, London
[M. S. Marsden was a British aviator that had an active participation during Worl War I. With the rank of Mayor he commanded an squadron of six airplanes that droped 2,700lbs of bombs during the bombardment of Durazzo, on October 2nd, 1918. The bombardment of that Austrian port, now located in the country of Albania, was a decisive naval battle for the eventual victory of the allied forces.]
– Elmer J. Faucett – July 7, 1923 – Savona New York
[The aviator Elmer J. “Slim” Faucett was born en 1891 in Savona, Nueva York. He goes to Peru in 1920. On October 5, 1922, he is the first man to fly across the Andes mountains on his trip from Lima to Iquitos. Faucett registers this event in the bar’s registry retroactively. In 1928 he founded the Compañia de Aviación Faucett (Faucett Airlines), important Peruvian airline until 1999.]
– A. Revoredo I. – October 10, 1924 – New York (November 24, 1923)
“The best whiskey sour are made in Morris Bar ¡¡Truly!!”
[Armando Revoredo Iglesias was born in Contumaza, Cajamarca in 1897, studied medicine in Lima’s San Marcos University in 1913 and later in Madrid. Returned to Lima in 1923 and joined the Peruvian Aero Club. In 1935 he made the first non-stop flight from Lima to Bogota. He was Ministry of Aviation and Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1948. He died in 1978. The airport of Cajamarca carries his name.]
– J. Ramón Montero – September 22, 1926 – Hacienda Caucato Pisco
“I forgot to register nine years ago”
[In 1913, the Peruvian aviator Juan Ramón Montero made the first flight from Lima to Pisco flying a Bleirot airplane. Infers that he first visited Morris’ Bar around 1917, nine years before he signed the registry. He was part owner of the Hacienda Caucato, a farm that mainly produced sugar and was one of the most important of Pisco in those days. Montero might have been involved in the distribución of pisco to the Morris’ Bar.]
– Nelson Rounsevell – December 24, 1923 – 3360 Laguna Ave. Oakland Cal.
[Nelson “N.R.” Rounsevell, an adventurer and a professional gambler, was born in Nebraska in 1878. He met Victor Morris in the Esperanza club of Cerro de Pasco while searching for new horizons. In 1914, encouraged by Bell Taylor and Victor Morris, he remodeled the Peruvian club Union and opened a gambling saloon. Victor guaranteed the liquor accounts with local and Lima distribution firms. Rounsevell returns to the U.S. in 1915 and comes back to Lima in 1922, where he works for the weekly magazine The West Coast Leader selling advertisements. Morris’ Bar was one of his clients. Later he traveled to Chile where he bought the magazine The South Pacific Mail, enterprise that failed. In 1925, he traveled to Panama and founded the magazine The Panama Times.]
– Richard Halliburton – September 11, 1928 – Memphis Tennessee
[Richard Halliburton was born in Tennessee in 1900. He was a famous traveler, adventurer and writer. He visited Lima in 1928, where as a Cultural Ambassador met Peruvian President Augusto B. Leguía. He was the first man to swim the Panama Canal. He disappeared in a Chinese junk when sailing from Hong Kong to San Francisco for the inauguration of the Golden Gate International Exposition of 1939.]
– Carlos Campo R. – November, 1922 – Santiago, Mtrio. de Relaciones (Foreign Affairs)
“He brindado por la Confraternidad Chileno – Peruana” (I have toasted for the Chilean and Peruvian friendship)
[Carlos Campo Rencoret was Consul General of Chile in Calcutta, India en 1917. Possibly he fought in the Battle of Arica of June 7, 1880 with the rank of captain.]
– W. L. Orvis – February 12, 1926 – New York, Ny
“Tacna – Arica Plebiscitary Com.”
[W. L. Orvis was a member of the Tacna -Arica Plebiscitary Commission, formed in 1925 and led by General John J. Pershing. It was formed by order of the U.S. President Calvin Coolidge, per request of the Governments of Peru and Chile, with the goal of solving the diplomatic conflict of the cities of Tacna and Arica. The commission failed and was dissolved in 1926.]
[NOTE. The registry shows some indications of considerable Peruvian nationalism for the Tacna and Arica conflict. Between August 20 and November 4 of 1925 there are ten American registrants that came from Arica and that write that city as located in Chile. These inputs have been scratched with red lines and the word “Peru” wrote on top of it. The calligraphy appears to that of Victor Morris.]
