In recent years, as the classic cocktail renaissance has picked up steam, vintage bartending manuals have become increasingly scarce—and increasingly valuable—as bartenders and home mixologists have snapped up the yellowing volumes from estate sales and eBay auctions. One of the most highly sought-after books is The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks, a volume first printed in 1948, written not by a bartender but by a New York lawyer named David Embury who was determined to establish a system of proper rules for mixing drinks.
While you can still find the occasional copy of Embury's book—which was reprinted several times, most recently in 1961—for $3 at a used book store, copies typically stray well above $100 in online auctions. Now, thanks to a collector and publisher at Mud Puddle Books, The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks is returning to print, and starting next month it will be readily available for the first time in almost 50 years.
Embury developed his mixological system while entertaining guests at his home in Westchester County. Most of the drinks he covered were ones that were already in regular rotation in New York bars. Here's one of his originals, the Larchmont.
- 1 1/2 ounces white rum
- 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
- 1/2 ounce Grand Marnier
- 1 teaspoon simple syrup
Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake well for 10 seconds and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a twist of orange peel.
Note: To make simple syrup, combine equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat, and whisk until sugar is completely dissolved and syrup comes just to a boil.