in a land far far away while taking a shortcut
through the meadow a raven haired girl accidentally dropped
a bunch of ripe grapes and a carving knife into a patch of
yeast from the mushrooms began to ferment
the sweetness of the grapes with much help from the yellow ball
of fire in the sky. The next day the girl retraced her steps to
locate her lost carving knife and once found realized she dropped
her grapes as well as it were. She decided to rest for a spell,
partake of some grapes, and watch white puffs dance in the sky.
She felt warm and loved. Later, the clan medicine woman noticed
a change in the girl’s manner and sought answers. The secret
of alcohol is born then used in ceremonies, celebrations, worship,
and medicine for many years to come. All live happily ever after.
course no one knows when, how,
or who first discovered alcohol, but scientists and archeologists
tell us that it dates back to 7000 B.C. And of course if you’re
a believer of the Lost Continent then it goes back even further.
we do know is
that humans are social beings and social gathering structures
have been part of daily life for a long time. The Greeks had
for the intellectual upper class; frescos show men reclining
being served food and wine while playing games. And flute
girls and various entertaining acts roamed the room.
Romans were less
formal due to so much traveling and actually preferred setting
up portable tavernae (taverns).
Soon permanent tavernae were built on all roads that Roman
troops traveled. All roads lead to Rome!
served soldiers wine,
food, music, and danced. And if a soldier so desired, they
were lead to rooms with harlots. Roman troops also carried
grapevines with them on every journey to make wine on the
began creating their own taverns and
since grapes didn’t grow well in their area they made
ale. Soon taverns were found in every town with women given
the responsibility of making the beer and wine because it
was considered an extension of bread making.
inns, and public drinking houses
(pubs), ale-houses, and tap rooms pretty much stayed the same
from the 1000’s to the 1700’s. All had fireplaces
for warmth, lanterns for light, furniture for sitting, and lots
of drink while discussing current events, complaining about the
weather, telling stories, and making wagers.
mind boggling to think about the many hats
keeper and his ale-wife had to wear. They had to own land
in which to grow carbs to make beer, wine, mead, and cider
as well as food for guests. Tend farm animals and a garden.
They provided rooms and stables to house traveling guests
and their horses. And they also had to be literate enough
to keep books, bills, and collect payments due as well as
manage the hired help. To multitask, a kitchen dog was
placed in a wheel called a
turnspit dog and the dog would walk inside the wheel turning
the meat as it roasted over the fire. Tavern floors were often
made of sand and it was common to have a portcullis
gate around the bar area. For wagering, there was the
puzzle jug, which was a drinking jug with several holes
with only one working hole to drink from. So the tavern keeper
was the barkeeper as well as many other keepers. Maybe that’s
where the term, He’s a Keeper comes from?
We know what taverns, pubs, and drinking houses looked like
because Dutch artistJan Steen painted many daily life scenes on the
subject. After viewing his paintings you begin to realize
that drinking houses basically had the same things we have
today; alcohol, drinking vessels, tables, chairs, music, flirting,
fire, food, laughter, games, gambling and even a tavern keeper
flairing a longpour from a wine jug into a Martini shaped
glass. However, there were a few differences; lots of children,
messes, dogs, cats, chicks, and pigs. Hmmmmmm, on second thought,
1800’s were magical years for bar keeps,
and bar-tenders in bars, pubs, taverns, saloons, and inns
across America. The times brought on civilized behavior with
new technological advances. One could order a Sling,
Rob Roy, Toddy,
and more. Popular spirits and mixers were, beer, wine, cider,
whiskey, apple brandy, applejack, gin, rum, bitters, egg whites,
port, absinthe, amaretto, rye, Scotch, Bacardi, mint, vermouth,
soda water, brandy, anisette, sherry, syrups, juices, Southern
Comfort (known then as Cuff & Buttons), Jack Daniel’s,
and Coca-Cola. The position of a bar-tender, even though blue
collar, was seen as aristocracy of the working class. In those
days you had to be a bartender apprentice for several years
before you could be a bar-tender. The first known celebrity
bartender was Jerry
Jerry learned the craft in New Haven, Connecticut then traveled
to West to San Francisco. He then traveled back East to New
York and opened four saloons. The first one can still
be seen at Broadway and Ann Street below the Barnum’s
Museum. After that he traveled and worked as a head bartender
in St. Louis, San Francisco, Chicago, Charleston, SC, and
New Orleans. With a set of solid silver bar tools he set sail
for England and France. Thomas published, How to Mix Drinks,
or the Bon-Vivant's Companion in 1862 and then the first
bartender guide, The Bar-Tender’s Guide or How To
Mix All Kinds of Plain and Fancy Drinks in 1887. He was
considered the world's first flair mixologist because he created
a cocktail called the Blue Blazer in which he poured
a flaming drink back and forth from cup to cup.
the early 1900’s most saloons were owned by the breweries.
Barkeeps made $10-$15 dollars a week with Sunday being the
busiest. Drink making was appreciated and bar-tending was
turned into an art form.The Waldorf-Astoria
in NYC set the standard for quality classic cocktails.
