American Mixology: Recipe Books from the Pre-Prohibition Era
This resource guide provides online access to a series of historic printed cocktail and beverage books for bartenders and mixologists, published between 1869 and 1911, from the Library of Congress collections.
Have a question? Need assistance? Use our online form to ask a librarian for help.
Get connected to the Library’s large and diverse collections related to science, technology, and business through our Inside Adams Blog. This blog also features upcoming events and collection displays, classes and orientations, new research guides, and more.
In these books, recipes for old-fashioned drinks include many names that might be unfamiliar today: cups, cobblers, nogs, flips and toddies, pousse cafe, punches, sangarees, shrubs, smashes, crustas, and scaffas. But there are also modern cocktails, often with intriguing or evocative names: Golden Slipper, Inimitable Cocktail, Gin and Wormwood, Hari-Kari, Hot Locomotive, Stone Fence, Widow's Kiss.
Most of these books feature recipes for making drinks with gin, whiskey, or rum— tequila and vodka don't generally appear in these early mixology books, although there are a few occurrences. Absinthe is also popular--as are a variety of liqueurs and bitters. As a collection, these books show us a particular facet of American culture that flourished in the late 19th and early 20th century and was abruptly brought to a halt in January of 1920 when Prohibition came into force.
These ten books from Library of Congress collections represent a cross-section of pre-Prohibition cocktail culture in America. The earliest book here was published in 1869, and the latest in 1911. The titles in this guide link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress online catalog. A link to the full-text digitized book is included in each book description.
About Science Reference Services
Part of the Science & Business Reading Room at the Library of Congress, the Science Section is the starting point for conducting research at the Library of Congress in the subject areas of science, medicine and engineering. Here, reference specialists in specific subject areas of science and engineering assist patrons in formulating search strategies and gaining access to the information and materials contained in the Library's rich collections of science, medicine, and engineering materials.