– E. Figueroa – September 28, 1928 – Hotel Bolivar [Lima]
[Emiliano Figueroa Larraín was Ambassador of Chile in Peru since July of 1928. He was President of that republic from 1925 to 1927. Later he was the principal Chilean negotiator for the Tacna and Arica conflict and was the signatory for that nation of the Treaty of Lima of 1929, which established that the city of Tacna returned to Peru and Arica stayed in Chile. He died in 1931 in a car accident.]
– [Six signatures] – October 8, 1928 – Hotel Plaza [Lima]
An Ernesto Fuenzalida F. and a Héctór Ramírez R. sign the registry plus four other with illegible signatures.
“Primeros futbolistas chilenos en el Perú” (First soccer players of Chile in Peru) (four times), “Presidente club de deportes Santiago” (President of Santiago Sporting Club) and “Mascota del Santiago F.C. 1era Embajadora del Arte Chileno” (Mascot of Santiago F.C. First Ambassador of Chilean Art).
[The Santiago Football Club was the first Chilean soccer team that visited Lima. They played two games, one on September 24 against Circolo Deportivo Italiano and the other on September 30 against a team formed by the clubs Atletico Chalaco and Federación Universitaria. The visit of this club to Lima was with the intention of relieving some of the popular tensions that existed because of the Tacna -Arica conflict.]
– Rafael Maluendas – October 11, 1928 – Maury [Lima]
“Redactor Corresponsal de ‘El Mercurio’” (Reporter of ‘El Mercurio’ newspaper)
[Rafael Maluendas was a Chilean reporter from the El Mercurio newspaper that visited Lima in 1928. He covered the diplomatic activities of his country and the visit of the Santiago F.C. soccer team.]
Morris’ Friends and Family
– C. Gomez Sánchez – January 26, 1922 – Cerro de Pasco Copper Corporation
“Mi amigo desde Septiembre de 1903.” (My friend since September of 1903)
[Carlos Gomez Sánchez was a lawyer for the Cerro de Pasco Copper Co. In 1915, with four other people, he founded the Puyacayo Mining Company that produced until 1925 the mine of Atacocha, located in Pasco.]
– R. H. Mendizábal – February 20, 1923 – Sta. Clara 935 [Lima]
“Amigo desde 1904 en La Oroya”. (Friend of mine since 1904 in La Oroya)
[R. H. Mendizábal was possibly a member of the family of the same name and owners of several mines in the La Oroya region.]
– Bell Taylor – July 22, 1925 – Explorer Club NYC
[William Bell Taylor was born in 1888, possibly in New York City. In 1914 he operated one of the copper mine leases of Cerro de Pasco, where he meets Victor Morris. With Morris help he persuades a Nelson Rousenvell to open a gambling saloon in the Union club. He was an avid poker player and a member of the The Explorers Club of New York, institution founded in 1904].
– Richard Morris – June 16, 1927 – Lima, Perú, Boza 847 [Morris’ Bar address]
[Richard Peter Morris was Victor Morris’ oldest son. He was born in Cerro de Pasco on October 23, 1907. At a young age his parents sent him to the Palo Alto Military Academy in California. He came back to Peru where he lived until his father’s death in 1929. In 1930 he relocated to Berkeley, California with his mother, brother and sister. He entered the U.S. Air Force and lived in Panama where he was an instructor to Latin American pilots. He died in San Francisco in 1986.]
There are other signatures of unidentified Peruvian residents , among them: Octavio Tudela L., Luis E. Arrese y Domingo Aspiazu (August 22, 1923) y Carlos Labarthe (October 29, 1923). This study has just scratched the surface of the information contained in the registry and its only the beginning of a road that could lead to the discovery of more information about the history of the bar, possibly finding information from the descendants or acquaintances of the people that signed the registry.
Comments about the cocktails served at Morris’ Bar
The registry contains a considerable amount of comments about the cocktails served at Morris’ bar since 1922 to 1929. The comments are in general very positive and some are almost euphoric. An statistical analysis has been made with the numbers that each cocktail is mentioned in the registry in order to have an idea about their popularity. Following is a table that shows the name of the cocktail, the number of times it is mentioned, the dates of the first and the last comment and the number of years mentioned.
