Mixologist, an expression used for a person skilled at making cocktails, was first coined after Jerry Thomas in the early 1860’s, when the term saloonist was also being exercised. The science behind the art was quite similar to that of current mixologists: relying not only on expert drink crafting abilities, but on an out-going, uplifting personality as well.
With the BBQ season quickly approaching, we took a deeper look into Gale’s Crime, Punishment, and Popular Culture, 1790-1920 to revise some nineteenth-century cocktails (and see what policemen at the turn of the century were drinking – spoilers: not coffee).
Below are a few cocktails that we found particularly interesting, as well as our bartender-turned-intern’s expert modernizations (and our enthusiastic Gale taste testing board’s reactions). If you make these at home—either our adaptation or the original—make sure to leave us a note in the comment to let us know what you think.
With this recipe, we left out the absinthe (sourcing issues) and turned the orange into a summery grapefruit. What did our taste testers think?
Jon: Tastes like a cotton candy soda, goes down sweet and easy.
Harmony: Good! The natural, bitter grapefruit taste offsets the sweetness of the simple syrup.
Phil: This is a great refreshing breakfast drink!
The Eagle Royal Fizz seems to be a good way of using up whatever you have in your cupboard – so we chose a more slim-downed approach (we were a bit afraid of what the orange bitters and cream were going to taste like together, as well, especially combined with absinthe). Our audience enthusiastically approved of our more contemporary approach.
Kelly: It’s like a boozy cherry sundae. I didn’t expect that to be good – but it is!
Doran: It’s like a cherry eggnog. The best of the winter holiday season – but appropriate for summer.
Jessica: I love this! It’s like a fizzy creamsicle. Five stars.
Perhaps the easiest to adapt, this truly is a boozy Arnold Palmer. We again removed the absinthe in our modern take (was absinthe in everything?), but otherwise this summer drink stays true to the original 1904 version.
Melinda: Sweet but refreshing. Arnold would be proud.
Bethany: It could use more liquor to cover the taste – perhaps this would be better with the absinthe included? Somebody try that and let me know.
Want more cocktails? Request a complimentary look at Crime, Punishment, and Popular Culture, 1790-1920 for yourself today – and discover even more about turn-of-the-century drinking culture!