July 31st, 2008

I’m Puddling up

Is anyone else shedding tears of joy right now? Mud Puddle Books, which recently published reproductions of five out-of-print cocktail books from the late 1800s and early 1900s, has plans to publish David Embury’s Fine Art of Mixing Drinks, “one of the most literate and enjoyable books written about cocktails,” notes “A Cocktail Book Renaissance, Too,” in this week’s New York Times. Embury’s book has been known to pop up on eBay now and again, attracting bids in the hundreds, even thousands, of dollars. It is spoken of with reverence by anyone who takes the craft of bartending seriously. I’ve never even seen a copy. But soon, it seems, I will be able to buy one at a reasonable price.

Barflies & Cocktails bookMud Puddle’s first five re-prints (with introductions by modern experts such as Ted Haigh, Robert Hess and David Wondrich) are also worth a look. They are C. F. Lawlor’s The Mixicologist; Barflies and Cocktails, written in the 1920s by Harry McElhone of the famous Harry’s New York Bar in Paris; Harry Johnson’s Bartenders’ Manual and Guide for Hotels and Restaurants; O. H. Byron’s The Modern Bartender’s Guide; and Recipes of American and Other Iced Drinks, a British book published by Farrow & Jackson to promote its barware.

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11 Responses to “I’m Puddling up”

  1. jackson

    I’m very excited by all the titles they are putting out especially Harry Johnson’s, the language in there about the trade is dated but magnificent!

    But be advised these are littler reprints than the originals, not as small as the point of sale Wisdom of Mark Twain etc at the hippie bookshop, but let’s just say, petite…

    Old men such as me might have to up our prescription eye ware, but it’s better than reading them on PDF.


  2. ljclark

    Anything’s better than PDF. Thanks for the heads-up, Jax.

  3. the modern serf

    they have a copy of it at the BPL in the rare books room; you can look at it but you cant take it out of the building. i was considering photocopying the whole thing, but i contented myself to just read it instead.

  4. Dietsch

    Jen found a surprisingly cheap first edition of Embury for me a couple of years ago. Seriously, if I told you how cheap, you’d hate me. And it’s everything it’s said to be. It’s a great read.

  5. ljclark

    Serf: thanks, I learn so much from writing this thing.
    Dietsch: you lucky, lucky man.

  6. The Scribe

    I just placed my order for the Jerry Thomas on Amazon, and I’m going to put in my order for the others next time I’m buying.
    Cheers. – S

  7. eas

    Props to Greg at Mud Puddle. He’s been quite sensitive to this need for a very long time and to my judgement, had been quite earnest in his interest. He’ll likely take a soaking in the near term, so I’d encourage we support him (as if that needed encouragement) and the authors more contemporary he actively does the truly good deed.

  8. ljclark

    Good point, eas. Everyone, get your Christmas shopping lists started and give the gift of Mud Puddle cocktail books.

  9. gregbnyc

    Thanks everybody for supporting our cocktail book publishing program. The Embury book has gone to the printer and will be ready in a few weeks. One note, our reproductions are the exact same size as the originals. In fact every details is as identical as possible. It is true that some of the fonts are small, but that is how they originally were. We are going to have four more reproduction cocktail books ready by the end of the year. At some point I am going to have to focus on my real job, but this is MUCH more fun. Again, I appreciate the support and will continue to publish books that are both historic and valuable resources.

  10. ljclark

    Greg, we thank you for clarifying, and we know all about the fun of not focusing on one’s real job.

  11. jackson


    i’m curious, does that mean the very old copy of harry johnson’s, that was almost as big as my laptop, was an oversized reprint? i confess i didn’t see the pub date.


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