Mr. Boston Holiday Cocktails Book Review
Notable Cocktail Lists in Michelin Guides

Bonus Boothby

The good folks at Anchor Distilling have reprinted Cocktail Boothby's American Bartender. About a year or so they put out an edition of the book, but this summer they added more to it. In addition to Boothby's text, there is an introduction about drinking in San Francisco around the turn of the century, a biography of Boothby, pictures of venues where Boothby worked in San Francisco and beyond, and other historical documents such as letters of recommendation from Boothby's previous employers. In the back of the book is a handwritten copy of an addenda, probably for a later revision, with additional recipes written sometime after 1909, and possibly written by Boothby himself. It was found tucked into one of the few remaining copies of the book left after the 1906 earthquake and fire. 


Boothby was the most famous San Francisco bartender of his day, working around the Bay Area and eventually behind the bar at the Palace Hotel. That's one of a few places he worked that are standing today, so I plan to do some research on the other venues because a Boothby tour could be kinda fun.

Within the recipes there are some treats as well. Boothby includes a recipe for "Water, Hot." I'm not sure when the first instance of the word "muddler" (instead of "toddy stick") was used, but Boothby uses it for his Brandy Julep.

In the book's addendum there are other recipes credited to local bartenders- the Champagne Cup (pineapple, white wine, Batavia arrack, champagne) by Geo Suff of the Palace Hotel, and the Stinger (creme de menthe and cognac) credited to "J.C. O'Connor, proprietor of the handsomest cafe for gentlemen in the world, corner Eddy & Market Streets, S.F.".

I am tempted to try this drink:

Breck and Brace
A '49ers Beverage

Fill a small bar glass with water and throw it out again, then fill the glass with bar sugar and throw that out, leaving the glass apparently frosted inside. Pour in a jigger of cognac then fill the glass with cold champagne. Then smile. 

Not all the drinks sound as delicious. The Golden Slipper, for example, layers goldwasser atop an egg yolk atop Yellow Chartreuse. The Knickebein is a shot with egg yolk and egg white used separately in a drink. (At least one brave soul has tried it at home.)

Boothby offers practical advice too, such as "Do not serve a frosted glass to a gentleman who wears a mustache, as sugar adheres to that appendage and causes great inconvenience." There is also advice about the impossibility of listing accurate recipes for sour/sweet balancing, as each lime/lemon is different. He calls this "one of the most important secrets in barkeeping" that can only be acquired by practice.

All in all, this book a worthy addition to any cocktail/San Francisco historian's cabinet.

Get Camper's Book: Tonic Water AKA G&T WTF.