The Bon Vivant's Companion Or How To Mix Drinks
In 1862, Thomas finished Bar-Tender's Guide (alternately titled How to Mix Drinks or The Bon-Vivant's Companion), the first drink book ever published in the United States. The book collected and codified what was then an oral tradition of recipes from the early days of cocktails, including some of his own creations; the guide laid down the principles for formulating mixed drinks of all categories. He would update it several times in his lifetime to include new drinks that he discovered or created. The first edition of the guide included the first written recipes of such cocktails as the Brandy Daisy, Fizz, Flip, Sour and variations of the earliest form of mixed drink, Punch. The 1876 edition included the first written recipe for the Tom Collins, which appeared just after The Tom Collins Hoax of 1874.
The Bon Vivant's Companion or How To Mix Drinks
Thomas developed his signature drink, the Blue Blazer, at the El Dorado gambling saloon in San Francisco. The drink is made by lighting whiskey afire and passing it back and forth between two mixing glasses, creating an arc of flame. Thomas continued to develop new drinks throughout his life. His mixing of the "Martinez", which recipe was published in the 1887 edition of his guide, has sometimes been viewed as a precursor to the modern martini. Thomas claimed to have invented the Tom and Jerry and did much to popularize it in the United States; however, the history of the drink predated him.
HistoryWhile the Occidental Cigar Club was established in 2001, its roots go far back in San Francisco history to the 1860's and The Occidental Hotel. This "Quiet House of Peculiar Excellence" was the first real cocktail lounge in the City. Principal Barman Professor Jerry Thomas plied his trade there and was the originator of the Martini. The first bi-coastal celebrity bartender, he brought civility to the bar scene as well as creativity to mixology. The wood cut etchings found in his book, The Bon Vivant's Companion or How To Mix Drinks adorn our walls, and his spirit is embodied in the drinks we pour today. The Occidental Cigar Club pays homage to that San Francisco institution.
Even if the Martinez didn't have a direct impact on the creation of the Martini, each drink represents a different route for mixing gin-based drinks. The Martinez is basically a gin Manhattan complete with sweet vermouth, while the Martini gets the dry vermouth treatment.Interestingly, recipes for each cocktail have varied widely over the last century. Thomas's How to Mix Drinks (etc) presents a cocktail that has a 2:1 vermouth to gin ratio, while The Savoy Cocktail Book inverts these proportions.
I'm not much for the idea that the certain spirits should only be drunk during certain times of the year. If I waited for cold weather in Alabama to drink red wine or whiskey, I would still have a long time to wait. Luckily, even a spirituous* cocktail can revive a thirsty soul and cool him or her down.One such beverage is the Improved Whiskey Cocktail. With recipes dating back to the 1876 edition of Jerry Thomas's How to Mix Drinks or The Bon Vivant's Companion or The Bartender's Guide, this cocktail sprang from a source similar to the Old Fashioned. In the days of yore, few drinks had defined names. Simply enough, patrons wanting any sort of mixture of whiskey, water and sugar would order a Whiskey Cocktail.
The Bon-Vivant's Companion is widely regarded as the most famous bartenders' and cocktail book in history. Originally published in 1862, writer Jerry Thomas would go on to update it several times to include new recipes before his death in 1885. This original publication contains the first ever recipes for drinks such as the Brandy Daisy, Fizz, Flip, Sour and variations of the earliest form of mixed drink, Punch.
Josey Packard, a bartender at Alembic in the Upper Haight who also studies recipe history, earned her master's degree in editorial studies at Boston University, during which she became interested in books about classic cocktails. She initially made drinks that she read about in newspapers, including the mojito and cosmopolitan, which lead her to try more gin-based and other complex drinks like the Corpse Reviver, Mary Pickford and Gansevoort fizz not widely made in bars at the time. "There was a point at which I realized I was more disappointed than delighted when going out for cocktails," she says. And thus began her career as a bartender.
The current cocktail trend of using fresh ingredients in drinks instead of premade sour and other mixes is both a throwback to Jerry Thomas' era, and also an attempt to make drinks of the highest quality. With Prohibition wiping good drinking off the map, there were very few respected cocktail books made between the 1930s and 2000s, so the old books are not just classic, they inform today's cutting-edge cocktails in San Francisco and throughout the world.
Though Burton studies bartending and bartenders through his books, other researchers track topics like defunct cocktail ingredients, classic bar tools, the history of ice and glassware. Others study recipes as they change over time through these books, such as the creme de violette that was dropped from the Aviation cocktail from one book to the next, or the martini's transformation as it called for sweet, then dry, then almost no vermouth. David Wondrich wrote an entire book - "Imbibe" was released last week - about an older cocktail recipe book (see "New books dedicated to old drinks").
In the afternoon of December 14, 1885, Jerry Thomas died of heart disease five minutes after returning to his house. He was 55 years old at his time of death, leaving not just his wife, Henrietta, and children, Henrietta, Milton & Louise, but a lifetime of adventures, passion and pursuit of making the perfect drinks. A rendering of Jerry Thomas in wax has been on display at The Museum of the American Cocktail in New Orleans, a testament to his continued esteem.
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While there are countless books available for the novice (and advanced) bartender, it's important to consider what you'd like to get out of reading these books -- after all, mixing drinks is a skill acquired more by doing, and less by reading, although both can be worthwhile. When starting out, few things will take you further then some technique, an understanding of the classics, and a history of the sport.
When learning to mix drinks, you'll want to have a sense of time and place as to where it all began, and this book will set that scene. Trust me, you'll wish you could be transported to San Fransisco and then back to Manhattan all to watch the Professor pour a liquid stream of fire as you sip his famous Blue Blazer. It turns out the Professor was both a showman and a pioneer in his own right.
Durning his tenure at the Savoy, Craddock wrote what is largely regarded as one of the most thorough recipe books for mixing American-style cocktails. It's a bit of an encyclopedia in length, which makes it the perfect industry standard reference book for Prohibition era drinks. So many vintage cocktails have resurfaced due to the popularity of this book and have joined the ranks of the Classics.
Regarding Cocktails is a collection of M&H family recipes shared by Sasha's wife and colleagues - many of whom have gone on to open their own bars using Sasha's set of best practices. Not only will you learn a thing or two about making good drinks, you'll get a small glimpse into a little bar that inspired so many, including myself.
Since Richard Cook wrote the first known dedicated book in the English language recording drinks recipes in 1827 there has followed an awful lot of cocktail recipe books, many such titles having numerous editions. Navigating these tomes is essential to understanding the origin and development of the classic cocktails that appear on bar menus around the world to this day.
1827 - Oxford Night Caps[online] by Richard Cook (Oxford, England)The first known book on mixed drinks written in English, as the name suggests this was written by Richard cook, a resident at Oxford University, for students. A collection of drinks enjoyed at the university halls and residences in the early 1800s, it was originally published in 1827 as a pamphlet but grew into a book over three subsequent editions: 1835, 1847, 1871, 1931 041b061a72