Explore Thousands of Free Vintage Cocktail Recipes Online (1705–1951)

Where do the hip­ster mixol­o­gists of TokyoMex­i­co City and Brook­lyn take their inspi­ra­tion?

If not from the Expo­si­tion Uni­verselle des Vins et Spir­itueux’ free col­lec­tion of dig­i­tized vin­tage cock­tail recipe books, per­haps they should start.

An ini­tia­tive of the Muse­um of Wine and Spir­its on the Ile de Ben­dor in South­east­ern France, the col­lec­tion is a boon to any­one with an inter­est in cock­tail cul­ture …dit­to design, illus­tra­tion, evolv­ing social mores…

1928’s Chee­rio, a Book of Punch­es and Cock­tails was writ­ten by Charles, for­mer­ly of Delmonico’s, tout­ed in the intro­duc­to­ry note as “one who has served drinks to Princes, Mag­nates and Sen­a­tors of many nations”. No doubt dis­cre­tion pre­vent­ed him from pub­lish­ing his sur­name.

Charles appar­ent­ly abid­ed by the the­o­ry that it’s five o’clock some­where, with drinks geared to var­i­ous times of day, from the moment you “stag­ger out of bed, grog­gy, grouchy and cross-tem­pered” (try a Charleston Brac­er or a Brandy Port Nog) to the mid­night hour when “insom­nia, bad dreams, dis­il­lu­sion­ment and despair” call for such reme­dies as a Cholera Cock­tail or an Egg Whiskey Fizz.

As not­ed on the cov­er, there’s a sec­tion devot­ed to favorite recipes of celebri­ties. These big­wigs’ names will like­ly mean noth­ing to you near­ly one hun­dred years lat­er, but their first per­son rem­i­nis­cences bring them roar­ing back to the­atri­cal, boozy life.

Here’s cel­e­brat­ed vaude­vil­lian Trix­ie Frig­an­za:

In that nau­ti­cal city of Venice, I first made the acquain­tance of a remark­ably deli­cious drink known as ‘Port and Star­board’. Pour one half part Grena­dine or rasp­ber­ry syrup in a cor­dial glass. Then on top of this pour one half por­tion of Creme de Men­the slow­ly so that the ingre­di­ents will not mix. Dear old Venice. 


Pre­sum­ably any cock­tail recipe in the EUVS’s vast col­lec­tion could be adapt­ed as a mock­tail, but Charles gives a delib­er­ate nod to Pro­hi­bi­tion with a sec­tion on alco­hol-free (and extreme­ly easy to pre­pare) Tem­per­ance Drinks.

Don’t expect a Shirley Tem­ple — the triple threat child star was but an infant when Chee­rio was pub­lished. Expand your options with a Sarato­ga Cool­er or an Oggle Nog­gle instead.

Before attempt­ing to recite the poem that opens 1949’s Bot­toms Up: A Guide to Pleas­ant Drink­ing, you may want to slam a cou­ple of Depth Bombs Cock­tails or a Mer­ry Wid­ow Cock­tail No. 1.

In an abstemious con­di­tion, there’s no way this dit­ty can be made to scan…or rhyme:

The Advent of the Cock­tail

A lone­ly, aban­doned jig­ger of gin
Sat on a table top. “Alas”, cried he,
“Who will join me?” And he tried a friend­ly grin.
Came a pret­ty youth, Mam’selle Ver­mouth,
Who was bored with just being winey.
Said she to Sir Gin: “You’d be ever so nice
With Olive and Ice. And so they were Mar­ti­ni.

The cock­tail recipes are sol­id, through­out, how­ev­er, as one might expect from a book that dou­bled as an ad for spon­sor First Avenue Wine and Liquor Cor­po­ra­tion — “for Liquor…Quicker.”

We’ve yet to try any­thing from the “wines in cook­ery” sec­tion — but sus­pect that stur­dy fare like Pota­to Soup and Baked Beans could help sop up some of the alco­hol, even if con­tains some hair of the dog…

Shak­ing in the 60’s author Eddie Clark’s pre­vi­ous titles include Shak­ing with Eddie, Shake Again with Eddie and 1954’s Prac­ti­cal Bar Man­age­ment. 

Clark, who served as head bar­tender at London’s Savoy Hotel, Berke­ley Hotel and Albany Club, gets in the swing­ing 60s spir­it, by ded­i­cat­ing this work to “all imbib­ing lovers.”

William S. McCall’s decid­ed­ly boozy illus­tra­tions of ele­phants, anthro­po­mor­phized cock­tail glass­es and scant­i­ly clad ladies con­tribute to the fes­tive atmos­phere, though you prob­a­bly won’t be sur­prise to learn that some of them have not aged well.

Shak­ing in the 60’s boasts dozens of straight for­ward cock­tail recipes (the Beat­nik the Bun­ny Hug and the Mon­key Hugall fea­ture Pern­od), a sur­pris­ing­ly seri­ous-mind­ed sec­tion on wine, and a cou­ple of pages devot­ed to non-alco­holic drinks.

If your child turns up their nose at Clark’s Remain Sober, serve ‘em an Alber­mar­le Pussy­cat.

Clark also draws on his pro­fes­sion­al exper­tise to help home bar­tenders get a grip on mea­sure­ment con­ver­sionssup­ply lists, and toasts.

So con­fi­dent is he in his abil­i­ty to help read­ers throw a tru­ly mem­o­rable par­ty, he includes a dishy par­ty log, that prob­a­bly should be kept under lock and key after it’s been filled out. We imag­ine it would pair well with the Morn­ing Mashie, anoth­er Pern­od-based con­coc­tion ded­i­cat­ed to “all those enter­ing the hang­over class.”

Delve into the Expo­si­tion Uni­verselle des Vins et Spir­itueux’ free col­lec­tion of dig­i­tized vin­tage cock­tail recipe books from the 1820s through the 1960s here.

via Messy Nessy

Relat­ed Con­tent: 

A Dig­i­tal Library for Bar­tenders: Vin­tage Cock­tail Books with Recipes Dat­ing Back to 1753

A New Dig­i­tized Menu Col­lec­tion Lets You Revis­it the Cui­sine from the “Gold­en Age of Rail­road Din­ing”

An Archive of 3,000 Vin­tage Cook­books Lets You Trav­el Back Through Culi­nary Time

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, the­ater mak­er and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

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