Book (and time travel portal): The World’s Drinks and How to Mix Them by William Boothby


BY – The Honorable William T. “Cocktail Bill” Boothby

PUBLISHER – First published by H.S. Crocker Company; This facsimile edition published by Mud Puddle Books, Inc.

YEAR – Originally 1908; This edition 2009

When I picked this book up at a relatively new San Francisco shop, Bottle Bacchanal, I only gave its contents a cursory glance before buying it, frankly, to support what struck me as a great new shop.

I’d learned of Bottle Bacchanal from Home Base Spirits, which had scheduled a whiskey tasting there. So it was to pick up the latest Home Base Single Malt that I went. But seeing the shop and chatting briefly with the owner, Beth Hughes, I realized it wasn’t just another bottle shop among the many that have always dotted San Francisco—a longstanding drinking town with plentiful spiritous destinations.

Bottle Bacchanal is a woman-owned boutique bottle shop located in the beating heart of San Francisco’s Castro District. It offers a carefully selected array of natural wines, spirits, glassware, and other bar/drinking related paraphernalia, making a point to highlight women, BIPOC and LGBTQ+ producers. The layout is simple and appealing. In addition to wine and spirits tastings, they feature other guests one might not immediately associate with imbibing, like Year of the Snake, Patty Lu’s funky pop-up Asian pastry shop that opens only on Sundays in Berkeley. Or they participate in local events, like the bi-monthly Castro Art Walk, highlighting the work of local Castro community visual artists.

So in addition to a bottle of the Home Base Single Malt, to support the shop I also bought this book.

When I got home and began to flip through it more carefully, I realized this vintage cocktail manual was also an indirect, intriguing portal into San Francisco history. In addition to hundreds of cocktail recipes and ingredient formulae, there are advertisements for a variety of 1908-era San Francisco liquor-related businesses. And the author, “Hon Wm. T. (Cocktail) Boothby,” as he signs his name, led a long and eclectic life in the city, covering seemingly every trade and moving from enterprise to enterprise at rapid speed—actor, tailor, real estate agent, insurance salesman, restauranteur, baker, bartender extraordinaire and author. From his Introductory note, Boothby announces himself as quite a character. His self-aggrandizing tone has something of a P.T. Barnum flare for promotion.

Boothby was born in San Francisco on November 10, 1862, and eventually died there on August 4, 1930, at the age of sixty-eight. He was a true San Franciscan, not only for being a lifelong local figure, but for becoming such an apparently flamboyant and popular one. A serious mixologist long before the term got popularized by the 21st Century nouveau inclination toward all things artisanal, he also ran for office and was elected to the California State Legislature, representing San Francisco, demonstrating the longstanding relationship between liquor and the law. His book’s dedication underlines this point:

And so here I will do two things. First, an account of the book itself. Second, a tour of San Francisco using the book’s pages as a map.

in summation

The relatively slim volume’s nevertheless daunting density is the result of its history. Boothby wrote his first cocktail book, Cocktail Boothby’s American Bartender, in 1891. It was very popular, and was reprinted twice in 1900, with additional material added to reflect new recipes and insights developed since the first printing. The 1906 earthquake and fire destroyed the printing plates for the original editions as well as all the publisher’s stock copies. Boothby set to work preparing a new book, and in 1908 a hardcover edition, called The Mixologist, was released alongside a soft cover edition, itself called The World’s Drinks and How to Mix Them.

It seems that in reviving his lost book, Boothby threw in every tidbit he could gather. (A 1912 reprint would eventually add even more!) The 162 pages are packed with small print texts and no illustrations, until the six pages of ads that close the book. Even those feature mostly fonts arranged in various styles and sizes. Here is a rundown of the full contents in order of appearance, naming only the subject matter and not each section’s innumerable entries:

1. Introductory note by Boothby

2. A complete alphabetical index of drinks

3. An introductory essay, emphasizing the international influences any serious mixologist must consider

4. Absinthe Mixtures

5. Cobblers

6. Cocktails

7. Coolers

8. Cups

9. Fizzes

10. Frappés

11. Hot Drinks

12. Lemonades

13. Miscellaneous Drinks

14. Punches

15. Sangrees

16. Shakes

17. Sherbets

18. Shrubs

19. Sours

20. Toddies, Cold

21. Useful Formulas

22. Hon. Wm. T. (Cocktail) Boothby’s Ten Commandments

23. Witty, Wise and Otherwise

24. Tips

25. Some New-Up-To-Now Seductive American Cocktails

26. Advertisements

If that list is long, the full contents are epic! The tireless verbosity of the text might speak to Boothby’s evidently abundant confidence. As an actor he was apparently known to show off. His book’s commentary never shies from pronouncing his expertise, positioning him as the “standard authority” and even “deity” of bartending.

The chapter entitled “Witty, Wise and Otherwise” is a seeming stream of conscious collection of quotes, poems, lyrics, philosophical observations, jokes, professional advice, trivia, and tips, all presented in no evident order and by no discernible organizational principle. One also finds in this flood of ideas the occasional sexism and racism that went casually unquestioned in that time, inevitably delivered with either incongruous politesse or else jarring crudity. That Boothby’s brief acting career was with the Vigor of Life Minstrel Troupe, a traveling blackface song-and-dance medicine show staged to sell one Dr. McConkey’s Vigor of Life liver pills, is somehow not surprising. Perhaps it was in this line of work that Boothby honed his knack for a flamboyant promotional style that played loosely with truth, virtue, and bias, leaning into upperclass White values while habitually overlooking their ill effects.

The centerpiece of the book, its list of recipes, is so exhaustive it would seem impossible not to find there every drink ever made—even those concocted over the decades after Boothby’s prodigious efforts behind the bar, tweaked and renamed as if they were new and not simply riffs on Boothby’s own endless riffs.

Boothby’s recipe catalogue constitutes the book’s primary practical use. The presentation might not be as easy on the eye as modern cocktail books, like Meehan’s Bartender Manual (Ten Speed Press, New York, 2017). And its length renders it less digestible than The Ideal Bartender, published in 1917 by Boothby’s contemporary and fellow bartending celeb of the time, Tom Bullock. But as a resource for all things mixology, Boothby’s tiny tome is arguably complete.

The rest of the book’s contents then function much like a curiosity shop—shelves packed with the quaint and the macabre, knickknacks and apothecary accoutrements. And between the 1908-era advertisements for San Francisco businesses, Boothby’s own occasional local references, and the 2009 publication’s added introductory account of Boothby’s life, a foggy map of the city as it once was is laid out in bits and pieces…

then and now

At a recent meeting of the artistic team at the American Conservatory Theater, where I work, we were discussing “the spirit of San Francisco.” When asked what I thought that spirit is, I found I had no answer. I can speak to what it was, both in my lifetime and times long past. But as I’m not at all a player in the current dominant tech culture, which has enacted a seismic cultural shift in the city over the past two decades, I’m literally out of touch with the exact nature of the current core spirit.

My best general answer is that San Francisco is a Gold Rush town. Today the gold is tech—although that era may be waning, given the pandemic-induced move to remote work, resulting in an exodus of tech workers heading for cheaper and leafier remote locales.

In the 1990s the gold seemed to be a D.I.Y. way of life, with young students and artists flocking to S.F. for rent-controlled apartments and cheap storefront spaces where they could be writers, painters, musicians, ravers, crafters, theater makers, or any other cultural shaker making their work in their way on their terms.

In the 1970s the gold was the freedom to be openly gay. In the 1960s it was the freedom to protest established sociopolitical norms and experiment with new forms of community. In the 1950s it was poetry. Before then, I can’t say exactly, until we get as far back as 1850, the original and literal Gold Rush.

But whatever the gold of the given generation, San Francisco has always been a destination for free-thinkers, eccentric creatives, capitalists intent on capitalizing, entrepreneurs both altruistic and avaricious, lost spirits in search of a place to wander freely, and free spirits seeking room to soar.