Some states had already made the sale of alcohol illegal,
but the booze business was going strong. No one had any idea
of the enormous changes that were just around the corner.
Then on January 16, 1920 at one minute past midnight, Prohibition
started. By nationwide law, it was prohibited to manufacture,
import, export, or sell alcoholic beverages (exceptions being
medical and religious). This created a booming business for
bootleggers and their moonshine, but also created a dark underworld
homemade hooch (bathtub gin) and secret bars called Speakeasies.
There were over 100,000 speakeasies in Manhattan alone during
prohibition (1920-1933). Bartenders that weren’t afraid
to risk a temporary job due to raids were forced to create
new cocktails to mask the nasty burn of the bootlegged moonshine,
so honey, sugar, juices, egg whites vermouth, and bitters,
were commonly found behind bars. Canada, Cuba, and Mexico’s
alcohol business benefited from prohibition from whiskey,
rum, tequila, and tourists. And NASCAR
was concieved from bootleggers building powerful automobile
engines to outrun the law through the Appalachian Mountains
to run their moonshine.
prohibition, American bartenders were able
to use quality spirits again, but the good bartenders that knew
how to make drinks before prohibition were far and few between.
Some had died or were too old and couldn’t remember. On
December 5th, 1933, at 3:32 pm. (the day of the repeal), it’s
been said that only one out of ten bartenders knew how to bartend.
Bartenders were searched for everywhere, even imported. It was
then that people realized that much training and practice was
in order to develop the skill of drink making again in America.
Thank goodness England and France’s bartenders could lend
a helping hand!
a year, Hollywood shined the glamorized cocktail torch
towards the silver screen. Cocktails became sophisticated
and elegant in the movies. And due to all the tropical locations
affluent Americans spent during prohibition, Americans fell
in love with the tropics. Donn
the Beachcomber left his life of bootlegging in New
Orleans and opened the first tiki bar in Hollywood. Donn also
created the pu pu platter and his drink, Zombie,
was served at the 1939 New York World’s Fair.
Pat O’Brien stayed in New Orleans, moved his speakeasy,
O’Brien’s, and invented the Hurricane.
And the one-legged Trader
Vic opened up his restaurant in San Francisco and
invented the Mai Tai. In the 1940’s-1950’s
tiki bars burst with popularity. Men returning home from World
War II (1939-1945) flocked to them because it reminded
them of the Polynesian Islands. Smirnoff’sMoscow Mule swept the nation and Rum
& Coca-Cola became popular when the Andrew
Sisters released a song of the same name in 1941. This
was also the time that many gangsters from prohibition laid
the foundation for the mega-drinking city we know today as
Las Vegas. With the combination of war free times,
new home appliance technology, supermarket style liquor stores,
the swinging boozing Rat
Pack, and James
Bondordering a Smirnoff Vodka Martini shaken
not stirred, cocktails flourished through the mid 1960’s.
Stillman opened the first American casual dining bar
Friday’s in New York City. It focused on American
cuisine, bar food, and alcoholic beverages. It became the
meeting place for professional singles and was an enormous
success. Lifetime magazine credited Friday’s
with ushering in the Singles Era. The New York City gay community
followed suit creating their own singles bars/discos the very
same year. Of course, since these were not gay friendly times,
their bars were underground. The deejays in the discos played
music by unknown black artists and record companies soon saw
that they could promote soon-to-be-hits through the deejay’s.
Disco was born, however the Vietnam War (1965-1973) created
sad, political, drug-induced times slowing down all the fun.
But in 1973, after the war ended, T.G.I. Friday’s opened
a store in Dallas, TX. and took the city by storm. Within
a week, police had to cone & ring the bar & grill
with barricades to handle the nightly hordes of singles. Hundreds
and hundreds of imitative bar & grills opened, but only
four have survived the test of time; Ruby Tuesday’s,
1973; Chili’s, 1975; Bennigan’s,
1976; and Applebee’s, 1980. T.G.I. Friday’s
created an industry and was the first to create an extensive
range of alcoholic beverages. Kahlua, Bailey’s, pop-a-top
beer, the first light beer from Miller, and the Long Island
Iced Tea are all big hits. At the same time, Discos were now
able to grow as they developed strong record company relations.
Bartenders were making spin-offs from the Fru Fru drinks T.G.I
Fridays had on their menus and the other copy-cat bar &
grills followed suit. Margaritas and Tequila
Sunrises were hugely popular because of the Eagles
and Jimmy Buffet singing about them in their songs.
