Welcome to Happy Hour!
I am your guest host this evening and I want to talk about Professor Jerry Thomas, author of “The Bon Vivant’s Companion or How to Mix Drinks”, written in 1862, the first cocktail book ever and still available today. My copy is the seventh printing, with an introduction by Herbert Asbury [Gangs of New York] written in 1928 in a florid style, that is worth the price of the book alone, I mean, just take a look at this opening sentence.
“The Lord smiled benevolently upon the city of New Haven, Connecticut, on a stormy winter’s night in 1825, and His official tot bearer, the stork, rode the gale from Heaven and deposited a little stranger within the humble cottage home of Mr. and Mrs. William Daniel Thomas, respectable though pious people, who were ever ready to drop a coin into the collection plate or provide a fried chicken for the pastor.”
If that’s not enough to make you want to grab a cocktail and read on there are pen and ink drawings from newspapers published during the 1860 – 1880 period of famous bars and bartenders…and drinkers. And you will find plenty of recipes, from punch to syrups to Jerry Thomas’ Own Decanter Bitters. Professor Jerry Thomas is credited with the invention of the Tom and Jerry and a concoction called The Blue Blazer, which involves hurling flaming whiskey from one tankard to another, try at your own peril.
Tonight, I’m going to make a Whiskey Daisy, another reason why I love this book is most of the recipes have 3 or 4 ingredients, because sometimes you don’t want to start preparing your Friday night Happy Hour cocktail on Wednesday.
Without further ado, as it appears in the book, available to read online at: https://euvs-vintage-cocktail-books.cld.bz/1929-The-Bon-Vivant-s-Companion-or-How-to-Mix-Drinks-by-Jerry-Thomas/XX/
Use small bar glass
Three dashes gum syrup*
One wineglass of Bourbon, or rye whiskey
Two dashes orgeat syrup
The juice of half a small lemon
Fill glass one-third full of shaved ice.
Shake thoroughly, strain into a large cocktail glass,
and fill up with Apollinaris** or seltzer water.
*Sugar syrup, as prepared by Professor Thomas, Fourteen pounds of loaf sugar, one gallon of water, boil together for five minutes, and add water to make it up to two gallons.
**Sparkling mineral water
Anyone else have a favorite cocktail book, vintage or otherwise?
Welcome to Happy Hour!