Los Angeles Modern Bartending School Collection
Scope and Content
The Los Angeles Modern Bartending School Collection includes two bartending guides for students from the 1930s.
The "277 Standard/100 Tropical Recipes" is a 1944 revised edition and includes cocktail recipes in two sections. This edition built on the first version, copyright in 1937. Pages are carbon type copies of recipes, arranged in alphabetical order within each section. Taped to the front and back covers are instructions on wine service. One page also has a cut out recipe and picture for a "Moscow Mule." This item is almost entirely a recipe book, with the exception of one preliminary page of hints.
The untitled "[Bartender's Guide]" is likely from the 1930s, around 1935 and is presumed to be the first edition. It contains information on wines & wine service, bar preparation and maintenance, spirits, and cocktail recipes. This is an all-around guide that includes introductory comments by the author, Joseph V. Jordan; extensive comments on what a barman is and should know; and hints and guidelines for proper behavior, including tips like:
- 3. Be as clean as a daily bath will make you.
- 17. Do not get pally with customers. (They will expect drinks on the house.)
- 20. If a telephone call comes for a customer, never admit over the phone that the customer is at your bar, until you find out if he wants it known.
The guide features pages on measurements, specific spirits, glassware, terms, and appetizer/tonic/medicinal drinks, as well as an overview of waters, beer, and many pages on wine. The remaining one-fourth of the guide is a series of 25 "lessons," each of which is a series of cocktail recipes. Most early lessons are collections of classic recipes; other later lessons are build around themes like tropical drinks or variations on the daiquiri.
Neither item was formally published, suggesting they were created for and used as primarily as a teaching tool and for use by students who transitioned to amateur or professional bartending. Given the 1930s dates on both of these items, they are of particular significance in light of their "tropical" recipes. Tiki and tropical drink cocktail culture was just beginning to gain attention in the United States during the 1930s (it would become increasingly popular following World War II), thanks bartenders like Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic. The fact that these guides include tropical drinks suggests the Los Angeles Bartending School was looking to leverage this newness. The last lesson of the "[Bartender's Guide]" ends with "Your attention is called to the fact that very few Bartenders in Los Angeles know these Tropical Drinks[.] If you let some one copy these drinks from you book you are just creating unnecessary competition to yourself in this new field[.] USE COMMON SENSE[.]"
- c.1930s, 1937/1944
The collection is open for research.
Permission to publish material from Los Angeles Modern Bartending School Collection must be obtained from Special Collections, Virginia Tech.
0.3 Cubic Feet (1 box)
Language of Materials
The Los Angeles Modern Bartending School Collection includes two bartending guides for students. The untitled “Bartender’s Guide” is likely from the 1930s, around 1935 and is presumed to be the first edition. It contains information on wines & wine service, bar preparation and maintenance, spirits, and cocktail recipes. The "277 Standard/100 Tropical Recipes" is a 1944 revised edition and includes cocktail recipes in two sections.
The Los Angeles Modern Bartending School Collection was purchased by Special Collections in February 2016.
Existence and Location of Copies
This collection has been digitized and is available online.
The processing, arrangement, and description of the Los Angeles Modern Bartending School Collection was completed in June 2017.
- Los Angeles Modern Bartending School Collection, c.1930s, 1937/1944
- Kira A. Dietz, Archivist
- © 2017 Virginia Tech. All rights reserved.
- Language of description
- Script of description
Part of the Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech Repository
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