Some other cocktails have been mentioned only once, these are: martini, el capitán (“con cebolla”) (with onion), whisky sour in tabasco, perricholi cocktail, beer in pisco, menta, fly-tax, baby kiss cocktail, high ball, gin high ball, gin and vermouth, lo mismo, eddie, la libra, la hub, and doce huevos. Among the pure liquors there were: Johnny Walker, Domecq cognac [mentioned twice] and a “very fine pisco”. The great diversity of the cocktails found in the register shows an extraordinary cocktail mixing creativity at the Morris’ Bar and a large desire for experimentation. The following table shows the number of comments given to the five most popular cocktails for each year from 1923 to 1928, excluding beer.
The table shows a significant growth in the total amount of cocktail comments from 1923 to 1925. There is a peak in that year when the total number of comments increase by 77% with respect to 1924. Then there is a decline of 63% for 1926 which remain almost constant until 1928. This statistical peculiarity may indicate that there was an event or events in 1925 that may have caused a reduction and a slowness in the growth and in the popularity of the bar.
Connections with San Francisco’s Pisco Punch
The register has some significant comments that link the Morris’ Bar with the Bank Exchange saloon of San Francisco, California whose last owner, the Scottish Duncan Nicol, was the inventor of pisco punch. Nicol was nicknamed Pisco John and the Bank Exchange, Pisco John’s. It must be noted that the Morris’ Bar register started in 1922, almost three years after the San Franciscan bar closed its doors due of the Prohibition Act of 1919. The first related comment is from a Frank E. Smith, who writes in January of 1926: “Regards to Duncan Nichol [sic]”.
A William Avery commented in March of the same year: “Pisco John, San Francisco”. In October, William N. Woods writes: “Recollections of ‘Pisco John’s’ San Francisco Calif” and in March of 1928, a H. W. Moss writes simply: “Pisco Johnny,” giving Victor Morris a second and a highly complimentary nickname. Understandably, three of this four registrants were residents of San Francisco.
Frank E. Smith’s comment appear to indicate that Victor Morris knew Duncan Nicol. There is a circumstantial evidence that may proof this is the case, and possibly even more: that Morris himself may have obtained the pisco punch recipe. Morris visited San Francisco in August of 1925 and only a few days after his return to Lima the first comment about pisco punch appears. It was written by a J. Foster on September 25: “Ray! Rah! [illegible] is Pisco Punch.”
Other comments were written in 1928, these are: “Pisco Punch – and how!,” “Pisco Punch [followed by the drawing of a happy face]” and “Fly-Tax & Pisco Punch forever.”
A possible relationship between Morris and the Bank Exchange of San Francisco and its famous pisco punch is reinforced when noting the fact that John Lannes, barman of the Bank Exchange and its proprietor for a few months before of the Prohibition Act of 1919 closed its doors, visited Lima and signed the Morris’ Bar register on June 10, 1927. Lannes wrote that he came from San Francisco and gave an address in that city, which permitted, along with an analysis of his signature, to determine with certainty that he was indeed the person that worked at the Bank Exchange. Unfortunately, Lannes didn’t write any commentary and the length of his stay in Lima is unknown. But what it is almost certain is that John Lannes tasted Morris’ pisco sour in 1927. As a side note, if Morris met Duncan Nicol during his visit to San Francisco in 1925, it was six months before the death of the last one, which occurred in February of 1926.
Expanding Luis Alberto Sanchez Memoirs
Luis Alberto Sanchez wrote in his memoirs, Testimonio personal – Memorias de un peruano del siglo XX, (Personal Testimony – Memoirs of a Peruvian of the XX Century), what it is without any doubt the indispensable text about the history of Morris’ Bar and its pisco sour. Sanchez wrote his memoirs in 1969, forty years after the facts and it is understandable that the Peruvian Man Of The Century could have made some memory recollection errors. Fortunately, almost all of the people he described are in the Morris’ Bar registry allowing for some clarifications about certain names and dates.
