Golden Age

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Bartender Jerry Thomas pouring his famous flaming drink, the blue blazer

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Bartenders behind the sticks in the Toronto St. Charles Hotel, 1911.

1850s to 1919

    Cocktails were certainly being created before 1850. In 1827, Oxford students would publish the first known alcoholic beverage recipe book. However, it wasn’t yet a national facet of American society or something that one could order at a bar. The Golden Age of American cocktails was spurred by a few factors. First, there was a mass amount of immigration from Europe. Central European immigrants brought with them their love of communal drinking. Secondly, the Industrial Revolution was now in full swing. This ballooned the size of cities and made most every common good less expensive to produce, including spirits. Lastly, the US government relaxed their taxes on alcohols that they had long fancied as a way to pay for wars. Immigration, the Industrial Revolution, and lessened taxes spurred the Golden Age of mixology. The last ingredient, innovation, would come in part when Jerry Thomas would publish his famous book, the Bar-Tender’s Guide, in 1862. By then he was a bartender famous for having poured drinks from San Fransisco to New York City and had built a reputation as the best of the best. Bartenders were very secretive about their recipes and kept them as competitive secrets. Thomas broke that mold and penned the first modern bartender’s book, opening the profession to the masses and proliferating the trade of the bartender. By this point, bartenders were now stars. People flooded to have drinks made by specific bartenders due to their quality. Henry Craddock, an American-trained British bartender, was learning his craft.People referred to mixology, the art and science of making a better cocktail. Many modern American cocktails have roots in this era. The martini, highballs, flip drinks, and sidecars. These four cocktails, including the daiquiri (invented in Cuba) and the old fashioned (older than even this cocktail era) form the basis of modern cocktail variation. Cocktails as we know them were contemporized in this time period. The future was very bright for the cocktail world.




Drink: Mint Julep

    The mint julep is one of the famous cocktails described by Jerry Thomas. Because it is so old, there are many different ways of making the drink. Please feel free to explore and tinker with the recipe to fit your own needs.

For a more period similar recipe:

For the modern, iconic cocktail:

Use 8-10 leaves of mint and place them in the bottom of the julep glass

Add one sugar cube and 0.25oz simple syrup

Add 2oz bourbon

Muddle the mint and the sugar at the bottom of the glass briefly

Add crushed or pebbled ice, but not too much, and stir the drink

Fill to the top and cap with crushed or pebbled ice. Garnish with a mint sprig. A straw highly recommended

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Mint Julep

Golden Age