Cocktail History in America: The Age of Entertaining (1933-1980s)
The Party Starts Here...and There...and Over There, Too
The Cullen-Harrison Act went into effect on April 7, 1933, and the end of Prohibition (the Twenty-First Amendment) was just around the corner. By the end of 1933, America had its cocktails back, in the legal-est of senses. An abundance of new cocktails and mixed drinks survived dark days, and cocktails bars returned to the limelight. In the 1930s, Tiki culture was born (though it would REALLY take off after the return of World War II soldiers who had been stationed in the South Pacific). By the late 1940s, cocktail guides were written for every host or hostess wannabe and throwing cocktail parties, complete with savory (and often strange) canapes, was the "in" thing to do. Some bartenders returned to America and others stayed abroad, but regardless of location, many emerged as respected authorities (and authors).
Cocktails were influencing pop culture and vice versa. Corporate sponsorship became common, with companies giving away pamphlets full of recipes (you might be surprised how many late 1960s/1970s books and pamphlets on astrology themed-cocktails you can find). In the middle and later part of the 20th century, vodka and tequila/mezcal gained popularity and rum, an early product of the American colonies, returned from its dormancy. All three joined gin, brandy, and whiskey, and the old triad of base spirits grew substantially. Increasingly, though, cocktails and mixed drinks contained more ingredients, wandered farther away from their 19th century origins, or just disappeared in favor of a set of core (popular) classics and new standards.
Suggested Books & Manuscripts in Special Collections
- Beebe, Lucius, The Stork Club Bar Book. New York ; Toronto : Rinehart & Co., 1946. Call Number: TX 851 B35 1946
- Burke, Harman Burney. Burke's Complete Cocktail & Drinking Recipes, with Recipes for Food Bits for the Cocktail Hour. New York: Boston Books, 1934. Call Number: TX 951 B85 1934
- Burke, Harman Burney. Burke's Complete Cocktail & Drinking Recipes, with Recipes for Food Bits for the Cocktail Hour. New York: Boston Books, 1936. Call Number: TX 951 B85 1936
- Cobb, Irvin S. Irvin S. Cobb's Own Recipe Book. Louisville : Frankfort Distilleries, c1934. Call Number: TX 951 C63 1930
- Crahan, Marcus. Early American Inebrietatis: Review of the Development of American Habits in Drink and the National Bias and Fixations Resulting Therefrom. Los Angeles : Zamorano Club, c1964. Call Number: GT 2853 U5 C7 1964
- Crockett, Albert Stevens. The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book: with Amendments due to Repeal of the XVIIIth: Giving the Correct Recipes for Five Hundred Cocktails and Mixed Drinks Known and Served at the World's Most Famous Brass Rail before Prohibition, together with More Than One Hundred Established Formulas for Cocktails and Other Beverages, Orginated while Prohibition was in Effect: The Whole Flavored with Dashes of History Mixed in a Shaker of Anecdote and served with a Chaster of Illuminative Information. New York : Dodd, Mead and Company, 1934. Call Number: TX 951 C77 1934
- Dagouret, P. Le Barman Universel=The Universal Barman: 600 Recettes de Boissons de Bar, les Vins, les Eaux. Paris : Flammarion, . Call Number TX 951 D3 1948
- Driscoll, John F. The Home Bartender: A Book with a Wealth of Information with over 400 Recipes. [Chicago : s.n., c1933]. Call Number: TX 951 D75 1933
- Duffy, Patrick. The Official Mixer's Manual; The Standard Guide for Professional & Amateur Bartenders Throughout the World. Garden City: Garden City Books, 1956. Call Number: TX 951 D77 1956
- Duffy, Patrick. The Standard Bartender's Guide. New York: Pocket Books, c1955. Call Number: TX 951 D844x 1955
- Emery, David A. The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks. Garden City: Garden City Books, 1952. Call Number: TX 951 E55 1952
- Famous Recipes by Famous People. [Del Monte, Calif.] : Hotel Del Monte, . Call Number: TX 715 F1948 1936
- Fleury, R. de. 1700 Cocktails for the Man behind the Bar. London, W. Heinemann Ltd. . Call Number: TX 051 F5548 1934
- For Home Use. Port-of-Spain, Trinidad : Angostura Bitters Ltd., 1937. Call Number: TX 951 F66 1937
- Greenberg, Emanuel. Whiskey in the Kitchen: The Lively Art of Cooking with Bourbon, Scotch, Rum, Brandy, Gin, Liqueurs, and Kindred Spirits. New York: Weathervane Books, c.1968. Call Number: TX 726 G7
- Here's How: A Great Mixer in Any Company. New York, N.Y. : Sparklets Corporation, 1936. Call Number: TX 951 H47 1936
- Old Mr. Boston: One Hundred and Twenty Cocktails, Fizzes, Punches, Highballs, Toddies, and Long Drinks. Boston : Ben-Burk , c1934. Call Number: TX 951 C65 1934
- MacNiel, Stanley S. Zodiac Cocktails: Cocktails for All Birthdays. New York, Mayfair Pub. Co., 1940. Call Number: TX 951 M17
- Mario, Thomas. Playboy's Host & Bar Book. Chicago: Playboy Press, 1971. Call Number: TX 951 M266
- Muir, Augustus. How to Choose and Enjoy Wine. New York: Bonanza Books, c.1972. Call Number: TP 548 H685 1972
- Pick-Me-Up: Thirteen Drawings in Colour by Ian Fenwick; with Thirteen Rhyming Recipes by A. N. Other. London : Centaur Press, 1933. Call Number: PN 6175 P53 1933
- Proskauer, Julien J. More Fun at Cocktail Time!: A Rollicking Book of Games and Tricks. New York, N.Y. : Seagram-Distillers Corp., c1935. Call Number: TX 951 P76 1935
- Saucier, Ted. Ted Saucier's Bottoms Up. New York: Greystone Press, 1951. Call Number: TX 951 S38 1951
- Smith, J. Soule. The Mint Julep, the Very Dream of Drinks. Lexington, Ky.] The Gravesend Press, 1949. Call Number: TX 951 S64 1949
- Thomas, Jerry and Herbert Asbury. The Bon Vivant's Companion. New York, Grosset & Dunlap 1934, c1928. Call Number: TX 951 T48 1934
- Tschirky, Oscar. 100 Famous Cocktails: The Romance of Wine and Liquors, Etiquette, Recipes, published in collaboration with Oscar of the Waldorf. New York, Kenilworth Press [©1934]. Call Number: TX 951 O5 1934
- Ms2013-027. Cocktail Ephemera Collection, 1870s-2000s. Finding aid available online.
- Ms2013-026. "An Ideal Home" Illustrated Scrapbook, c.1940s? Finding aid available online. Item available in digital form.
- Ms2013-080. Norfolk & Western Railway Menus, c.1940s-1960s? Finding aid available online.
- Ms1980-005. Frank Leslie Campbell Papers, 1953-1979. Finding aid available online.
- Ms2015-040. El Mirador Hotel Cocktail Menu, n.d. (probably 1960s). Finding aid available online.
Special Collections Culinary Links
From Knox Gelatine: Desserts, Salads, Candies and Frozen Dishes, c.1936
- History of Food & Drink Manuscript Collections
- Digitized Manuscript Collections
- Digitized Books
- What's Cookin' @Special Collections (blog)
- About the History of Food & Drink collecting area
- History of Food & Drink LibGuide
- Infant, Child, & Family Nutrition Resources LibGuide
- Cocktail History in America LibGuide
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