Vintage Cocktails

Posted 09/09/11 by Your Studio

Robert Benchley’s quote from the film ‘The Major and the Minor’ (1942) to Ginger Rogers – very suitable for the recent gloomy weather, so as we like looking to the past for inspiration as much as the future, we thought we’d bring you YourStudio’s story of Vintage Cocktails...

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We rifled through our bookshelves and with the help of friend and super-craftsperson Tom Van Deijn, found some amazing vintage cocktail recipe books.  We thought we’d like to share some of the pages as well as look a bit deeper into the history of some of the most classic old-fashioned cocktails, whilst also showing a selection of imagery we have found from the period. We hope you enjoy!

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Having been around for just a little bit more than two centuries, cocktails have slipped in and out of popularity. It had a bit of a downfall when other recreational drugs became common during the 1960’s and 70’s; and now in the 21st century, traditional cocktail is coming back onto the scene.

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The supersized cocktails served in recent times just make you appreciate vintage cocktail so much more. Cocktails are best served cold – that is why one 1917 manual recommended that cocktail glassware should range from only two and a half to four ounces; otherwise, by the time you hit the bottom, you’ll hit the warm martini… and nothing can be worse than that.

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The first ever definition of ‘cocktail’ was published in 1806.

The first ever cocktail party was held by Mrs Julius Walsh in Missouri in 1917.

The first ever museum dedicated to mixology and cocktail was founded in 2004 in New Orleans by master mixologist Dale DeGroff.

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The Museum of the American Cocktail is a non-profit organisation that aims to celebrate the American cultural icon that influenced music, theatre, art, film and politics worldwide. Through exhibitions, classes, tasting sessions held by world-class mixologists, they aim to spread the knowledge and temptation of mixology amongst professionals and customers alike. The MOTAC exhibits rare spirits, literature (including some from the Prohibition-era), antique cocktail shakers, glassware, bartending tools and so much more!

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The international cocktail festival that gathers cocktail fanatics worldwide to New Orleans to enjoy a series of parties and seminars held by world-class mixologists. This year’s ‘Tales of the Cocktail’ is slightly different – it went on tour, holding a mini-festival in Vancouver in March 2011 for the first time ever! The event was promoting the Monin Ultimate Cocktail App – which is loaded with three hundred cocktail/mocktail recipes for every occasion you can think of! – but you can only get this app if you buy a ticket, which gives you the privilege to access all the other awesome tasting sessions during the festival.

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Make sure to look out for the 10th anniversary of the Tales of the Cocktail in July 2012!

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Special feature: you can’t not love these lovely vintage cocktail glasses with classic cocktail recipes illustrated on them!

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... and these vintage cocktail coasters... 

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If you’d like to try some of these legendary old-staples of the cocktail repertoire, we’ve copied some recipes form the book above. Have a go, sit back, and enjoy what’s left of the ‘Summer’!


Very Dry Martini

“The Gibson”
1 part French Vermouth
5 parts Gin

Stir gently in tall glass with ice, strain into cocktail glass, add cocktail onion, twist piece of lemon peel over each glass, then drop peel into Martini.

Daiquiri Cocktail (1898 Edition)

Juice of half a lime
1 jijgger (1,1/2 oz.) Bacardi rum, White
1 barspoon powdered sugar

Shake vimfully with cracked ice till shaker frosts; strain into cocktail glass.

Eccentric Old-Fashioned

1 complete lemon peel squeezed into glass
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon Curaçao
2 ounces whiskey

Shake well but do not strain and serve in glass garnished with slices of pineapple, orange and cherries.

2-1 Manhattan

3 dashes Orange Bitters
1/3 Italian Vermouth
2/3 Rye or Bourbon

Pour over ice cubes in tall glass, stir clockwise, chunk in a square peice of lemon rind, stir some more, then pour into chilled glass -with or without maraschino cherry.


1/4 Rye Whiskey
1/4 Gin
1/4 Italian Vermouth
1/4 Brandy

Dash of orange bitters

Stir in mixing glass filled with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass.

Now grab a glass, sit back and enjoy!  

If you’d like to receive YourStudio’s end of Summer Newsletter which is Cocktail-themed, then please subscribe to our newsletter here.

Tagged:Vintage, Cocktails, Chauncey, Bars, Recipes

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