Classic Mixology: Cocktail & Mixed Drink Recipes

The Bartender's Guide: How To Mix Drinks

by Jerry Thomas

New York, NY: Dick & Fitzgerald, 1862

The Bartender's Guide: How To Mix Drinks The Bartender's Guide: How To Mix Drinks

In all ages of the world, and in all countries, men have indulged in "social drinks." They have always possessed themselves of some popular beverage apart from water and those of the breakfast and tea table. Whether it is judicious that mankind should continue to indulge in such things, or whether it would be wiser to abstain from all enjoyments of that character, it is not our province to decide. We leave that question to the moral philosopher. We simply contend that a relish for "social drinks" is universal; that those drinks exist in greater variety in the United States than in any other country in the world; and that he, therefore, who proposes to impart to these drinks not only the most palatable but the most wholesome characteristics of which they may be made susceptible, is a genuine public benefactor. That is exactly our object in introducing this little volume to the public. We do not propose to persuade any man to drink, for instance, a punch, or a julep, or a cocktail, who has never happened to make the acquaintance of those refreshing articles under circumstances calculated to induce more ultimate relations; but we do propose to instruct those whose "intimate relations" in question render them somewhat fastidious, in the daintiest fashions thereunto pertaining.

We very well remember seeing one day in London, in the rear of the Bank of England, a small drinking saloon that had been set up "by a peripatetic American, at the door of which was placed a board covered with the unique titles of the American mixed drinks supposed to be prepared within that limited establishment. The "Connecticut eye-openers" and "Alabama fog-cutters," together with the "lightning-smashes" and the "thunderbolt-cocktails," created a profound sensation in the crowd assembled to peruse the Nectarian bill of fare, if they did not produce custom. It struck us, then, that a list of all the social drinks—the composite beverages, if we may call them so—of America, would really be one of the curiosities of jovial literature; and that if it was combined with a catalogue of the mixtures common to other nations, and made practically useful by the addition of a concise description of the various processes for "brewing" each, it would be a "blessing to mankind." There would be no excuse for imbibing, with such a book at hand, the "villainous compounds" of bar-keeping Goths and Vandals, who know no more of the amenities of bon vivant existence than a Hottentot can know of the bouquet of champagne.

"There's philosophy," says Father Tom in the drama, "even in a jug of punch." We claim the credit of "philosophy teaching by example," then, to no ordinary extent in the composition of this volume; for our index exhibits the title of eighty-six different kinds of punches, together with a universe of cobblers, juleps, bitters, cups, slings, shrubs, &c., each and all of which the reader is carefully educated how to concoct in the choicest manner. For the perfection of this education, the name, alone, of Jerry Thomas is a sufficient guarantee. He has travelled Europe and America in search of all that is recondite in this branch of the spirit art. He has been the Jupiter Olympus of the bar at the Metropolitan Hotel in this city. He was the presiding deity at the Planter's House, St. Louis. He has been the proprietor of one of the most récherché saloons in New Orleans as well as in New York. His very name is synonymous in the lexicon of mixed drinks, with all that is rare and original. To the "Wine Press," edited by F. S. Cozzens, Esq., we are indebted for the composition of several valuable punches, and among them we may particularize the celebrated "Nuremburgh," and the equally famous " Philadelphia Fish House" punch. The rest we owe to the inspiration of Jerry Thomas himself, and as he is as inexorable as the Medes and Persians in his principle that no excellent drink can be made out of any thing but excellent materials, we conceive that we are safe in asserting that whatever may be prepared after his instructions will be able to speak eloquently for itself. "Good wine needs no bush," Shakespeare tells us and over one of Jerry's mixtures eulogy is quite as redundant.