Category Archives: Books


In the 19th and early 20th centuries, soda fountains were not only as ubiquitous as saloons, they were as dangerous.  Soda jerks served sweet treats variously containing cocaine, lithium, morphine, opium, chloroform, and ether; no wonder bars found themselves competing with soda fountains for customers, who became even more powerfully addicted to soft drinks than […]

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In her new book, Lush Life:  Portraits From The Bar, self-described “saloon artist” Jill DeGroff has captured the personalities of the cocktail world — bartenders and barflies alike — in living watercolor. But she doesn’t stop there.  As you would with a well-mixed drink, Ms. DeGroff balances sweet and bitter by pairing her subjects with […]

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One of the best bar guides we raided for Beachbum Berry’s Grog Log was a phone book-sized tome published in 1977.  Jones’ Complete Bar Guide featured a whopping 4,000 recipes, but even more impressive were the photos on the back cover.  These featured author Stan Jones (above) posed with various liquor industry reps, whose Montgomery […]

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If it weren’t for Prohibition, Tikiphiles might all be drinking gin-based concoctions. Don The Beachcomber, who in 1934 single-handedly invented both the Tiki drink and the Tiki bar at his eponymous Hollywood watering hole, found his initial creative inspiration in a gin drink: the storied Singapore Sling. He gravitated toward rum drinks largely because rum […]

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Gore Vidal once described the conservative columnist William F. Buckley as “a charming visitor from the 18th century.”  That phrase came to mind — minus the ironic malice — the first time we met Ted “Doctor Cocktail” Haigh, who struck us as a charming visitor from the 1930s. We made the Doctor’s acquaintance around 1992, […]

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