This book is the latest addition to our collection of cocktail books. Rosemary likes this book because of the history given for each cocktail recipe. This usually states where the author found the cocktail recipe and references many old cocktail books.
Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails: Prohibition Centennial Edition. Ted Haigh, Beverly, MA.: Quarry Books, 2020. Contents, Introduction, Bibliography, Index, Illustrations, 364 pp.
This book is full of recipes of cocktails that would have been made during Prohibition. Ted Haigh, the author, does a good job of telling the reader where he found the recipe and states why and how he may have changed the recipe, so the reader has an idea as to how the cocktail was made and why his recipe is better.
It is a well-designed book. I particularly like the fact that it is spiral bound and lays flat when in use. This makes its use much easier while making a cocktail. It is very well illustrated with many color photographs of the finished cocktails. Each cocktail falls into one of these categories: “Non-alcoholic”, “Illegal Cocktails” and Cocktails Redux”. They are then placed in alphabetical order.
When turning to a cocktail there is a lengthy history of the cocktail recipe and why it made it into this edition of Prohibition cocktails. This includes a smattering of the history of Prohibition as well as a description of the history of the cocktail. You can find the cocktail recipe very easily in the table of contents, but there is also an index if you are looking for information such as cocktails from a particular bartender or recipe book.
The book also has many illustrations from Prohibition such as bottle labels, cocktail book covers and images of people and places the author found interesting. It is a fun book to pick up and browse through at any time.
Haig provides excellent the descriptions of each cocktail. For example, he includes the Seelbach cocktail even though it was revealed that this cocktail recipe was made up in the 1990s. Adam Segar, who worked for the Seelbach Hotel in Louisville in the 1990s claimed to have found “a lost recipe from Prohibition” in the hotel records and made a press announcement to that effect. However, he actually created the recipe himself. It is a good cocktail and tall tales such as this are part of the cocktail heritage (as well as whiskey heritage!).
Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails: Prohibition Centennial Edition is a book that every bartender or person interested in spirits should have in their library. It is well written and very well researched. It is interesting to read, whether at length or to simply browse while sitting on the porch drinking a cocktail.
Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller