Gilded Age Cocktails

Gilded Age Cocktails: History, Lore, and Recipes from America's Golden Age

A richly illustrated romp with America’s Gilded Age leisure class—and those angling to join it

Print length
176 pages
NYU Press
Publication date
May 4, 2021
Formats: Hardcover, Kindle Edition

A delightful romp through America’s Golden Age of Cocktails

The decades following the American Civil War burst with invention―they saw the dawn of the telephone, the motor car, electric lights, the airplane―but no innovation was more welcome than the beverage heralded as the “cocktail.”

The Gilded Age, as it came to be known, was the Golden Age of Cocktails, giving birth to the classic Manhattan and martini that can be ordered at any bar to this day. Scores of whiskey drinks, cooled with ice chips or cubes that chimed against the glass, proved doubly pleasing when mixed, shaken, or stirred with special flavorings, juices, and fruits. The dazzling new drinks flourished coast to coast at sporting events, luncheons, and balls, on ocean liners and yachts, in barrooms, summer resorts, hotels, railroad train club cars, and private homes.

From New York to San Francisco, celebrity bartenders rose to fame, inventing drinks for exclusive universities and exotic locales. Bartenders poured their liquid secrets for dancing girls and such industry tycoons as the newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst and the railroad king “Commodore” Cornelius Vanderbilt.

Cecelia Tichi offers a tour of the cocktail hours of the Gilded Age, in which industry, innovation, and progress all take a break to enjoy the signature beverage of the age. Gilded Age Cocktails reveals the fascinating history behind each drink as well as bartenders’ formerly secret recipes. Though the Gilded Age cocktail went “underground” during the Prohibition era, it launched the first of many generations whose palates thrilled to a panoply of artistically mixed drinks.

by Ash
Reviewed in the United States on May 9, 2021
Verified Purchase

Great cocktail read!

A wonderful look into cocktails from The Gilded Age. The book is filled with recipes and drawings of drinks from different bartenders and people. A great look into a variety of drinks that I can’t wait to try and make myself. Learning about popular drinks from a different age was a fun experience and I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in learning about cocktails!

Reviewed in the United States on May 6, 2021
Verified Purchase

Gorgeous and cool cocktail book

This is such a fun cocktail book to have for your bar at home. There is as much history as there are recipes, as you travel through the private clubs of New York, the Transcontinental Railroad, old-fashioned dinner parties, the Barbary Coast, and other regional gilded age history sites like Chicago and New England. You will also learn about interesting figures beyond just the Vanderbilts and the Hearsts, though they’re definitely in there, too. The drawings are lovely and befitting of the time and place. The recipes sound delicious and will probably make you look sophisticated at parties, once we can have those again. Meticulously researched and well-told.

Thank you to NYU Press, NetGalley and Cecilia Tichi for this interesting and fun addition to my library and entertaining repertoire!

Buy Now