Bartenders and cocktail geeks, more so than adherents of any other epicurean discipline, seem drawn to a dialogue with the past.
David Wondrich, Robert Hess and other cocktail authorities helped Mr. Boehm select the first five books to reproduce, and contributed introductions.
The books are gems, less for their recipes, which are mix of arcane curiosities and the earliest documentation of cocktails we still drink today, than for their tone and approach.
C. F. Lawlor's "The Mixicologist," the 1899 version, contains a stern list of "Don'ts for Young Bartenders," including the advice: "Don't be too positive about things. You may be in error."
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