While you’re doing your spring cleaning, there are several important cocktail books we’d like you to keep an eye out for in your attics and basements. A record of their printing exists, but nobody’s been able to find a copy—yet. If you happen to have one of these volumes, please let us know.
Jerry Thomas is famous for his 1862 manual, How to Mix Drinks, or The Bon Vivant’s Companion. What’s less well-known is that he published a second bartender’s guide the following year, The Portrait Gallery of Distinguished Bar-Keepers. According to historian and Liquor.com advisor David Wondrich, it featured biographies and sketches of other 19th-century barmen.
While we’re still not sure who invented the Martini, Stuart’s Fancy Drinks and How to Mix Them from 1896 is supposed to contain an early recipe for a likely predecessor of the classic. A reproduction of the tome from 1904 has recently turned up, but an original has never been located.
One book Greg Boehm, owner of Cocktail Kingdom, is hunting for is a first printing of The Mixicologist by C.F. Lawlor. The earliest copy he owns—which he has beautifully reproduced—is from 1895 and says it’s a revised edition.
Up until a few years ago, it was pretty hard to find any of San Francisco legend William “Cocktail” Boothby’s books. Fortunately, there are now reprints of his 1891 Cocktail Boothby’s American Bar-Tender and his updated 1908 version called The World’s Drinks and How to Mix Them. However, there’s perhaps only one known example of the 1905 edition. So, start your cleanup now!