A few cups of good cheer
December 10, 2013 4:34 PM   Subscribe

A Bar Above presents 25 freely available classic bartending books providing a wealth of drinks (and otherwise fascinating information) to liven up your holiday season. These are hosted on Google's Play service, so a Google account might be necessary to access.

A Bar Above is an otherwise awesome resource for both professional and weekend bartenders, featuring instructional videos, recipes and tools of the trade.
posted by codacorolla (9 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
I think I'm more interested in what the Mefi community has to say about some of these videos / references. Bartending for some time now, I have some rather pointed opinions but one doesn't learn the trade by not listening.
posted by efalk at 4:50 PM on December 10, 2013

My copy of How To Mix Drinks is the 1928 edition, edited by Herbert Asbury (the guy who wrote Gangs of New York.)

It's labelled in the front papers in cursive pencil
E.M. Hoover
Paris, 1929.
and on the next page, something like
R.T. Brémany
Paris, 1929
When I mix drinks, I like to think about Hoover and Brémany, gaily mixing Blue Blazers for the denizens of Montparnasse.
posted by zamboni at 5:35 PM on December 10, 2013 [3 favorites]

I love shit like this, thanks for posting it codacorolla.

What I don't love is having to sign in to some service to see full text of shit that's in the public domain. I know the A Bar Above guy included Archive.org links to a few of the books in the list, but he was being lazy to not find them all. Here they are:
#1: The Complete Confectioner (1809 ed.)
#2: Hand-Book of Wines, Practical, Theoretical, and Historical
#3: How to Mix Drinks
#4: British & Foreign Spirits
#5: The Cook's Guide, and Housekeeper's & Butler's Assistant
#6: Cooling Cups and Dainty Drinks
#7: Cups and Their Customs
#8: The Gentleman's Table Guide
#9: American and Other Drinks
#10: The Art of Blending and Compounding Liquors and Wines
#11: The New and Improved Illustrated Bartenders' Manual (not archive.org)
#12: American Druggist: Volume 18
#13: The Flowing Bowl
#14: Drinks of the World: Volume 1
#15: The Standard Manual of Soda and Other Beverages
#16: Cakes & Ale: (1913 ed.)
#17: Modern American Drinks (on Google Books (nonPlay))
#18: Dr. Chase's Recipes or, Information for Everybody
#19: Daly's Bartenders Encyclopedia
#20: Consolidated Library of Modern Cooking & Household Recipes (I think this is right, there is a section "V. Chafing-dish recipes, beverages & toasts, carving")
#21: A Bachelors Cupboard
#22: Beverages De Luxe
#23: The Ideal Bartender (LibriVox version)
#24: Henley's Twentieth Century Formulas, Recipes and Processes
#25: Beverages and Their Adulteration
posted by cog_nate at 6:51 PM on December 10, 2013 [17 favorites]

Classic cocktail mixing you say?

Old bartending books and cocktail recipes are great, however, I've discovered that modern tastes have changed, so the first time you try one of those 120 year old recipes, you may find that some of them are a lot sweeter or more cloying than something you would get at a modern bar. Usually one has to cut back on the sugar and the sweet vermouth in a lot of the recipes, as the quality of the spirits has actually gotten better (especially for the gin heavy drinks - science!), so you want to taste them more.

Imbibe! is a great history of Jerry P Thomas, bartending in the 1800s, and includes updated recipes (along with his originals).

Coupe glasses are making a comeback, these 4.5oz glasses are great, and lets you make nice small tastey drinks, so you can try a few different ones without ending up on the floor.

I still very much love the smallscreennetwork series of videos, since they tap into what actual bartenders are doing right now (and also have some great historical stuff through Robert Hess's Cocktail Spirit). I particularly like his stuff on home bar stocking and how to make a travel kit.

And for this season? Try this egg nog recipe*, it uses tequila and sherry and is delicious.

* My friend works with Morgenthaler, which is how I got turned onto that recipe
posted by mrzarquon at 6:57 PM on December 10, 2013 [4 favorites]

I like "Gin with Pine" from "How to Mix Drinks: Or, The Bon-vivant’s Companion"; it's basically 2 oz. of chips from a green pine log left to steep in a quart of gin. People were hardcore back in the day. "Say you know what this straight gin needs? Some pine resin! And could you maybe serve it to me in the bottom half of a broken wine bottle with really sharp and jagged edges? Thanks."

It's also amazing how many of these drinks call for eggs in them. One is "Sherry and egg". It's exactly what it sounds like. I guess maybe it helped with a more balanced diet for drunks?
posted by Grimgrin at 7:33 PM on December 10, 2013 [4 favorites]

> It's also amazing how many of these drinks call for eggs in them. One is "Sherry and egg". It's exactly what it sounds like. I guess maybe it helped with a more balanced diet for drunks?

You usually see them as egg whites mixed with sugar and alcohol, then whipped furiously (sometimes in a dry shake - no ice, just the spring from a hawthorne strainer). Which is almost the same thing that ends up in a souffle. End result is a creamy and foamy drink, the protein from the eggs holding the bubbles formed from the shake, and if there are yolks in it, they add fat which make it taste good (see the above egg nog recipe).

As for people doing strange things with alcohol, folks are still making custom infusions and tinctures with weird ingredients. Some of my friends have started making winter cocktails with bone marrow to had a smokey, fattiness to a drink. They also make things like szechuan pepper and pineapple bitters. Just like the culinary world, someone, somwhere is trying something crazy and weird to try new and different flavors, or just provide unique and novel experiences.
posted by mrzarquon at 8:06 PM on December 10, 2013

Final procedure for preparing Angostura bitters from American Druggist, Vol. 18, January 1, 1889 "Before filtering, add 30 pounds of honey." After reading the entire recipe, believe me, that is the easiest step.
posted by Jake DeNiro at 10:49 PM on December 10, 2013

Thanks Codacorolla for linking to my site. I hope the books are useful, as they have been a great resource for me.

Cog_nate, would you mind if I included these links in the site as well. This list is around half of the total amount of books that I have been researching and will take a closer look at arhcive.org to see if I can fill in the collection.

Thanks for all your support, and I hope everyone is having a great Holiday Season

Chris from A Bar Above
posted by abarabove at 8:25 AM on December 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

They're just links, man; go nuts w/them.
posted by cog_nate at 9:23 AM on December 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

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