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American Mixology: Recipe Books from the Pre-Prohibition Era

Historic Mixology Books, 1869-1911

Bartender standing behind a bar, holding up a glass of beer in his right hand. Cincinnati, 1889. Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division.

These books are arranged chronologically, beginning with the earliest, Haney's Steward and Bar-Keeper's Manual, published in 1869, and one of a series of trade manuals for popular occupations in New York published by Jesse Haney and Co. Other titles from Haney included manuals for watchmakers, painters, horse-shoers, and soap-makers -- as well as handbooks on dominoes, horse-racing, training animals, ventriloquism, stenography—and a monthly journal claiming to expose "humbugs and swindles". There is no indication of the author's name in this wide-ranging compendium of recipes. Of the same vintage, A. J. Beville's diminutive guide, apparently based in St. Louis, Missouri, features cocktail recipes and advertising for hotel and bar goods ranging from tumblers to bagatelle balls.

Most of these books were created by well-known bartenders who worked at popular clubs and hotels, and often had their own following. These authors include Jerry Thomas, Harry Johnson, George Kappeler, Joseph Haywood, Patrick McDonough, and Jacob Grohusko - all of whom achieved some degree of fame in their lifetimes. Patrick McDonough was head bar-keeper at Lieder's Hotel Brunswick in Buffalo. Jacob Grohusko was a well-known and respected New York bartender who worked at establishments around Wall Street in lower Manhattan and eventually became co-owner of Bruto and Jack's on Pearl Street. He is known today for inventing the Brooklyn Cocktail. George Kappeler, who was head barman at New York's famed Holland House on Fifth Avenue, introduced a number of drinks in his guide, including the Hot Locomotive. Harrry Johnson's influential New and Impoved Bartender's Manual built on his career as a celebrity bartender in Chicago and New York. Johnson himself was an outspoken rival of the best known bartender and author in this collection—"Professor" Jerry Thomas, who is still recognized today as the "father of American mixology," and the creator of the famous flaming drink, the Blue Blazer.

The following titles link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. In the description of each book there is a link to the full-text digitized book.