And in 1979, bartenders everywhere wanted to ring the neck
of a guy named Rupert Holmes who released, The
Piña Colada Song.
the 1980’s, Discos faded away and the Happy Hour
a common ritual in America. Bars set up buffets of free nibbles
to attract more business and to appease the new enforcement
of anti-drunk driving laws. Wine of the time was Burgundy,
Chablis, and Rosé served in 6 ounce glasses so that
they could be filled to the top and was often served in half
and full carafes. People adjusted their refrigerator shelves
to fit in the convenient wine-in-a-box and their four-packs
of Bartles and Jaymes wine coolers. The introduction of Peachtree
Schnapps, Midori, and Captain Morgan Spiced Rum exploded possibilities
and popular drinks of the time were; Fuzzy Navel, Long Island
Iced Tea, Sex on the Beach, Strawberry Daiquiri, Melon Colada,
Midori Sour, Sloe Comfortable Screw, Jelly Bean, White Russian,
Russian Quaalude, Flaming Dr. Pepper, B-52, Alabama Slammer,
Melon Ball, Golden Cadillac, Freddy Fudpucker, and any tropical
drink. Blush replaced Rosé and White Zinfandel replaced
Blush. The industry began launching many new liqueurs to keep
up with America’s sweet tooth--which resulted in the
decline of the craft of bartending. The classic cocktail was
sometimes ordered by patrons over the age of 40, but still
thrived only in obscure hotel bars in Europe and Singapore
because quite frankly, their countries didn’t have a
demand for pre-packaged, sweetened mixers, and candy flavored
Wine coolers were a big hit in the 1980s. Seagram's hired
Bruce Willis to sell their coolers and sales tripled. Bartles
& Jaymes used two older men. Here's a look at one of the commercials
1986 T.G.I. Fridays hosted the very first flair bartender
contest, Bar Olympics in Woodland
Hills, CA. This lead to Hollywood making the 1988 film, Cocktail
that starred Tom Cruise. It ignited flair bartending
the late 1980s and into the 1990s, the Micro-brews kick started
a whole new appreciation of what we drink. It was all about savoring
and not guzzling. Following was the wine boom. All of a sudden
wine choices were Shiraz, Pinot Noir, Pinot Grigio, Merlot, Cabernet,
Chardonnay, and Syrah. Spirit sales declined and I’m sure
many company round table meetings were held all over the globe
to figure out what to do. The result was to follow the current
trend and bump up the quality of spirits. Just when bartender’s
heads stopped spinning from all the new beers and wines they had
to learn, the new elite Single Malt Scotch’s showed its
peaty head. One by one, each category of spirit reinvented itself.
Bourbon was refined to Single Batch and Single Barrel, vodkas
turned boutique, fine tequilas and rums emerged, gins were improved,
and flavored infusions never lost steam.
the new superior line of spirits, some bartenders
naturally progressed into modern mixologists hand-making the classics
of yesteryear as well as new modern classics. Dale
DeGroff made it his mission to resurrect the declining
craft of bartending in America. His pioneering efforts have led
him to be founding member and President of The
Museum of the American Cocktail. Many since have contributed
to the rebirth of the cocktail.
1998, HBO aired a show called, Sex in
the City and exploded the
flavored martini craze to a new dimension by christening the
Cosmopolitan as its mascot cocktail. All of a sudden
the shooters of yesterday were being sipped in martini glasses
of today; savored not guzzled.
Hip-Hop and Girls Gone Wild videos igniting a raunchy
and skankification of women in late 1990’s it was a
natural progression for Hollywood to put out a bartender film
at the turn of the century calledCoyote Ugly. Half
dressed cowgirls work as NYC take-no-crap-bartenders slinging
whiskey and dancing on the bar top. Rappers singing about
Courvoisier, Bacardi, Gin & Juice, and Coke & Rum
skyrockted liquor sales to whole new levels. Cognac was
once considered a drink for old men sitting in overstuffed
leather chairs smoking cigars, but rap songs completely changed
this category for a whole new generation. Its
category switch can be compared to gin being the crack cocaine
of London in the 1700's and then considered elegant and sophisticated
as movie stars drank it in Martini glasses on the silver screen
in the mid 1990's. In 2002--after 40 years--James
Bond does it again and explodes another cocktail by reviving
the classic Mojito. And in 2004, the hit independent
film, Sideways, had bartenders tongues turning sideways
saying Pinot Noir one hundred times a night.
mixologists, cocktail historians, bar chefs, flair bartenders,
booty-shaking cowgirls, and just plain ole’ bartenders
working local gin joints were part of the new millennium.
There are 570,000
licensed alcohol beverage outlets in the US for on and off
premise sales (316,000 for on-premise). That means about
1.5 million bartenders nationwide.
will happen next
in the world of bartending? I think it depends on what products
alcohol distributors produce and who spends the most marketing
money getting their product in the media.
Second Golden Age of the Cocktail
Since 2000, something happened in the Cocktail World that you should be aware of and its the second Golden Age of the Cocktail. The first golden age was in the late 1800s until 1920. Bartending was taken seriously and cocktails were crafted with real ingedients.
Today, the second golden age can best be described by comparing and 4-5 star chef crafting an incredible meal with a classic foundation then using the freshest ingredients and imagination.
spent many many years researching the
I promise it will give you an inspired perspective on the world
of drink that has given strength to the weak, courage to the faint
hearted, refreshment to the weary, and raised the hopes of the