Sunday, April 25, 2021

Gilded Age Cocktails: History, Lore, and Recipes from America's Golden Age


Gilded Age Cocktails is a beautifully curated collection of history, minutiae, and cocktails by Dr. Cecelia Tichi. Due out 4th May 2021 from NYU Press, it's 176 pages and will be available in hardcover and ebook formats. 

This is such an exuberant and well written ode to historical and classic cocktails and drinking culture. The author is both a historian and clearly enamored of the elegance and refinement (and sometimes humor) to be found in these classic libations and their origins. This is not just a bar book full of recipes. To the contrary, it's a history essay with recipes interspersed in the relevant stories. The recipe for the "Blue Blazer"  is contained in the story of Jerry Thomas, the originator of the drink (and quite a character, according to this account). The recipe for the "Tuxedo" is presented in a charming interlude on the Erie Railway and passengers who were offered a complimentary cocktail by the railway en route to Tuxedo Park. There are many more presented in a similar vein.

Each of the recipes includes an introductory description and yields, ingredients in American standard (oz), and step by step instructions. Variations and alternatives are provided at the end of the recipes. The book also includes a useful bibliography and links resources for further reading as well as a fairly comprehensive glossary of terms and an index. 

Many of the ingredients should be available at any well stocked grocery/liquor store although some might need to be sourced at specialists.

Cocktails are such a civilized interlude and this book includes a solid cross section of classics to build mixology skills and impress one's friends at the next gathering.
Five stars. Fans of the period as well as cocktail fans won't want to miss this one. It should be sought out as a well written history of the cocktails along with recipes, and not the reverse.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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