29 July 2011

Lots Of Friday Belts

Somewhere on the Upper West Side -- Near Broadway -- Maybe it's on Broadway -- I'm not telling you exactly -- In the 70s -- There are a number of outdoor book stalls. The guys who own them don't strike me as serious bibliophiles. Sometimes you can find a real bargain. It's a couple blocks south of Fairway. I'm not telling you exactly where.

The Golf Foxtrot does not allow me to stop at book stalls. And she ain't crazy when I bring books back from book stalls. Sometimes they smell like an ashtray. She's also afraid of bed bugs. Me? Not so much.

Walking north on Broadway a week or so ago -- 50 feet north of 73rd Street -- On the west side of the street -- Not telling you exactly where -- The sun reflects off a sheet of mylar and nearly blinds me. Stumbling up to a stall between Loehmann's and American Apparel -- That's your last clue -- I find this book. The yellowed '40s style cover is one I've seen before.

The introduction by Lucius Beebe is one I've read before. And I know, through my many bookstore travels, that this book is worth, depending on condition, about $100 smackeroos. Even more in New York. That should be a bumper sticker-- "Even More In New York" Anyway, I open the book and see it's a first printing. $3.00 is written in pencil at the top of the page.

The book is bright and clean with no smell and no bed bugs. I look at the stall owner and Presbyterian him down to $2 because, that's what you're supposed to do in New York. Another bumper sticker?

I get the book home and am amazed at the number of cocktail recipes, long lost to history, that I can steal and call my own. If I could find a source for cheap custom made belts then I'd have a book contract -- And a line. Look at the Portuguese Virgin. White Port!? Who in the hell even buys White Port anymore? Well, me but that's another story.

Most are straightforward sans blenders and infused syrups

"How about a Sink or Swim, Phil?" Now that's a cocktail

One of you will steal this


Beats a Slow Comfortable Screw

"Do you want me to call you in the morning or should I just nudge you?"

Two of you will steal this

Brandy, gin and vermouth - That's a wedding

The End

Pretty amazing story, huh? I just wish it were true. What is true is that I don't have the time or the bridge table to set up a stall on Broadway. And I have a lotta catalogs to sell. Brooks Brothers catalogs going back to 1980. The first batch went up Sunday night. I'll follow each week with different seasons: Fall, Christmas, Winter, Spring and Summer.

Brooksgate, Women, Footwear...You get the idea. These things are taking up too much room in an 805 sq foot apartment. Add that to the fact that Heavy Tweed Jacket is off the air again and you can blog your own Brooks Brothers posts. Catalogs can be found here and I suggest having a few of these cocktails while you're bidding. Cheers.


Unclelooney said...

Do you have the August '78 issue of Oui magazine?

Mr. Sean said...

Love the cocktail book! Keep your eyes peeled for an early edition AA book- I will need that after perfecting those drinks.

La Maison Fou said...

Summer will never be the same.I can envision the smoking jacket,seedy shades and the smoke rings in the dark......
I may have to try a few of these libations,as changing up the summer drink may lead to expulsion of the day to day boredom.
Weekend cocktails before dinner may take on a new twist & hopefully ( a shout ).
Thanks for sharing...T~

Scale Worm said...

Wow, Great post! I love the illustrations, and the titles of the recipes are killer. A good friend of mine collects Tiki bar menus and recipe books from the 50s and 60s, and your book reminds me of those. Anything with rum and citrus is alright by me.

Unclelooney said...

That book reminds me of a cocktail recipe "file" that my grandma gave me long ago. It's a small statue of a bartender with notecards which are enscribed with cocktail recipes. It should be in this photo someplace.


My G grandfather owned the hotel and my grandma grew up there.

Obsessive compulsive Looney Dad Trimmed the frayed edges of the cards, why? because he thought it looked neater. arrrgh.

Anonymous said...

I' don't want to steal those cocktail recipes, I want to steal those uber-sweet James Thurber-style illustrations.


jojulayo said...

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cheers xx

Gregorius Mercator said...

Wonderful stuff! I've been looking for more cocktails to try and now that I keep a couple of different brandies around, I have no excuse. I've also been meaning to add a couple of those vintage bartender books to give my copy of Everyday Drinking some company.

John said...

I've had some good finds from these guys on Broadway near 74th. They're even out there at 2am.

Kent Wang said...

I assume you already have the Savoy Cocktail Book, the definitive vintage cocktail recipe book.

tintin said...

Kent- Nope. I don't. You got an extra one laying around?

Kent Wang said...

I got mine off Amazon for less than $10.

There's also a fellow in San Francisco that's making every recipe in the book.