On this week’s show, we gather three cocktail luminaries – Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, Greg Boehm, and Jim Meehan – to discuss vintage cocktail books and their importance and relevance today.
Pictured above from left – back row – Greg Boehm of Cocktail Kingdom, Bryan Dias of The NOLADrinks Show, Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, and – front – Jim Meehan of Mixography, Inc.
NOLADrinks Show – 4-15-19 – Vintage Cocktail Books with Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, Greg Boehm, and Jim Meehan
We kick things off talking about last week’s French Quarter Festival and what a blast it was! We also let you know about this week’s show.
Then, we’re over at Tiki bar Latitude 29 located in the French Quarter of New Orleans for our featured interview. We welcome Tiki and cocktail historian and proprietor of Latitude 29, Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, owner of Cocktail Kingdom and various bars as well as founder of a New York-based cocktail book library, Greg Boehm, and cocktail author, journalist, and bartender, Jim Meehan of Mixography, Inc. That’s a lot of cocktail knowledge in one place!
The heart of our conversation is about vintage cocktail books. We discuss the sheer volume of books produced, some of those that are the most sought-after today, and some that are truly touchstones in the cannon dating back to the 19th century. We chat about original entries and the large amount of repetition as well as works that are more original in nature.
Importantly, we discuss how discovering and appreciating vintage cocktail books not only sheds a light on the development of drinks but is also a reflection of their respective time, in a social context. We also touch on ideas such as how the availability of ingredients has influenced drink making and cocktail culture as well as many other concepts connected to these books.
Pictured above from left – Bryan Dias of The NOLADrinks Show, Greg Boehm of Cocktail Kingdom, Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, and Jim Meehan of Mixography, Inc.
Jeff, Greg, and Jim also tell us about their background, collaborations with each other, and share some great stories and insights. We discuss an important initiative that Greg has spearheaded – a cocktail book library in New York City where those interested can research and explore in this well-organized and chronicled space.
Pictured above – Very early editions of “The Savoy Cocktail Book” (1930, New York) and Jerry Thomas’ “How to Mix Drinks” (1862) from Greg Boehm’s cocktail book library.
Jim and Greg let us know about their traveling presentation (which took place immediately after we taped the show at Latitude 29) on vintage cocktail book and the interest they hold. It was a great presentation, by the way!
As we close out the radio portion of the show, the three of them stick around for our podcast-only segment – “Another Shot with NOLADrinks” – where we get more into the topic.
We close things out with “Parting Shot” discussing the importance of understanding the context these books can provide and why that should matter to bartenders, culinary professionals, and enthusiasts today.
The map below shows the location of Latitude 29 (thanks to them for hosting us!). You can subscribe to, stream, and download The NOLADrinks Show with Bryan Dias podcast using the links and player at the top of the post.
Cheers, You All!