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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Celebrate the Birth of Bartending with a Toast to the "Professor," Jerry Thomas

Posted By on Thu, Dec 18, 2014 at 3:24 PM

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This week, 129 years ago, Jerry Thomas died. Why does this matter? Because the “Professor,” as he was known, is considered by many to be the father of modern bartending, primarily due to his 1862 book, How to Mix Drinks, which put many cocktail recipes of the time on paper.

So, when you’re sitting  at a cocktail bar wondering why it’s taking so long to get a drink, you can curse the Professor, but when you take a sip of that drink and taste how good it is, you can also thank him. Thomas could also be considered the father of flair bartending, you know, that thing Tom Cruise did in the movie Cocktail. 

His fingers were often decorated with eye-catching jewelry, he had silver and diamond encrusted bartending equipment, and when mixing, would juggle bottles and cups. He was a showman, as evidenced by his signature Blue Blazer cocktail in which he poured a flaming stream of alcohol between two mugs to mix a drink, and as the story goes, it was a drink he developed while working in San Francisco. 

To honor Thomas’ contributions to bartending, several bars around the Bay Area, in conjunction with Bols Genever, are serving up specials until January 2. Some of the cocktails include the John Collins at Comstock Saloon, a take on the Tom Collins; The Genever Jerry at Reed & Greenough, using Green Chartreuse and scotch; the Gin Daisy at The Burritt Room + Tavern, a variant on the Brandy Daisy from Thomas’ book; the Orchard Cup at Rich Table, made with apple cider; and the Proost at Bocanova, a sparkling wine and Holland gin cocktail.

A full list of participating bars is below in case you find yourself interested in creating your own Jerry Thomas bar crawl this weekend:

San Francisco:
Lolinda (2518 Mission)
Wingtip (550 Montgomery)
Rich Table (199 Gough)
Urchin (584 Valencia)
Moshi Moshi (2092 Third St.)
Poquito (2368 Third St.)
Reed & Greenough (3251 Scott)
Beretta (1199 Valencia)
Comstock Saloon (155 Columbus)
Burritt Room + Tavern (417 Stockton)

East Bay:
Prizefighter (6702 Hollis St, Emeryville)
Revival Bar + Kitchen (2102 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley)
Bocanova (55 Webster St, Jack London Square, Oakland)
Toast (5900 College Ave, Oakland)

North Bay:
The Farmer & The Fox (3111 St Helena Highway North, St Helena)
K&L Bistro (119 S Main St, Sebastopol
Lucky Star (116 S Main St, Sebastopol)
Alexander Valley Bar (3487 Alexander Valley Rd, Healdsburg)
Jameson’s Roaring Donkey (146 Kentucky St, Petaluma)
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