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THE BARTENDING PROFESSION has a rich and varied history that only recently has come to light during the past two decades. Vintage cocktail and distillation books filled with recipes, techniques, and management procedures are being unearthed and collected at an unprecedented pace.

The cocktail was something really new in Italy during the 1920s and 1930s. After 2000 years of ippocratic wines , bitters and finally Vermouth served in a super classic way (the old style with just a lemon zest or a splash of soda), Italian barmen began to really to understand and incorporate cocktail culture imported from the rest of the world into their drink menus.

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In his 1851 runaway best-seller, The Modern Housewife or Ménagère, Soyer offered up recipes for Gold Jelly, made with eau-de-vie de Danzig; a Maraschino Jelly imbued with quartered fruits; and Rum-Punch Jelly.

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There is no other way to describe distiller Ambrose Cooper’s comprehensive book entitled The Complete Distiller except to quote the title page describing its contents.

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Haney’s Steward & Bartender’s Manual was one of many titles Jesse Haney & Co., Publishers produced for the trade. The reason this sample 82-page volume is of interest is because cocktail book collectors believe this work may be the book that Harry “The Dean” Johnson referred to as his very first and earliest work. No one will ever know for certain.

This is the first known—to date—volume dedicated entirely to mixed drinks in the English language. Oxford Night Caps: A Collection of Receipts for Making Various Beverages Used in the University was published a number of times between 1827 and 1931 to aid Oxford University students in mixing proper beverages for their on- and off-campus gatherings. The soft cover format remained the same from edition to edition and so did the drinks for the most part.

The Only William receives much less attention from historians today than Jerry Thomas and Harry Johnson, yet it could be argued that he was far more famous in his lifetime than either of them.

In this 1753 edition of The New English Dispensatory a simple Stomach Julep (Julepum Stomachicum) appears with some fascinating ingredients: a saffron syrup made with sherry, spirit rectified with mint, and a non-alcoholic mint distillate.

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Massialot’s lesser cookbook Nouvelle instruction pour les confitures, les liqueurs et les fruits fist appeared i 1692 as an anonymous edition published in Paris by Charles de Sercy. Brimming with recipes for liqueurs, eaux-de-vie, espirit de vin, ratafias, distilled botanical waters, and hypocras, this volume is another inspiration for bartenders aspiring to create new ingredients.