Sunday, February 9, 2014

Review: The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book by Albert Stevens Crockett

Synopsis: From pre Civil War bartending to the night clubs of the 1940s, these bar books document the trends and mores of their respective eras. Beginning with the first known recipe book compiled for those seeking to serve sophisticated beverages, through the birth of many of the 21st century's drink standards and the tales of those who consumed them, these drink guides provide an insider's glimpse into the excess and splendor of the pre- and post-Prohibition eras.
Based on the actual bar book used by the Waldorf-Astoria prior to Prohibition, this collection of cocktails serves up more than 350 recipes. In addition to documenting the origin of many cocktails and mixed drinks still commonplace today, the book chronicles the background of their creation and the antics of some of the cronies Buffalo Bill Cody and Bat Masterson, among others who were regulars at the bar. (from the online description)

Review: I picked this up at vintage shop, along with a marvelous hat (see picture below). This is a faithful reprint of the infamous bar book that survived Prohibition. It's a fascinating read - at times. It clearly wasn't meet to be read and used by modern cocktail drinkers. The prose has too many reference to people long dead and forgotten. As for the recipes, there are amusing and interesting to read, but might be hard to copy. Several time, there are no measurements or instructions. It also must be stated, this book, while printed in 2003, was written in 1935. There are no recipes for Tequila or Vodka, and certainly none for the modern flavored alcohols or schnapps. Almost all the recipes are for Gin, Vermouth, Rum or Brandy. Which, if you like that, then this is perfect for you. Bitters also features heavily, which in my research, I discovered, are actually hard to procure as they have fallen out of popularly.
Having said that, I found several recipes I wish to try - the Jack Rose, Ruby, Roosevelt, and the Strawberry. As my best friend has a lovely collection of quality old-time alcohol, I think I can persuade her to have a vintage cocktail night!
In the end, if you are a Prohibition enthusiast or just enjoy reading about cocktail days gone by, you will enjoy this book. If you are looking for fun new party drinks, this is not the book for you.

Bookmarks: 6 of 10

Awards: None

ISBN: 0-9743259-0-2
Date Finished: 2-8-2014
Pages: 177

Me, in the vintage hat, reading this book.

1 comment:

  1. I love, love, love the hat! I have a collection of hats myself that I wear (mostly on Sundays).