pre prohibition cocktails

Business Insider/Sarah Jacobs

Learn how to make 10 easy drinks from the golden age of cocktails.

Been to a bar lately? What’s old is new again, from the barman’s bow tie to the prohibition era drinks. 

And while it’s true that the 1920s and early ’30s gave us iconic cocktails like the Tom Collins and the Sidecar, the period between 1860 and the start of prohibition was the real golden age of cocktails. 

During this gin-soaked heyday, drinks like the Martini and the Daiquiri were born, and America’s first bartender’s guide was produced by Jerry Thomas, a New Yorker and the widely regarded father of mixology, in 1863.

Similar tomes, such as Albert Barnes’ “The Complete Bartender” and Tim Daly’s “Bartender’s Encyclopedia,” followed in 1884 and 1903, respectively. We leafed through both books and found 10 forgotten gems that deserve a second shake. 

Note that old timey measurements are translated and a few slight tweaks have been made for the modern home mixologist. Where Barnes and Daly call for 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar, half an ounce of simple syrup can be substituted for a smoother sip. 

Milk Punch 
From Albert Barnes’ “The Complete Bartender”

1 tbsp. sugar (Demerara is best)
4 oz. brandy
2 oz. dark or spiced rum 
6 oz. milk
Nutmeg

Add first three ingredients to a cocktail shaker and stir to combine. Top with milk and cracked ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a rocks glass and top with grated nutmeg. 

milk punch

Sarah Jacobs

Milk Punch can be made with just about any spirit.

Champagne Cobbler  

From Albert Barnes’ “The Complete Bartender”

2 orange wheels
3-4 fresh berries
1 tbsp. sugar 
Champagne 

Muddle fruit and sugar in a rocks glass until well combined. Fill glass halfway with crushed ice, top with Champagne, and “stir well and ornament with fruit, berries, etc. in season.”

Whiskey Smash 
From Tim Daly’s “Bartender’s Encyclopedia”

1 tbsp. sugar 
4 oz. seltzer water 
2-3 mint sprigs 
4 oz. whiskey

Add first three ingredients to a mixing glass and stir until mint is nicely bruised. Add cracked ice and whiskey and stir until combined. Strain into a “fancy stem glass” or coupe and garnish with fruit. 

American Velvet
From Tim Daly’s “Bartender’s Encyclopedia”

“One of the good ones, where the cost is not to be considered and the best ingredients should be used.” — Daly

Champagne
Guinness

Fill a Champagne flute halfway with the beer, top with Champagne, and stir. (You can also reverse the order and leave it unstirred; this is called a Black Velvet.)

american velvet cocktail

Sarah Jacobs

Spare no expense on the Champagne in your American Velvet, says Daly.

Hot Brandy Sling 
From Albert Barnes’ “The Complete Bartender”

1 cube sugar 
4 oz. brandy 
lemon peel
Boiling water 
Nutmeg

Add first three ingredients to a mug, top with boiling water, and stir. Garnish with grated nutmeg. 

Tuxedo Cocktail
From Tim Daly’s “Bartender’s Encyclopedia”

2 dashes orange bitters
2 dashes maraschino liqueur 
2 oz. French vermouth
2 oz. gin
1 tsp. maple syrup 

Add all ingredients to a mixing glass with cracked ice and stir well. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a cherry and a lemon twist. 

Mamie Taylor 
From Tim Daly’s “Bartender’s Encyclopedia”

“The foregoing offers a pleasing form for a person to partake of whiskey without feeling the harsh effect that plain whiskey would have, and imparts the same stimulating effect.” — Daly 

1/2 lime, juiced 
4 oz. Scotch 
Ginger ale

Build in a rocks glass with a few cubes of ice and stir to combine. 

mamie taylor cocktail

Sarah Jacobs

The Mamie Taylor was named after a famous opera singer of the day.

Coffee Cobbler 
From Tim Daly’s “Bartender’s Encyclopedia”

1 oz. brandy
1 tbsp. sugar 
1 oz. heavy cream 
Black coffee (cold brew or room temperature is best, in our opinion)

Stir brandy and sugar in a rocks glass until combined. Add in heavy cream and top with ice. Fill glass with coffee and stir well to combine.  

Banker’s Punch
From Tim Daly’s “Bartender’s Encyclopedia”

“This is much sought after by bankers and brokers and considered by them unequalled.” — Daly 

3 dashes raspberry syrup
1 tbsp. powdered sugar, dissolved in a bit of seltzer water 
1 lime, juiced 
4 oz. whiskey
1 oz. Jamaican rum
4-5 raspberries
4-5 blackberries
1 slice pineapple

Muddle fruit in the bottom of a rocks glass and set aside. Add remaining ingredients to a mixing glass with ice, stir until combined, and strain into the rocks glass with fruit. 

Tim & Jack 
From Tim Daly’s “Bartender’s Encyclopedia” 

“This is the most recent cold weather resuscitator, and as a nourishing stimulant is unsurpassed.” — Daly

1 tbsp. cocoa powder
1 tbsp. sugar, dissolved in a bit of hot water
1 1/2 oz. Cognac
1 1/2 oz. dark or spiced rum
Warm milk

Build in a mug, whisking first four ingredients until combined and topping with warm milk.  

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