Well, this is pretty amazing. This link brings you to a library on the Golden Age Bartending website with full text of vintage cocktail books available for free download. It seems that, given the age of the texts, many of them are available in the public domain as a free (and legal) download. I cannot vouch for whether or not it is right or wrong to download these free, so move forward with caution.
Nevertheless, this is an amazing collection to have access to. Starting as far back as 1837 and moving through the early 1900s, this collection has many of THE books that epitomize the current cocktail revolution. These are the books that bartenders drool over, dream about and create from. The foundation of the cocktails you drink on a daily basis.
But enough waxing poetic. Head over to the site and check them out. A few of my favorites are there, including Harry Johnson’s Bartenders Manual (1882), Cocktails and How to Mix Them (1922), and Cooling Cups and Dainty Drinks (1869).
DISCLAIMER: I have no affiliation with, no connection to, and no idea who is behind Golden Age Bartending. I just think that this is a nice collection to have access to.
- 13 Unusual Ingredients Bartenders Use in Cocktails, and Why (complex.com)
- A Guide to the Ever-Shrinking Public Domain (savings.com)
- First Look: Cocktails at Husk Nashville (drinks.seriouseats.com)