Just prior to prohibition, a great little booklet was put out by The Wine and Spirit Bulletin called Beverages De Luxe. It is a collection of articles, and recipes, written by owners of distilleries and others in the business. Some of the contributors include George Brown (Brown and Foreman) and A.M. Hanauer (Hamburger Distillery, Pittsburgh, PA) among many others. Hanauer wrote a piece on rye whisky and quotes Bismarek (sic – most likely Bismarck) as saying “Beer is for women, wine is for men and rye is for heroes.” There is some great info on vermouth, New England Rum and Gin. Plus some really interesting recipes from many of the hotels across America. Wanna see?
The cocktails towards the back of the book are quite interesting and really show the level of craftsmanship before the temperance advocated crushed it into near oblivion. Vermouth is well represented in the recipes, along with at least five different types of bitters and a number of absinthe cocktails.
Here’s an example of “a good morning bracer” from the Hotel Belvedere in Baltimore, Maryland:
1/3 Italian Vermouth
1/3 Gordon Gin
1/3 Irish Whiskey
Few dashes of Absinthe
Frappe in a cocktail glass.
They weren’t afraid of mixing base spirits.
If you like classic cocktails, take a look at the online version. I doubt you will be disappointed.