Required reading for bartenders used to be a single text: Mr. Boston: Official Bartender’s Guide, a handy compendium of drink recipes that has remained in print since 1935. Nowadays, though, cocktail connoisseurs hungry for richer material have spurred a resurgence of interest in other classic bar manuals, too. We recently got our hands on one such gem: the 1954 edition of Bottoms Up (Greystone Press), a racily illustrated collection of drinks gathered from some of the mid-20th century’s most famous restaurants, bars, and bons vivants. Among our favorite entries from bygone New York City institutions are the Fur Collar (a blend of apricot brandy, vodka, and orange juice from The Colony), the Green Tree (a creme de menthe cocktail from Lindy’s), the Mr. Soule Special (a brandy and citrus concoction created by the proprietor of Le Pavillon); and the good old Manhattan. Volumes like Bottoms Up evoke an era in which the bartender’s craft was as celebrated as the chef’s—a notion that’s popular once again today and has even made an impression on _Mr. Boston _(John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2009); it includes contributions from cocktail authorities like Dale DeGroff and SAVEUR wine and spirits editor David Wondrich, as well as notes on garnishes and the history of classic cocktails. We’ll raise our glass to that.
The Cocktail Chronicles