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Monday, December 13, 2010


Delightful. By Thomas Hawk.
I have been gifted in this auspicious season of holidays and birthdays with a book called Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails, by Ted Haigh (the illustrious Dr. Cocktail.) The contents of the book vary from mid-Victorian drinks to things created in the 1950s that have since faded from our drinking culture.

Dr. Cocktail discusses in his introduction the first bartender's guide published in the United States—The Bar-Tender's Guide, or a Bon-Vivant's Companion. There's some reprints available, as well as a web-based version at The Art of Drink.

As I am a man who likes his drink—as I mentioned previously in this post—this book, and the world it has opened up, is fascinating. I suspect I'll have more things to show you in due course.

In the meantime, here's a recipe from Jerry Thomas, author of the 1862 Bar-Tender's guide, for the Blue Blazer:

Blue Blazer.
(Use two silver-plated mugs.)
Take 1 small tea-spoonful of powdered white sugar
dissolved in 1 wine-glass of boiling water.
1 wine-glass of Scotch whiskey.

Put the whiskey and the boiling water in one mug, ignite the liquid with fire, and while blazing mix both ingredients by pouring them four or five times from one mug to the other. If well done this will have the appearance of a continued stream of liquid fire. Serve in a small bar-glass with a piece of twisted lemon peel.

The novice in mixing this beverage should be careful not to scald himself. To become proficient in throwing the liquid from one mug to the other, it will be necessary to practise for some time with cold water.

1 comment:

  1. Have you ever seen the Authentic Guide to Drinks of the Civil War era? It's an interesting read, with drinks from the period, as well as a section talking about how unscrupulous liquor sellers would doctor their product to make it appear to be something it wasn't.. Adding turpentine to make it taste like gin for example.



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