10.04.2013

"A Design for Drinking" from 1948 by Charles H. Baker.

if you ask me, who wrote the most important books for professional drinkers - its two people never worked as a bartender. Charles H. Baker and and David Augustus Embury ("The fine Art of Mixing Drinks").
Just digged in the
1946 Edition of
"The Gentleman's Companion -
an exotic drinking book or around the world with jigger, beaker and flask"
and found this very useful 10 points in chapter No. 1 "A Design for Drinking". Some of them made me smile - we do make the same mistakes 66 years later int the bar and on the menus…
enjoy Charles H. Baker:
  • Out of all the thousands of cocktails listed in all books there are too many drinks calling for gin and vermouth. We admire vermouth in its place, but that simply isn't in 60% of our cocktails.
  • Entirely too many cocktails specified too much Italian vermouth and French vermouth with fruit juices. It is an evil combination, productive of evil enzymes and tastes
  • Too many cocktails of delicate base specified too much of Italian vermouth, with result that the latter drowned out the basic and better flavor. Like absinthe, Italian vermouth is a dominant taste; and we must watch it.
  • Many cocktails seem to get into books more because of a trick od "cute" name - heaven only knows why! - than for the chemical soundness of its raison d'être. Calling a drink a Widow'S Kiss, or a Horned Toad, really isn'T any ticket to liquid immorality; for no inferior blend ever last out the night of its evil concoction.
  • Except for flavoring cocktails, and one or two are Exotics like the Hongkong Rosy Dawn, immortal to our memory, no mixed drink having more than 3 main alcoholic ingredients but which becomes hoist on the petard of its own casual plurality…. In other words, barring Pousse Cafés and other  feminine threats, no drink calling gor 1 part gin, 1/2 of cherry brandy, 1/2 Curaçao, 1/2 apricot brandy, and 1/2 rye whisky, can ever prove out into anything but the taste melee it is. However it is possible to point up a drink with a dash of this and that upon a basically sound foundation.
  • Watch using liquors or cordials in cocktails. Most of these are very sweet and not only can make an otherwise good mix to sweet, but lose their own character through dilution.
  • Out thirty years of bending elbows above well-worn mahogany convinces us that far too many hosts mix too-small drinks in too-small glassware. Bigger drinks stay colder (or hotter) longer; and a fist temperature Martini or a puke-warm Hot Buttered Rum are evil things, owning the same dispensability as poke-warm coffee or a puke-warm lover. all cocktails served at Java Head are big "doubles" put in pre-chilled 7-ouncer stemmed cocktail glasses, sometimes larger…. No ulterior motives here either: folk drink fewer and better to achieve like results, that's all. 
  • {….}
  • Measure accurately, and don't betrayed by that insidious temptation to pout with a "heavy jigger". It is undeniable hospitality to wish guests to get their ample share of spirits, but don't force the amount. More drinks are spilled through being to strong than being to weak.
  • serve cold drinks ARTIC COLD. Chill bottles and glasses, to speed up the process … Serve hot drinks STEAMING HOT…. Compromise in either of these events is merely bargaining with fault and disaster.
  • If there are guests present who appreciate decent cocktails, let's do the mixing ourself. The amateur will always take infinitely more pains than any houseboy or butler. Trust him for sure usual fare a whisky-and-soda, the Tom Collins, and so on. They are easy. But the crisp pungency of a proven cocktail demands infinite care in observance of the simple mixing requirements. It is such a brief step from excellence to mediocrity.
  • Don't try to make decent cocktails out of cheap, briefly aged liquors. Stick to highballs, or else do the job up right. We can no more build a fine cocktail on dollar gin than Whistler could paint his mother's portrait with barn paint.

Well, I have to disagree with Mr. Baker. I do trust my butler - also drinks wise!