Bartender, Mix Me A Drink
The Bartenders Guide written by Jerry Thomas in 1862 was the first book on mixology. Cocktails gained wider appeal at that time through the ready availability of ice. Prohibition in America (1920-33) provided an incentive to mix something with the unpalatable home-brewed hooch. Drug stores, however, were still allowed to sell ‘medicinal whiskey’. Patients could legally buy a pint of liquor every ten days with a physician’s prescription (the original Dr Feelgood?).
The Golden Age
Tiki culture arrived in America shortly after prohibition, . Don the Beachcomber (Ernest Gantt) opened an iconic restaurant and Polynesian hot spot in Hollywood. Victor Bergeron (aka “Trader Vic”) ran a competing Tiki spot in San Francisco. Many of the great cocktail recipes were created during the 1930s. One of the definitive cocktail books of that era was Harry Craddock’s The Savoy Cocktail Book which contained some 750 recipes.
The Modern Era
Cocktails fell out of favour the 1950s, 60s and 70s until reviving in the 1980s with vodka often substituting for gin in some cocktails. The 1990s saw the real revival of classic cocktail culture, bringing back historical recipes and strict quality standards. The early 2000s saw the real rise of cocktail culture, mixing traditional cocktails and many other novel ingredients.