That all sounds rather romantic, and is. San Francisco is also a longstanding destination for the desperate and destitute. It’s a place where people live hard lives every day, perched on scales stacked against them, and die hard deaths. Every day. The recent tech worker exodus has given these people more room to move, and they have made themselves even more apparent than before. But they’ve been here since at least 1850.

By the time Boothby came of age, San Francisco was already a hopping big city anchoring the west coast of the United States. First given cachet by the Gold Rush as a place of opportunity, freedom, and excess, San Francisco’s permissive reputation was further boosted by eccentric wealthy characters like Charles Crocker, Mark Hopkins, Collis P. Huntington, and Leland Stanford—the “big four” who all panned for gold before establishing the Central Pacific Railroad and then building opulent homes, museums and universities. San Francisco had an extravagance and penchant for hedonism about it. A fertile city for creative contributors and criminals alike.

What follows is a tour of this ever evolving city via Boothby’s key endeavors. Though I’ve followed the chronology of Boothby’s career, this tour nevertheless hops back and forth in time. The famous earthquake of 1906 virtually wiped San Francisco’s map clean. Some streets and structures were refurbished or rebuilt anew, while others vanished forever. Not only buildings, but records and documentation also perished in the fires. As multiple eras can sometimes be found in a single building, so too does this tour traverse many generations at once…

We’ll start at the first known Boothby family endeavor, Frank Johnson’s Chop House & Oyster Saloon, which Boothby’s parents purchased in 1874 when he was twelve years old. Holding down the Saloon’s former corner at Leidesdorff and Clay Streets, today there stands a modest old brick building, either built or re-built in 1907. Whether it retains anything of the original 1874 structure or design, I don’t know. But it’s clearly of age, and very different from the once ultra-modern, now almost quaintly familiar 1972 Transamerica Pyramid towering just across the street.

Interesting note regarding the five-block alley street, Leidesdorff: It is named after William Alexander Leidesdorff, the first person to own a semi-permanent building in San Francisco—built in 1847 out of adobe and situated at the corner of Clay and Kearny, right off Portsmouth Square. Leidesdorff had arrived in California in 1841, having spent seven years in New Orleans after immigrating there from St. Croix (now the Virgin Islands), where he’d been born in 1810. Leidesdorff was a ship captain, merchant, entrepreneur, public servant, both an American and Mexican citizen, Black, Jewish, a trader of indigenous slaves, and is believed to be the first millionaire of African American descent. His complex, contradictory, accomplished life ended rather early when he died from Typhus in 1848. Today a statue of Leidesdorff stands near the corner of Leidesdorff and Pine.

A stroll around San Francisco’s Financial District is time travel via streets and architecture. Street signs memorialize the names of early San Francisco movers and shakers like Leidesdorff and Hotaling. These old-fashionedly narrow streets are lined with buildings of varying size and scale, from seemingly every decade of the past hundred and fifty years. Victorian, Edwardian, Art Nouveux, Art Deco, 1970s blah, 1990s blah, you name it. Today the business quietly humming inside 555 Clay Street, site of the first Boothby family venture, offers no outward signage to announce itself: Game On, a sports related marketing and A.I. tech operation. But staring at the sienna brick facade of 555 Clay, with its neat black trims, I can imagine the Boothby’s customers coming and going in their late Victorian era regalia.

Around 1887, the Boothby’s moved shop further inland to 1185 Market Street, near the corner of 8th Street. There they opened Boothby’s Coffee Saloon. Today it’s a newly opened Whole Foods, sitting across from the Orpheum Theater—itself built in 1926 (a year after Boothby eventually retired).

The corner of Market and 8th has been renovated many times over the decades. Perhaps this trend is what prompted the Boothby family to soon move their Coffee Saloon a few blocks off Market, to 223 Leavenworth, where it was renamed Boothby’s Restaurant & Bakery.

Whatever building held down that address in 1887 was replaced by 1915 with the current building, a designated historical landmark known as Ivanhoe Apartments. The building also houses Golden Gate Market & Produce—perhaps once the street level space occupied by the Boothby operation.

