cover image Imbibe!


David Wondrich, . . Perigee, $23.95 (317pp) ISBN 978-0-399-53287-0

cofounder of the Museum of the American Cocktail, Wondrich delivers a well-researched chronicle of “Professor” Jerry Thomas's life and times as late 19th-century bartender extraordinaire. From gold rush saloons in San Francisco to last calls in lower Manhattan, Thomas collected material for The Bartender's Guide , the seminal 1862 collection of cocktail recipes. Wondrich offers up 100 classic cocktails from Thomas's guide and other period sources, along with 16 new drinks that recall those golden days. Old-time tools, ingredients and measurements are conveniently converted to their contemporary equivalents, as julep strainers and toddy sticks are hard to come by. Fortunately, many of the concoctions transcend time in their simplicity. General Harrison's Egg Nogg, for example, calls for hard cider, sugar, an egg and some “lumps of ice.” For the newly minted offerings, Julie Reiner of New York's Flatiron Lounge conjures up a Cherry Smash that includes brandied cherries, cognac and Orange Curaçao, and Wondrich weighs in with a glass of rye, simple syrup and Angostura bitters, which he calls a Tombstone. The result is a lovely homage to Thomas's indomitable spirits. B&w illus. (Nov.)