Countless bars and restaurants have sought to recapture the splendor of the Golden Age of Cocktails, a period that unofficially ran from the late 19th century until the onset of Prohibition in the United States.
From unearthing forgotten recipes to outfitting their space with antique barware and vintage fixtures, bar owners and bartenders continue to find inspiration in a period that saw the birth of timeless cocktails such as the martini and the Manhattan.
The Loews Hotel chain has gotten in on the throwback act with the Traveller Bar, a pop-up bar that’s appearing at each of its U.S. properties over the course of two years. A Boston visit wraps up this week.
Situated just outside the Loews Hotel lobby, the structure of the roving exhibit is reportedly built from the pieces of an old elevator car. A zinc-topped bar with leather stools and old-school lamps echo the look and feel of an early 20th century cocktail bar, though an iPad containing the histories and recipes of each cocktail lends a modern touch.
Behind the bar is a library of vintage cocktail books, including an original 1862 edition of the most famous recipe book of all – the Bar-Tenders Guide, by Jerry Thomas, valued at $8,000.
Each drink on the menu is culled from one of those books, with updated measurements and ingredients employed as necessary.
The barrel-aged Sombrero, made with Roca Patron reposado tequila, Dolin dry vermouth, Punt e mes, and lemon oil, was inspired by a recipe in the Café Royal Cocktail Book by W.J. Tarling, dated 1937. Popularized by a London bar, the book supposedly offers some of the first mentions of vodka and tequila.
The simply named Whiskey Cocktail is taken from the New York City Bartenders’ Association’s Official Handbook and Guide, published in 1895. An early version of the Old Fashioned, it’s made with Basil Hayden’s bourbon, demerara syrup, angostura bitters, and a couple of dashes of Cointreau.
The Fedora, meanwhile, is the kind of recipe that you look at and think “that’s never going to work.” But as unconventional as it may appear, with its incorporation of multiple base spirits, the Fedora is a standout among the menu’s eight offerings. Combining Remy Martin 1738 cognac, Cointreau, Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum, Basil Hayden’s bourbon, and lemon oil, this bold, smooth libation was discovered in Harry Johnson’s Bartenders’ Manual and a Guide for Hotels and Restaurants, dating back to 1900.
The Traveller Bar is pouring drinks in Boston through Thursday night. From there, it’s on to Miami. Pop in while you still can!
Website: The Traveller Bar
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