The principal contradiction is Morris’ first name. Sanchez names him William, while his real name was Victor. It is possible that Sanchez could have remembered incorrectly or confused Morris’ nickname Vic with Bill, which is the nickname of the name William. The Spanish phonetics for both nicknames is very similar and it is understandable this type of confusion with the passage of so many years (another possible explanation of this error will the mentioned later). By the other hand, Sanchez gives the name of Maluenda to the Chilean reporter Rafael Maluendas and he names the barman Leonidas Arteta, Leonidas Cisneros Arteta, which according to the Spanish naming convention Cisneros will be his last name.
Both Rafael Maluendas and Emiliano Figueroa visit Morris’ Bar in 1928 and not in 1929 as Sanchez mentions, although is possible that Maluendas could have returned to Lima the following year. Mario, the barman that Sanchez mentions only by his first name, could have been Mario Bruijet, a relative of Hernan Bruijet, and employed at the bar since 1925. Sanchez also mentions that the bar closed it doors in 1933 after going bankrupt, when in reality it was 1929 after Morris got terminally ill and declared the bar in voluntary bankruptcy. Sanchez mentions that the barmen Augusto Rodriguez and Leonídas (Cisneros) Arteta went to work to other bars in Lima after the bar went bankrupt, but as it will be seen later, it could have been before.
Sanchez emphasizes that Morris operated a gambling house in Cerro de Pasco prior to opening his bar in Lima. What it is known is that in 1914 Nelson Rousenvell, encouraged by Bell Taylor and by Morris, opened a gambling house in the remodeled Peruvian Union located in Cerro de Pasco’s downtown. It is also known that Morris participation in that enterprise was limited, at least initially, to guaranteeing the liquor accounts from local and Lima liquor distributors. However, it is possible that Morris could have taken the management of that club in 1925 after Rousenvell rapidly left Peru early in that year. If that is the case, then Sanchez recollections will match nicely, since it is known that Morris opened his bar in Lima in 1916.
Regarding Morris’ invention of pisco sour in Cerro de Pasco as affirmed by Sanchez, it is considered very plausible but it has not been verified with other sources. What it has been verified is that in the American club Esperanza, located in the existing “Casa de piedra” (Stone House) of Cerro de Pasco, close to the old train station, as well as in the hotel-club Los Andes, localized in the American Smelter facility 10 kilometers to the south of Cerro de Pasco, and in the Peruvian club Union, already mentioned, it was served several types of liquors and cocktails, such as: whiskey high ball, gin and vermouth, wine, and champagne. It would be unthinkable that pisco, a liquor that was as abundant as water in Cerro de Pasco, could not have been used in cocktails prepared in those clubs and that the ancient mix of sugar with lime juice, the basis for whiskey sours, gin fizzes, punches, etc., could have not been used using that liquor. The new found data reinforces the historical version of Sanchez.
Description of the Morris’ Bar
Almost nothing is known about the physical description of Morris’ Bar. No photos of its inside have been found. Visitors wrote that the bar had a brass rail to rest the feet, as it was custom in many U.S. bars, and that it had a room or rooms for lodging.
As it was in the Bank Exchange of San Francisco, and as Sanchez mentions in his memoirs, Morris’ Bar did not discriminate between the social classes of its patrons, neither by their sex since several ladies signed the bar’s registry. Morris served any person, but as it was the costume of Duncan Nicol, he did not allow service to any person, rich or not, that used foul language or had bad manners. There are some profane entries in the registry that have been scratched. It is also probable that Morris could have had separate tables for distinguished visitors.
The Morris’ Bar was visited by tens of members of the Elk Lodge, of which Morris was an active member during all his stay in Peru. One of the purposes of that benevolent society, with roots in the 1860s, was to provide assistance and lodging to members that were far away from home. The bar’s registry has signatures of tens of Elk Lodge members, who wrote the name and number of their regional lodge. Several wrote in their comments “Hello Bill,” a popular salute between lodge members and also another possible reason of the confusion Sanchez had with Morris’ first name.
