Some Drinks Just Aren’t There


I see a great deal of error by repetition that I have always wanted to address.  I will deal with them in chronological order, according to alleged year or decade.

1.  There is no civil war-era Sazerac Cocktail.  There is documentary evidence of Sazerac Cognac (and the Sazerac House in New Orleans that imported it) from the mid 1800’s, but that is just not the same thing as the mixed drink.  The oldest-known recipe for that is from 1908.  I have written more about the history of the drink here and here.  See #2 below for similarity.

2.  There is no Ramos Gin Fizz from the 1880’s.  The drink itself can be found as far back as the 1890’s – but always called the New Orleans Fizz.  Henry Ramos may have only convinced others (and himself) by around 1910 that he had created the drink in some long-lost Louisiana glory.  See #1 above for similarity.

3.  There is no Manhattan Cocktail in Harry Johnson’s 1882 book.  It is in his 1888 reprint.

4.  There is no Marguerite Cocktail that is the same as the Dewey Cocktail (or a Dry Martini, for the benighted) from Thomas Stuart’s 1896 book.  It is found in the addendum to his 1904 reprint

5.  There is no Zombie in Patrick Duffy’s 1934 book.  It is in Duffy’s 1940 reprint.

6.  There is no 1944 Mai Tai.  The oldest recipe for it doesn’t show up until the mid 1950’s.  Victor Bergeron published books with extensive coverage of drinks in 1946 and 1947.  He did not give the recipe, nor even mention the existence of the drink.  Finally, between a 1970 article and his 1972 book, he goes on a protest-too-much type rant about being the drink’s creator, and suggests that everyone else recently making the same claim is a liar.  Believing Victor Bergeron’s 1970’s claims (and the supporting claims of his friends) that he first made the drink in the 1940’s is gullibility in the extreme.  Come on, people.

I could go on and on, but I tire of recounting self-promoting falsification, and the gullibility and feeble-mindedness of mankind.

P.S.  I have added a postscript about the “1926 Cosmo” not being found in 1926 here.

6 thoughts on “Some Drinks Just Aren’t There

    1. That is the book that I am referring to when I called the book “American Travelling Mixologists.” That is the author credit to Pioneers of Mixing Gin in Elite Bars, and so we are talking about the same book. Regardless of the blurb on the cover about 1903-1933, we can only go by the publication year, and that is 1934.
      You say that you believe that others called it the New Orleans Fizz because Ramos protected his name. What are your reasons or sources for believing that? I would love to see the evidence and stand corrected, if appropriate.

  1. The Cosmo was reprinted by Mixellany in Pioneers of Mixing in Elite Bars (1903-1933) and is available through them (also sold by The Boston Shaker store).

    I believe that Ramos protected his name and that is why others wrote it up as a New Orleans Fizz or mis-spellings like Remos or similar.

    1. The fact that Joseph Taylor’s recipes (published by Crockett) were compiled between 1894 and 1919 and were never meant for publication is strong evidence that his New Orleans Fizz was not re-named to avoid lawsuit by Ramos. It was a personal record of drink recipes never meant for wider audience. Because of that, and other recipes for the same drink going back to the 1890’s that always call it the New Orleans Fizz and never mention Ramos, I think that it is very likely that Ramos’ main invention was the story he told folks in New York after 1910 that he had invented the drink.

  2. I found Bergeron’s 1972 book several years ago and really enjoyed it, especially the section of the Mai Tai. It is what started me on the path of “cocktail discovery.” Soon I was extracting milk from almonds to make my own Orgeat, etc., etc. I then later acquired one of his earlier books, and was puzzled to not find any reference to the Mai Tai, I now understand why. Excellent post overall, but clearing up the Mai Tai mystery was the best part for me.

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