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OP: The Savoy Cocktail Book

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by Harry Craddock

New York, Richard R. Smith Inc, 1930. Hardcover. Very Good. First printing.

Here is a book that requires very little explanation and only a few ecstatic adjectives. Published in 1930, it was the creation of the great cocktailer Harry Craddock (1876–1930), at London’s Savoy Hotel. An Englishman by birth, Craddock relocated to New York in 1897 but, with the arrival of prohibition in America, returned to London, where, at the Savoy, he gained a considerable following and a reputation as a master bartender.

Craddock’s book contains some 750 recipes, including all of the classic fizzes, flips, slings, and others, as well as a number of his own inventions, a long-time favorite of which is the Corpse Reviver #2. In addition he provides his own witty commentaries and a goodly amount of cocktail historysome of it quite possibly true.

Beyond its contents The Savoy Cocktail Book is famous as an exquisite piece of bookmaking. Its elegant art deco design is museum-worthy (and the volume is, in fact, displayed at the Cooper-Hewitt branch of the Smithsonian Institution in New York City). Notable are its striking black, green, and gold cover, festive endpapers, stylish page design, and witty drawings, reproduced in an array of colors. 

Craddock’s great book has been re-issued in innumerable editions by many publishers. However, there is only one true first printing, which we offer here. This is identifiable by a recipe on page 25 called the Bacardi Special Cocktail—which appears in all subsequent editions as Bacardi Cocktail—and an errata for said cocktail tipped in. 

Because the gold leaf on the case is subject to scratching and chipping, nearly every example we have ever seen on offer is rubbed or flawed in one way or another. The copy we are offering is no major exception. The front and rear boards show some scuffing, and the fore corners are rubbed enough to expose the boards underneath; the bottom edge of the case, both front and rear, shows a small divot, perhaps from shelving on an uneven surface. Light foxing has begun to show on the edges. The interior is clean and unmarked and the binding secure. Issued without dust jacket. We have had made a custom slipcase covered in black cloth to protect the book from further wear.

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