November 8, 2005

Tonight We're Gonna Party Like It's 1887

Jerry Thomas BartendingYou might never have heard of him, but Jerry Thomas was a legend in his own time. A giant among men. A...well, you can add your own cliche here. So who was Jerry Thomas, you might ask? He was a bartender, one who paved the way to the modern cocktail by collecting and publishing a book of cocktail recipes, way back in the 1800s.

Jerry wrote the book on mixology, back before there was any such word. His book, The Art of Drink, was a bible for bartenders, and was one of the first places to mention some names you might be familiar with, including Manhattan, Juleps and Collins. His book went out of print a very long time ago, and it is finally part of the public domain, which means it can be reprinted and distributed for free.

All 130 pages of the 1887 version of this book are now available online, and contained in its electronic pages are some fascinating glimpses into the history of bartending, as well as a variety of recipes that still hold their luster for today's modern drinker. We perused the book today, and we found some great punch recipes we'd love to try - we like any drink recipe that calls for liquor by the gallon. On the flip side of the coin, the book also wastes some pages on "temperance drinks," which don't contain any booze at all. We forgive him, and who knows? Maybe we'll whip up a nice, refreshing batch of milk and seltzer for our next party.

Regardless, this book is a fascinating peek into the drunken culture of another century, and we encourage you to try some of the recipes next time you're ready for a stroll through history. Find the complete book at The Art of Drink.

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Posted by Jake Jamieson at November 8, 2005 5:20 AM
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