History Byte – Care for a Cocktail?

Jerry Thomas demonstrating his famous Blue Blazer.
“How to Mix Drinks, or The Bon-Vivant’s Companion” New York: Dick & Fitzgerald, Publishers, 1862. pg. 77.

Are you a fan of mixed drinks?  If so, you have Jerry Thomas to thank!  Jerry Thomas was an American bartender who popularized and revolutionized mixed drinks in North America.  He was known for his flashy showmanship, including the “Blue Blazer” a flaming whiskey drink he invented.  His work “How to Mix Drinks” was the first bartender’s guide published in the United States and includes recipes for many drinks that had not been previously published.  But why are we at The Black Creek Growler talking about the cocktail king?  Because he also made mixed beer drinks!  I’ve included a few of his recipes below from his seminal work “How to Mix Drinks, or The Bon-Vivant’s Companion” which was first published in 1862. 

129. Ale Sangaree (Sangaree is an old spelling of what we now call sangria)(Use a large bar glass)                     
1 teaspoonful of sugar, dissolved in a tablespoonful of water.  Fill the tumbler with ale, and grate nutmeg on top.

148. Egg Flip         
Put a quart of ale in a tinned saucepan on the fire to boil; in the mean time, beat up the yolks of four, with the whites of two eggs, adding four table-spoonfuls of brown sugar and a little nutmeg; pour on the ale by dgrees, beating up, so as to prevent the mixture from curdling; then pour back and forth repeatedly from vessel to vessel, raising the hand to as great a height as possible – which process produces the smoothness and frothing essential to the good quality of the flip.  This is excellent for a cold, and, from its fleecy appearance, is sometimes designated: a yard of flannel.

This is not a mixed beer drink – but is one of Jerry’s ‘signature’ cocktails – it sounds like a unique beverage!
174. Tom and Jerry    
(use punch-bowl for the mixture.)         
5 lbs. sugar.  
12 eggs.     
1/2 small glass of Jamaica rum.                    
1 1/2 teaspoonful of ground cinnamon.                   
1/2   do.   do.   cloves.                  
1/2   do.   do.   allspice.       
Beat the whites of the eggs to a stiff froth, and the yolks until they are as thin as water, then mix together and add the spice and rum, thicken with sugar until the mixture attains the consistency of a light batter.                                                                                                                   
To deal out Tom and Jerry to customers:  Take a small bar glass, and to one table-spoonful of the above mixture, add one wine-glass of brandy, and fill the glass with boiling water, grate a little nutmeg on top.

Eggs aren’t something you’d find behind most bars today, but they were integral ingredients in many recipes in the 19th century.  If you happen to give one of these a go, report back to us and let us know how it tasted!


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