Why Bertha E.L. Stockbridge is kind of a new „Jerry Thomas“. About an unknown public rare drinks book from 1920 brought by the French Connection.


"A box of chocolates underneath a bough,
An ice creme cone, some lemonade, and thou
Beside me singing in the wilderness
Make prohibition Paradise enow"


A few days ago, Thierry Daniel an Eric Fossard brought a fantastic selection of french oysters to Le Lion. While tasting an outstanding selection of this Oysters, they both told me about a very special book. As far a I know the first ever published drinks book only about non alcoholic drinks.

Ladies and Gentleman, Bertha Stockbridge, the Jerry Thomas of the „Nonalcoholic drink“

What to drink; the blue book of beverages; recipes and directions for making and serving non-alcoholic drinks for all occasions (1920), by Bertha E.L.Stockbridge.

To make a long story short:“Great Book, Great Book , Great Book ...“. Its about homemade syrups, fruit vinegars and shrubs. And it is like reading an old classic cocktail book. Exact measures, lots of eggs. cocktails, highballs, fizzes, cobblers, sours.

Reading this book is a great inspiration, even for preparing alcoholic drinks.

Only think: I have a problem with the use of the words „nonalcoholic cocktail“. A cocktail is a classic. A cocktail is all about the art of drinking alcohol. Bartender should be able to prepare great nonalcoholic drinks - they should not call them non alcoholic cocktails.

At Le Lion, we serve a selection of fresh prepared lemonades, like raspberry, ginger and, guess what, basil. It‘s fun to see, that customers often have a problem with the word „lemonade“. They like something „special“ - Lemonades seems to sound boring and ordinary. After they taste the drink - it‘s all gone. They like. Every bar should be able to serve a small selection of non alcoholic drink. Serving great classic and only be able to offer a Shirley Temple and Ipanema sound ridiculous 2010. So, pimp your non alcoholic drinks in 2010


  1. I am totally with you Mr Meyer.
    Just recently I discovered the variety and the outstanding taste of freshly made lemonades.
    For me they are the beste non alcoholic drinks and I know many people will prefer them over some sweet mix of juices.
    Also it is very interessting and joyful to play with recipes and create new lemonades, mostly because if something really tastes bad you didnt waste much money.


  2. If you are really serious about NA drinks, then there is one book that stands head and shoulders above the rest, uses Bertha and many more as references, but additionally declares, with humour and research unavailable anywhere else:
    - why and how drugs got into the bar world
    - explains in thrilling detail the rise and fall of the decent and once entirely acceptable alternative to alcoholic drinks - the soda fountain
    - explains how cocktails turned from morning to evening drinks
    - how the basis was laid in legal soda parlours as well as illegal speakeasies, for ladies in bars.
    - explains with modern day refernces how you can initiate and run an in-house top-notch soda program in your bar.
    And much, much more...

    It's Fix the Pumps by the esteemed Mr Darcy O'Neil, and he has, as Canadians do, gone a step fruther, forming the Extinct Chemcials Comapny to market once more Acid Phosphates and their ilk, that we may be once more able to party (alcohol free, boo!) like it's 1899...

  3. I recently received Bertha Stockbridge's book as a gift, and never having heard of her before, I had to look her up. That's how I found your blog. Mine is a new edition, available from Kalevala Books. kalevalabooks.compassrose.com/2011/01/what-to-drink-non-alcoholic-drinks-and.html

    Do you know if Bertha wrote any other drinks guides, or was this her only one?

  4. Darcy's Fix the Pumps is a great historical retrospective of nonalcoholic drinks, but to push Bertha Stockbridge's work aside is like saying that a modern cocktail collection makes Jerry Thomas obsolete.


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