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Barrel-aged cocktails


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Barrel aging was standard operating procedure for bottled cocktails, of which there were many brands back in the day, including the market leader, Heublein's Club, and Sazerac (they sold several kinds, not including an actual "Sazerac").

Cocktails had to be barrel aged, at least for a bit, as stainless steel wasn't introduced until 1917 or so and you had to mix and store them in something. But there was also a culinary claim. As a Club cocktails ad from 1912 said, "a new cocktail can never have the same flavor as an aged one."

That said, this should not detract from the creativity of those who have revived this technique: it's a case of great minds thinking alike, not monkey see monkey do.

aka David Wondrich

There are, according to recent statistics, 147 female bartenders in the United States. In the United Kingdom the barmaid is a feature of the wayside inn, and is a young woman of intelligence and rare sagacity. --The Syracuse Standard, 1895

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The first ad reads like what we call "Barrel Aged Cocktails." The second seems more like those alcoholic mixes that you can buy at a gas station and "just add ice."

:huh:

Both adverts speak specifically of barrel and bottle aged cocktails and are seemingly Worlds apart from the mixes you speak of.

club%20cocktails%20thumbnail.jpg

Barrel aging was standard operating procedure for bottled cocktails, of which there were many brands back in the day, including the market leader, Heublein's Club, and Sazerac (they sold several kinds, not including an actual "Sazerac").

Cocktails had to be barrel aged, at least for a bit, as stainless steel wasn't introduced until 1917 or so and you had to mix and store them in something. But there was also a culinary claim.

Worth noting that John Martin was President of the Heublein company. That be the same John Martin of Smirnoff and Moscow Mule fame...

As a Club cocktails ad from 1912 said, "a new cocktail can never have the same flavor as an aged one."

This be the ad you speak of?

1912k.jpg

That said, this should not detract from the creativity of those who have revived this technique: it's a case of great minds thinking alike, not monkey see monkey do.

Absolutely, this doesn't detract anything from those that have rediscovered the technique, or any other technique from a bygone era.

Evo-lution - Consultancy, Training and Events

Dr. Adam Elmegirab's Bitters - Bitters

The Jerry Thomas Project - Tipplings and musings

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  • 2 months later...

Wanted to give this a little bump as I've just written an article after attending the launch of Bramble's barrel-aged Affinity cocktail on the 28th July;

http://thejerrythomasproject.blogspot.com/2011/08/affinity-for-bramble-you-could-say-that.html

Their drink has been produced in collaboration with Dr. Bill Lumsden (Glenmorangie and Ardbeg) so I think it'll definitely be of interest to some of you.

Evo-lution - Consultancy, Training and Events

Dr. Adam Elmegirab's Bitters - Bitters

The Jerry Thomas Project - Tipplings and musings

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In U.S. culture there is this ingrained belief that history is linear and that bygone eras must have been backward and everything modern is more advanced.

However, with respect to culinary culture I have found ample evidence that the U.S. had a sophisticated culinary culture from the late 19th century through the roaring 20's. It was then decimated through the rapid sub-urbinazation, industrialization, standardization of the 1950's and beyond... people forgot how to cook, how to appreciate food & drink being easily dazzled by mirrors, glitter & food coloring... the gustatory culture is only catching up to where the country was 100 years ago... it is quite amusing to see people think that basic things (local, organic produce, real cooking etc.,) are so avant garde, the product of genius visionaries or exotic foreigners.

Any way the important thing is that culinary culture is coming back to normalcy.

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In U.S. culture there is this ingrained belief that history is linear and that bygone eras must have been backward and everything modern is more advanced.

However, with respect to culinary culture I have found ample evidence that the U.S. had a sophisticated culinary culture from the late 19th century through the roaring 20's. It was then decimated through the rapid sub-urbinazation, industrialization, standardization of the 1950's and beyond... people forgot how to cook, how to appreciate food & drink being easily dazzled by mirrors, glitter & food coloring... the gustatory culture is only catching up to where the country was 100 years ago... it is quite amusing to see people think that basic things (local, organic produce, real cooking etc.,) are so avant garde, the product of genius visionaries or exotic foreigners.

Any way the important thing is that culinary culture is coming back to normalcy.

The big difference between then and now, I think, is that the accessibility of said culinary culture is not now limited to the very wealthiest of citizens, as it would have been then. Local, seasonal, etc was the norm at the time because there was no other way to have it.

Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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In U.S. culture there is this ingrained belief that history is linear and that bygone eras must have been backward and everything modern is more advanced.

However, with respect to culinary culture I have found ample evidence that the U.S. had a sophisticated culinary culture from the late 19th century through the roaring 20's. It was then decimated through the rapid sub-urbinazation, industrialization, standardization of the 1950's and beyond... people forgot how to cook, how to appreciate food & drink being easily dazzled by mirrors, glitter & food coloring... the gustatory culture is only catching up to where the country was 100 years ago... it is quite amusing to see people think that basic things (local, organic produce, real cooking etc.,) are so avant garde, the product of genius visionaries or exotic foreigners.

Any way the important thing is that culinary culture is coming back to normalcy.

The big difference between then and now, I think, is that the accessibility of said culinary culture is not now limited to the very wealthiest of citizens, as it would have been then. Local, seasonal, etc was the norm at the time because there was no other way to have it.

Hmmn... I think we underestimate the size of the middle class during the 1920's and their purchasing power as it related to food. Sure nowadays we might have more widgets and access to higher quality industrial foods... but the average person back than seems to have been eating quite well by today's standards. It is just that in the transitional post-modern period culinary standards, cooking know how, quality of average ingredients in the country just descended so far that as we emerge from the absolute bottom it is hard imagine there was a time that was so much better.

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In U.S. culture there is this ingrained belief that history is linear and that bygone eras must have been backward and everything modern is more advanced.

However, with respect to culinary culture I have found ample evidence that the U.S. had a sophisticated culinary culture from the late 19th century through the roaring 20's. It was then decimated through the rapid sub-urbinazation, industrialization, standardization of the 1950's and beyond... people forgot how to cook, how to appreciate food & drink being easily dazzled by mirrors, glitter & food coloring... the gustatory culture is only catching up to where the country was 100 years ago... it is quite amusing to see people think that basic things (local, organic produce, real cooking etc.,) are so avant garde, the product of genius visionaries or exotic foreigners.

Any way the important thing is that culinary culture is coming back to normalcy.

The big difference between then and now, I think, is that the accessibility of said culinary culture is not now limited to the very wealthiest of citizens, as it would have been then. Local, seasonal, etc was the norm at the time because there was no other way to have it.

Hmmn... I think we underestimate the size of the middle class during the 1920's and their purchasing power as it related to food. Sure nowadays we might have more widgets and access to higher quality industrial foods... but the average person back than seems to have been eating quite well by today's standards. It is just that in the transitional post-modern period culinary standards, cooking know how, quality of average ingredients in the country just descended so far that as we emerge from the absolute bottom it is hard imagine there was a time that was so much better.

There's probably a better place on egullet for this discussion, but the size of the middle class was significantly smaller in the pre-WW2 era. The US was a far more rural nation at the time, and small farmers, then as now, always have a rough go of it. Prosperity can of course be measured in different ways but consider that it was New Deal programs during the 1930s that brought things as basic as electricity (surely a prerequisite for middle-class lifestyle) to rural areas. The middle class was bigger in the 1920s than it had ever been before, this is true. It was not even close to the size it is today, however.

The point I think is easier to make, and is related to what you were saying, is that even those rural poor ate "better" --in the local, sustainable, organic sense-- then than most people do now...when they ate at all, that is.

Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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