The Gentleman's Companion by Charles H. Baker is one of the most entertaining historical cocktail books, if not always the most useful. It contains cocktail recipes gathered from Baker's travels around the world, but the best parts are the drink introductions and settings. Like this one:
If served cold: work 2 tsp strained honey into 1 tbsp boiling water until well dissolved. Add 1 jigger Jamaica rum, shake with cracked ice, pour into stemmed cocktail glass and dust with nutmeg. Furnished us by Emerson Low, Esq., gentleman, student, Rhodes Scholar, author and delightful dilettante, who, now that he is married and possessed of child and responsibility, is not nearly so diverting, it pains us to say.
It's a cocktail recipe, and a total diss.
Anyway, my pal St. John Frizell has been studying the life of Charles H. Baker. He gave an awesome talk at Tales of the Cocktail this year, and published a long biography in the Oxford American this summer. Now he's posted the story on his website. It's a must-read for all Baker fans.