“If I had to live my life over, I’d live over a saloon.” ~ W. C. Fields
The world of the 1890s was a very different place from our modern era, in some ways worse and in some ways better. You can’t help knowing when looking at the rough customers below that they were a very different breed of man than the office dwellers of today. You can be sure that if someone was looking for an *Ass it would have been at the stable not behind the bar, unless of course he had a bone to pick with the bartender.
The bar pictured was part of a long gone hotel my family owned and this is the only photo remaining of the place. From the look of things, the drink menu was likely to be very short. However, despite the probable lack of cocktails, they did have (if you look very, very closely) an upcoming John Philip Sousa concert. Liquor and a concert. Some things don’t change at all.
For a sense of the times, I suggest reading the story of Jerry Thomas, “the Jupiter Olympus of the bar” as told in a brief New York Times profile. Quite well-known in his day, Jerry was a barman of the mid-to-late 19th century who worked his trade across the country before finally arriving in Manhattan. He was a showman and trailblazer of the spirits world, devising new drinks and actually taking the time to write them down in his book “The Bon-Vivant’s Companion”. Today that would be the title of a romance novel.
1 oz Absolut® vodka
1 splash DeKuyper® Sour Apple Pucker schnapps