How to Mix Drinks or the Bon Vivant's Companion : The Bartender's Guide, Paperback

How to Mix Drinks or the Bon Vivant's Companion : The Bartender's Guide Paperback

Part of the Hesperus Classics series

3.5 out of 5 (9 ratings)


Jerry Thomas's Bartender's Guide is THE original cocktail book; the first time today's Classics were set down in print, full of jiggers and ponys, this unique volume gives an intriguing insight into a world gone by but, fortunately for the connoisseur, or just those who might like a tipple now and then, not entirely forgotten.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 176 pages, black & white illustrations
  • Publisher: Hesperus Press Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Spirits & cocktails
  • ISBN: 9781843911982



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Showing 1 - 5 of 9 reviews.

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Review by

The original cocktail book, so it's got some very old fashioned drinks in there. The punches for 20 are awesome to read about, as are the sly comments in some of the drink descriptions. A lot of the recipes are variations on each other (make that drink with this other alcohol), but it's a useful resource (if occasionally in need of translation for the amounts, the glossary in the back helps).

Review by

This is the hesperus press edition they sent to early reviewers, so I'm going to talk about their nice clean edition, with a number of useful endnotes."Prof" Jerry Thomas is one of the early cocktail bartenders, his most famous creation is the blue blazer, a fantastic bit of bar theatre. The recipes are pretty old fashioned, you won't find a cosmopolitan in here. However if you are interested in mixing drinks there are a few great ideas dotted around.Hesperus have a nice paperback, with scattered etchings through the text, some useful footnotes (though one for Monongahela whiskey might have been nice) and a handy glossary which converts glass sizes to Fl/oz (though no mention of English or US). Those 2 little niggles aside this is a very affordable print of a cocktail classic, there will definitely be some smashes & Juleps in my garden this summer

Review by

Reading this book is amusing as a piece of historical lore (the content is ~150 years old). Drinks and drinking were very different back then. But onto the recipes....We decided to throw a large party and try 5 of the recipes. Selecting the drinks took a while as there are many very similar recipes and lots of slightly different ways to mix the exact same ingredients. You will not find vodka, tequila, or any "infusions" here. It's a brandy, gin, and wine book for the most part. We also were as bit grossed out by all the flips (I'm not putting any raw egg into my cocktails, thank you very much). We decided on: Brandy punch, Knickerbocker, Cider nectar, Real Georgia Miny Julep, and Gin Fizz to get a good sampling from the different chapters. Most of the ingredients were easy to find (not true of all the recipes). The proportions were very imprecise and servings very large (they didn't drive cars back then obviously). Fortunately we are experienced mixologists and could wing it, but a novice could get some pretty weird results. The drinks themselves were quite good, and very different from today's typical menu choices. Our guests enjoyed themselves and sampled everything and other than some people who typically don't drink the hard stuff the comments were positive. The brandy punch was strong but fruity, the cider nectar was a bit bland but nice enough, and I will be revisiting the Mint Julep throughout the summer! Yum.The organization is by drink type. I am longing for a good bar book organized by alcohol type, but that wouldn't make sense for this book anyway. Luckily there is a short glossary for terms like "gill." I recommend this book if you want to try some different drinks and basically know how to put together the proportions and servings sizes. It is not encyclopedic, nor scientific, so if that's what you;'re looking for try another book.

Review by

The Bon Vivant's Companion is a lovely historical text for a drinks enthusiast and there are some nice pieces of prose about the origin of some iconic American cocktails like the mint julep. But it's probably of limited use to someone who wants to learn to mix drinks.

Review by

Hesperus Press's reissue of Terry Thomas' mixology classic How to Mix Drinks or the Bon Vivant's Companion makes me want to dust off my bartending certificate. It also makes one realize how much skill and artistry was lost in the U.S. from Prohibition and never recovered. Before refrigeration and pre-made drink mixes, the bartender had to create it all right down to mixing his own simple syrup. Reviewing the recipes one realizes that drinking a raw egg was either not fraught with hazard back in the day or else something has dramatically altered in the production of eggs and I'm afraid it's the latter. The flips, punches, fizzes and other drinks may be a bit sweet for modern tastes, but appear to be great fun. The names are a hoot, such as a Bimbo Punch, White Tiger's Milk and Badminton. One is reminded that Tom and Jerry was a drink long before it became a cartoon. Methinks I will go try to fire up a Blue Blazer and attempt to avoid burning down the house.

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