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Sweet-And-Sour Mix


seeclairmix
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Does anyone have any information on how sour mix rose to power? From various sources, I've found out that its rise started right after Prohibition, but that it really gained steam somewhere between the 1949 and 1972 editions of Trader Vic's Bartender's Guide.

 

Most of what's on Google either (justifiably) decries sour mix or gives ways to make your own from fresh ingredients, but I want to dig down into the acid green, commercially available stuff.

 

Any help is appreciated. Thanks!

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Any idea who the inventor of the powdered stuff was?  I can imagine that the whole "wave of the future" Jetsons kind of marketing could have swayed a bunch of bar managers (and the fact that it is quicker and cheaper than juicing real fruit didn't hurt).  If the inventor was one of the big consumer products companies, then I think we can safely attribute it to their marketing department.  But I have no idea where it came from...

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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Any idea who the inventor of the powdered stuff was?  I can imagine that the whole "wave of the future" Jetsons kind of marketing could have swayed a bunch of bar managers (and the fact that it is quicker and cheaper than juicing real fruit didn't hurt).  If the inventor was one of the big consumer products companies, then I think we can safely attribute it to their marketing department.  But I have no idea where it came from...

By what I could find in searching ads, it would appear that the powdered sour mix came about in the 60s or 70s, but I haven't been able to find a lot of ads for it because it was marketed directly to bars rather than to consumers. That's one of the things I'm trying to track down.

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This is from a 1964 Life magazine. (Accompanying a space race story, so maybe there's something to the Tang connection!)

The wording of the ad, to me, suggests the product is pretty new (or at least pretty new to retail). 

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The "Holland House" brand might be worth further research.

Edited by Craig E (log)
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Hey Craig,

 

Thanks so much! I've actually found Holland House cocktail mix ads dating back to the 40s. It's a slightly different product than sour mix, as it's meant for consumer rather than bar use, but I have a hunch that the two are more connected.

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Here's a reference to Holland House whiskey sour mix from 1949

http://mingum.blogspot.ca/2010/04/holland-house.html

 

And have you been in touch with the folks at the Museum of the American Cocktail?

 

http://sofabinstitute.org/cocktail-museum

 

I swear I remember seeing an article or reading something in a book about pre-mixed canned cocktails being available in the 1890s.  But can't remember where I saw that...and that probably wasn't dry sour mix.  

 

Sorry to be a pest -- this is obsessing me.  Heublein Cocktails were available in the late 1800s, although their whiskey sour doesn't seem to have started that early.  http://harlandjohnson.com/Heublein%20Cocktails/

Edited by SylviaLovegren (log)
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Here's a reference to Holland House whiskey sour mix from 1949

http://mingum.blogspot.ca/2010/04/holland-house.html

 

And have you been in touch with the folks at the Museum of the American Cocktail?

 

http://sofabinstitute.org/cocktail-museum

 

I swear I remember seeing an article or reading something in a book about pre-mixed canned cocktails being available in the 1890s.  But can't remember where I saw that...and that probably wasn't dry sour mix.  

 

Sorry to be a pest -- this is obsessing me.  Heublein Cocktails were available in the late 1800s, although their whiskey sour doesn't seem to have started that early.  http://harlandjohnson.com/Heublein%20Cocktails/

Right?! That's how it got me too. I found the context of that ad, and have one for a bottled Sazerac from 1901. I have a couple calls into companies about developing sour mix, but am waiting to hear back. Ooo, the MoTAC might be a good place to ask. Thanks!

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Do any of the cocktail writers of the times mention the stuff?  I've got both of the Charles Baker Gentlemen's Companion books on the shelf and they cover the 40s... Trader Vic would cover the 50's, right?  Who else might be worth checking out for any mentions of the stuff?

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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Do any of the cocktail writers of the times mention the stuff?  I've got both of the Charles Baker Gentlemen's Companion books on the shelf and they cover the 40s... Trader Vic would cover the 50's, right?  Who else might be worth checking out for any mentions of the stuff?

The Trader Vic's 1972 edition mentions that it's become popular since its last printing, but urges readers to use the fresh stuff instead of pre-mixes.

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