Cocktail Debacle: A misunderstood drink in Bismarck


It’s a nationally known drink born right here in Bismarck.

This drink goes by many names. It’s often called the Smith and Kearns.
But its proper name is the Smith and Curran. A local woman tells us, this world-famous drink has a unique North Dakota start.

Lois Casper-Addington and her family moved to Bismarck during the first oil boom in the 1950s. During that time she worked as an oil broker and her dad was a bartender at the hotel where the Smith and Curran was created…all because of two oilmen.

“I can see the two barstools that those two sat on all the time,” said Lois Casper.

Often it’s said that the drink was created here at the Blue Blazer Lounge where the Sunrise Apartments are in downtown Bismarck but she remembers it a little differently…that it originated at the Grand Pacific Hotel where the Wells Fargo building now stands.

“The Grand Pacific hotel was a big hang out for all the oil people who were in town…And G. Wendell Smith and Jim Curran used to come in …And they were fixing up concoctions for this drink and they came up with the drink but they couldn’t come up with the name. And dad said why don’t you just call it Smith and Curran,” said Lois Casper.

And that’s how it began.

Many stories on the internet say the drink was named by a man named Shorty that worked at the Blue Blazer Lounge. But Lois wanted to set the record straight.

It was her dad, Max Addington that named the Smith and Curran.

“My dad did work at the Blue Blazer later and he worked with a bartender named Shorty who turned out to be a good friend of both my mother and fathers. But it was my dad that named the drink, not Shorty,” said Lois Casper.

While we may never know the exact details, what we do know is this popular drink began in North Dakota’s oil patch… the rest is history.

The drink was originally made to help cure a hangover– and one local bartender compares it to chocolate milk

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