May 9th, 2008

Rare cocktail books, digitized

Harry Johnson Bartender’s ManualHere’s another reason to go to drinkboston’s World Cocktail Day event: you’re apt to pick up some fascinating knowledge from our guest bartenders.

Example: Brother Cleve was doing some research on the cocktail he’ll be mixing, the Bijou (gin, sweet vermouth, green Chartreuse, orange bitters). I found only a vague citation that the drink was named for the Broadway theater the Bijou, which opened in 1917. Turns out, says Cleve, that the cocktail predates the theater by 35 years. It seems to have first appeared in Harry Johnson’s Bartender’s Manual from 1882.

Then he tells me this: after locating the Johnson book on eBay and opting not to pay the “thousands of dollars” asking price, he stumbled upon a free, digitized copy online. OMG!

The Johnson book (1934 edition) and three other out-of-print bar and cocktail guides are available as PDFs on the Exposition Universelle des Vins et Spiritueux web site. The EUVS is a wine and spirits museum in southern France built by Paul Ricard, who founded the spirits conglomerate Pernod Ricard in 1932. Its huge collection of artifacts is currently undergoing a two-year restoration, and part of the project involves putting some of the rare books in the collection online. In addition to the books (more of which are on the way!), there are drink lists and menus from the late 1800s to the 1930s. Right now the books available are:

Harry Johnson’s Bartender’s Manual (1934)

The Cocktail Key, by Herbert Jenkins Ltd. (1920s)

American Bar: Recettes des Boissons Anglaises et Americaines (1904)

Collections and Creations, by Henry Lyman (1934)

One tiny caveat: you can download these books to your computer, but that’s about it. They are password-protected. You can’t print them out. You can’t copy images or pages from them or doctor them in any way. Believe me, I tried. Still, this is about as exciting as it gets for the cocktailian. See you Tuesday!

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7 Responses to “Rare cocktail books, digitized”

  1. Tyler

    Thank you, I have been contemplating purchasing most of these for a few years now. The price was just a little prohibitive!

  2. JG

    There’s a bunch of stuff out there which will remove password protection from PDF files. Just type something in like “pdf password removal” into google and pick the option that suits you best.

  3. Adam L.

    JG’s right! Didn’t even remove the password, just used a non-Adobe app to view it and it allows cuting and pasting.

    American Bar by Newman

    Boston Flip
    Prendre un gobelet en argent, remplir à moiti de glace
    pilé :
    . 1 cuillerke à caf6 de sucre en poudre,
    1 verre à liqueur de Rye-Whisky,
    1 verre k liqueur de madAre,
    1 Å“u bien frais.
    4 traits curaçao
    Adapter un second gobelet, frapper fortement, passer
    dans le verre no 3, saupoudrer de muscade, servir.

    The OTR recognition for characters and spacing kinda stinks though 🙁

    Harry Johnson’s “Bartender’s Manual” fairs better:

    (Use a large bar glass.)
    4 tablespoonful of sugar;
    3 or 4 dashes of lemon juice;
    1 squirt of hyphon setters, dissolved well
    1 wine glass of Medford rum;
    Fill 3/4 of the glass with ice.

    Stir well v it11 a spoon strain into a sour glass, orna-
    ment with fruit, etc.. and sene.
    This is an old Boston drnik, and lias the reputation of being cooling and pleasant.”

    Now I just need “hyphon setters” and Medford Rum! (btw, this is on page 184 and it’s “syphon selters” – just left it as is for demonstration. Cutting and Pasting the book would be VERY time consuming)


  4. ljclark

    Hyphon setters! Sounds like a proofreader’s term. Which is apt here. Funny, I tried printing/copying from Preview on a Mac, but no go. What application are you using?

  5. Stephen

    those documents were posted on egullet in the fall. Henry Lyman’s book is a complete gem… the drinks are never exactly masterpeices but the sense of humor and ability to capture the zeitgeist is incredible. he created drinked under the desperate and pathetic circumstances of prohibition… we have too many options and can rarely be as amusing…

  6. St Louis Mo

    WOW this is a huge find!! thanks so much for posting these links i have been looking for this info forever!!

    Great blog!

  7. ljclark

    Holy crap, these were on eGullet?! Sheesh. Thanks, Stephen.

    And thanks St Louis Mo.

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