Eulogized in his 1885 obituary in The New York Times as the "Father of Modern Bartending," few people have contributed so much to the art of the cocktail as Jeremiah P. "Jerry" Thomas. "The Professor," as he was affectionately nicknamed, had several drink inventions to his name, including the Martinez (precursor to the modern Martini) and the flaming Scotch whisky "Blue Blazer".
A compulsive wanderer, he honed his craft at bars all across America, most notably the Occidental Hotel in San Francisco and his own bar in what is now New York's Flatiron District. But his most significant mark on the bartending world was his 1862 compendium, How to Mix Drinks: Or, the Bon-Vivant's Companion. This book was the very first "bartender's manual" – an expansive list of recipes featuring everything in the mixology canon at the time. Every cocktail guide that came afterward, and indeed the entire current craft cocktail resurgence, owes a debt to Thomas's mid-19th-century opus.
Reading How to Mix Drinks today gives the curious reader incredible insight into the origins of modern cocktail culture. There are not yet any Martinis or Manhattans, and certainly nothing called a "Fuzzy Navel". The "Old Fashioned" is simply called a "Whiskey Cocktail". And there are scores of recipes for elaborate punches and cordials using exotic-sounding ingredients like arrack (a liquor distilled from sugarcane and rice or palm sap), madeira (a fortified wine made on the subtropical island of the same name), and "Bogart's Bitters" — all now available again with renewed interest after decades of obscurity.
This beautiful hardcover reprint of How to Mix Drinks is meticulously reproduced from its original 1862 edition, and features an additional introduction and appendix by cocktail historian David Wondrich.