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OP: Bartender's Guide

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by “Trader Vic” Bergeron

Victor Bergeron (1902–1984), better known as Trader Vic, is widely credited, along with Donn Beach, for giving legs to the tiki cocktail craze that began in the 1930s and lasted for decades in the US. Bergeron was one of the foremost practitioners of the kitschy aesthetics associated with tiki culture, and his influence was given national prominence by a partnership with Conrad Hilton that spread Trader Vic’s restaurants across the country.

Bartender’s Guide (1947) is a manual intended for professionals. It includes a chapter on how to deal with check dodgers and drunks and two other chapters titled “People that Bartenders Have Learned Not to Like” and “Bartenders that Customers Don’t Like.” Of course there are cocktails too, many of them. Naturally, the book favors tiki drinks and other classics that have a tropical flare, but you will also find martinis, Manhattans, and other standards. 

San Francisco illustrator Ray Sullivan’s snappy drawings are peppered throughout, as well as exhibited in a double-page spread guide to the various cups and glasses employed in Bergeron’s recipes.

Humorous, irreverent, brash, and decidedly “modern”—a counterpoint to the worship of pre-Prohibition classics and bartenders in suspenders—the book also takes seriously its job of creating enjoyable cocktails and decent, knowledgeable bartenders.

This is the 1948 Garden City reprint, a more attractive—by our estimation—printing than the later revised edition. Very Good plus with light foxing to the page edges and some discoloration to the endpapers. The unclipped jacket, also Very Good, shows moderate chipping and light dampstaining, most noticeably on the back. Good fun.

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