The Bar-Tender’s Guide or How to Mix Drinks by Jerry Thomas (1862, 1887)


The first drinks book in the English language to contain recipes for cocktails, The Bar-Tender’s Guide or How to Mix Drinks by Jerry “The Professor” Thomas (later retitled How to Mix Drinks or the Bon-Vivan’ts Companion) presented the broad variety of mixed drinks that had gained rapid popularity in the United States by the early 1860s.

Ten cocktails appear in this landmark work: Brandy, Champagne, Fancy Brandy, Fancy Gin, Gin, Japanese, Jersey, Soda, The, and Whiskey. Thomas’s travels to England in 1859 where he appeared as a guest barman at the Bowling Alley Bar in London’s Cremorne Pleasure Gardens yielded a few adaptations of British drinks such as Gin Punch by [Alexis Benoit] Soyer.

Punch Jelly, another Soyer-influenced concoction comes with the caution that: “the strength of the punch is so artfully concealed by its admixture with the gelatine, that many persons, particularly of the softer sex have been tempted to partake so plentifully of it as to render them somewhat unfit for waltzing or qua drilling after supper.”

Bottled cocktails and punch to speed up service are also introduced in this amazing mixed drink bible.

Thomas’s publisher printed an 1876 edition during the barman’s lifetime and two years after his death, published a posthumous edition in 1887 that included numerous popular drinks of the late 1880s. —Anistatia Miller

Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 15.27.11 Click here to read the 1887 edition.