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.
Mud 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.