Closing of the Bar – Conclusion
The circumstances of the closing of Morris’ Bar could be better understood from the obituary of Victor Morris, published by Cecil N. Griffis in his magazine The West Coast Leader, approximately one week after his passing on June 11, 1929:
A decade ago he [Victor Morris] came to Lima and established the Morris’ Bar which for a number of years was one of the most widely known and popular establishments of its kind on the West Coast. Famed as a genial host and with a large following of friends and acquaintances, the Morris’ Bar prospered greatly for a number of years. Later the opening of the Hotel Bolivar, the Lima Country Club and other establishments diverted the large foreign trade from the Bar. For the past two or three years Mr. Morris had been in failing health. Several months ago the Bar went into voluntary bankruptcy. Mr. Morris is survived by a widow and and three children. Internment took place took place on Friday last at the English Cemetery, Bellavista. Amongst hundreds of “old timers” on the Coast the passing of the Morris’ Bar and the death of its proprietor will be keenly regretted marking a period in the personal history of that swiftly changing Limenian Rialto, the Calle Union.
With the information provided in Morris’ obituary, combined with the data found in the registry and the history of Lima, one can reconstruct an scenario of what probably were the periods of growth and ending of the Morris’ Bar.
The Morris’ Bar opened it door in 1916, during a significant process of structural changes in Lima’s downtown. From 1911 to 1918 the old train station of San Juan de Dios is demolished, starting the construction of the current Plaza San Martin square, which was inaugurated on July 27, 1921 coinciding with the centennial of the Peruvian Independence.
The Bar flourished until 1925, parallel to the evolution of this nascent second focal point of Lima’s commerce which was competing with that on the main Plaza Mayor square. On December of 1924, the Grand Hotel Bolivar is inaugurated. It had originally three stories and was located across the square from Morris’ Bar. This hotel attracted a large portion of Lima’s foreign commerce and it seems that until the end of 1925 its presence contributed to the growth in the bar’s business.
The pisco sour and other cocktails flourished and start to be popularized. The first registrant that gave the Hotel Bolivar as his address in Lima was the already mentioned multimillionaire Roger W. Straus, that visited the bar on March 23, 1925. Then a F. A. Pezet did the same on April of that year. Apparently during 1925 the Morris’ Bar still was preferred by the foreign community from any bar that the new Hotel Bolivar could have initially had. As it was mentioned before, it appears that the Morris’ Bar had a peak in popularity in 1925 which decayed significantly the next year. It is well know that eventually the Hotel Bolivar popularized a bar named Bar Ingles, where pisco sour was served and where the cocktail named catedral, basically pisco sour with a much larger volume, was later invented.
On February 8, 1927 the hotel Lima Country Club is inaugurated. It was located south of Lima’s downtown in some open fields and olive gardens in what it is now the suburb of San Isidro. Its owners were the company Sociedad Anónima Proprietaria del Country Club, which with its subsidiary Lima Country Club had merged to the hotel the following popular Lima clubs: Nacional, Union, Phoenix, Frances, Español, Aleman, Jockey Club de Santa Beatriz, Lawn Tennis de la Exposicion, Polo and Hunt Club and Lima Golf Club. Since its inauguration, the Hotel Country Club had a bar also named Bar Ingles, where eventually pisco sour was also served.
The disparaging adjective that Victor Morris wrote at the side of four of six of his bartenders’ signatures as mentioned before, and the fact that other two bartenders are hired in dates that curiously coincide with the inauguration of those hotels, as implying some type a replacement, seems to indicate that some of Morris’ bartenders could have gone to work to competing bars at the Hotel Bolivar, the Lima Country Club and maybe others, thus taking with them the bar’s cocktail recipes among them the pisco sour’s.
After the bar’s closure and Morris’ death in 1929, Hernan Bruijet and/or Mario Bruijet, could have gone to work to the Hotel Maury because there are some indications that a bartender with the same last name was serving pisco sours in the bar of that hotel in the 1940s. If it weren’t for these events of destiny, some of which were obviously not of the likeness of Victor Morris, maybe pisco sour could not have been so much popularized in Lima and maybe it could have had the same unfortunate ending as the famous and mysterious pisco punch of San Francisco: lost in memory. It is because of that reason that historical recognition must also be made to the bartenders of the Morris’ Bar, indispensable agents in keeping Victor Morris’ pisco sour legacy alive even after his death.
This study leaves some unanswered questions. Among them: why did John Lannes visited Lima in 1927? Did he come to participate in some inauguration of a new bar of Lima? Or maybe, he came invited by Morris himself to promote pisco punch in an attempt to regain a losing popularity? Maybe there will not be no concrete answers to these questions, but the doors are left open to future researchers that could help in clarifying the history of this legendary bar that originated Peru’s national cocktail.