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THOMAS, Jerry.

How to Mix Drinks, or the Bon-Vivant's Companion,

to which is appended A Manual for the Manufacture of Cordials, Liquors, Fancy Syrups, &c., &c., … Illustrated with Descriptive Engravings. The whole containing over 600 valuable recipes. By Christian Schultz.

New York: Dick & Fitzgerald, 1862 Stock Code: 135775
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The first cocktail recipe book

First edition of the first ever guide to mixed drinks, this copy in a later state with the "How-To Mix Drinks, or The Bon-Vivant's Companion" title page and 2.50 price to the front board.

Showcasing "the first legitimate American culinary art the first uniquely American cultural product to catch the world's imagination" (Wondrich, p. 11), Thomas's book on cocktails was a great success, with the price rising in the first year of publication from 1.50 to 2.00, and then to 2.50. There was also a change of title: the earliest copies have "The Bar-Tenders' Guide" printed on the title page, closely matching the title blocked on the front board ("The Bar Tender's Guide") but with "How to Mix Drinks" lettered on the spine. This more inclusive spine title was utilised on the title page of the second issue, subtitled "the Bon Vivant's Companion", perhaps to appeal to the amateur of alcohol rather than solely the professional practitioner.

Jerry Thomas was "one of the most distinguished, if not the chief, of American 'bar-tenders'" (Hingston, p. 245). His career was an embodiment of the 19th-century American picaresque. Born in Sackets Harbor, New York c.1829, he had sailed the world; prospected for gold in California in 1949; established the first minstrel troupe on the West Coast; represented the American sporting fancy at the notorious Heenan-Sayers fight in Farnborough; made and lost a couple of fortunes by his own admission; and "tended bar in just about every place where conviviality was at high ebb, from London, England, to Virginia City, Nevada" (Wondrich, p. 13). A year after the book's publication, Edward Hingston, an English theatrical promoter and agent, encountered Thomas at the Occidental, then "the newest and the best hotel in San Francisco". He described Thomas as "a gentleman who is all ablaze with diamonds. There is a very large pin, formed of a cluster of diamonds, in the front of his magnificent shirt, he has diamond studs at his wrists, and gorgeous diamond rings on his fingers... Mr. Jerry Thomas we are told can command his hundred dollars, or twenty pounds weekly, for wages. It must be remembered however that he is in California, and that he is engaged as a 'star'" (Hingston, p. 245).

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Octavo. Original green sand-grained cloth; spine lettered in gilt with "How to Mix Drinks" title within elaborate scrolling flourishes and publisher's monogram within a roundel surmounted by wings at tail; front board with the earlier title "The Bar Tender's Guide" lettered in gilt around a large block of a cheroot toting toper as per the earliest editions, "Price $2.50" beneath; rear board with publisher's monogram device in an escutcheon stamped in blind ; both boards framed with elaborate panel and foliate cornerpieces in blind. Contemporary ownership inscription of one Louis Mastin to the front pastedown, manuscript in German giving a recipe for something closely approaching Swedish Bitters inverted to the rear pastedown.


Vignette illustrations in the text, 8-page publisher's catalogue and an additional 2 leaves of yellow publisher's advertisements bound in at rear.


A little rubbed, careful restoration to corners and head and tail of spine, endpapers lightly browned, neat repair to the front hinge, text a touch toned, occasional small stains, leaf of pp.153-4 torn without loss, japanese tissue repair, overall very good.


See Hingston, Edward Peron, The Genial Showman, Chatto and Windus, 1881, new edition; Wondrich, David, Imbibe! … a Salute in Stories and Drinks to "Professor" Jerry Thomas, Pioneer of the American Bar, Penguin, 2007.


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