Today this area of San Francisco, which borders the Civic Center and Tenderloin Districts, is considered among the most depressed and dangerous. I don’t know what it was like in 1887. But two years later, William Boothby left the Tenderloin and took a job bartending at the Silver Palace Theater on Market Street.

This was a tricky one to locate at first. It took some walking back and forth on the 700-800 blocks of Market Street, and finally a bit of a Google into the history of the conspicuously ornate Humboldt Bank Building, built in 1908. I’d been confusing the elaborate Humboldt with another former glory, located a block away, known today as Central Tower.

Central Tower was originally built in 1897, and known first as the Call Building, in reference to the newspaper by that name housed inside.

The sturdy, superlatives-inducing building survived the 1906 earthquake intact. But in 1913 The Call newspaper moved out, and by 1937 the building had fallen into disrepair. It was renovated, with its distinctive dome replaced by a more up-to-date Art Deco cap.

Looking down Kearny Street toward Market

Renovated again in 2013 and now called Central Tower, the Art Deco cap has been replaced by a less remarkable variation. And even the Art Deco effort paled next to the 1897 original. Compare this pic I snapped in 2022 with a 1913 photo of the original building:

And now look again at the Humboldt Building, just half a block further up Market:

One can understand my initial confusion. Standing on Market Street, thinking the Humboldt was the Call, I speculated whether it had survived the 1906 quake and been relocated. Such extravagant gestures were not uncommon among San Francisco’s early wealthy elite. But no. The Humboldt was indeed built in 1908, in apparent competition with its neighbor for most splendid top floors on Market!

In any case, my deep dive into Market Street’s layers of architectural history was all part of my attempt to locate the Silver Palace Theater, where Boothby started bartending in 1889.

No photos or illustrations of the 1880/90s original exist. But it’s reasonable to assume the 1909 theater built in the Bancroft Building—situated in the Call Building’s shadow at 731 Market, which also once included the Silver’s 727 address—was among the many post-quake architectural revivals, putting places of significance back in place.

Following its vaudeville era, the Silver Palace became the first moving picture theater in San Francisco. In 1951 it was renamed The Hub, and after a period showing legit films it became a porn house. In 1970 The Hub marquee was pulled down, revealing the original Silver Palace signage beneath. By 1972 it was closed. Eventually a CVS moved in. Now post pandemic, it’s empty.

In Boothby’s day, the Silver Palace was a live venue with a high class bar. Though comprehensive documentation doesn’t exist, some photos of old details can be found online to offer a glimpse of the Silver’s original palatial glory:

After his time at the Silver Palace, Boothby had stints working in highly respected East and North Bay hotel bars. In 1891 his first book on mixology was published. And in 1895 Boothby was elected to the California State Assembly, representing the forty-third district of San Francisco. After serving a single two-year term focused on lobbying for the liquor industry, around 1897 Boothby and a fellow bartender, Harry “Smiley” Garvin, opened the Parker House, located on the corner of Stockton and Geary, adjacent to Union Square.

Today, the four corners of Stockton and Geary are marked by Bulgari, Neiman Marcus, Macy’s, and Union Square. Of those, only Union Square existed when the Parker House was opened:

Looking north toward the Post Street side of Union Square, 1898

Which corner of Stockton and Geary the Parker House occupied is guesswork. There is no record that I can find of a “Parker House” at that location. However, there is ample evidence (here and here) of a Parker House Hotel in 1850, at Portsmouth Square, located at Clay and Kearny Streets—incidentally just a few blocks from 555 Clay, the location of the Boothby family’s 1874 Chop House & Oyster Saloon:

As this illustration indicates, the hotel was a two-story, wooden building with additional rooms in its attic space. Second floor rooms had access to a covered balcony area, and windows on any floor offered a prime view of the bustling Portsmouth Square. Parker House was considered the best hotel of its time on the west coast, and catered to its era’s power players—the gold digging gamblers. Carpeted floors, a well stocked bar, multiple billiard tables, paintings of naked women in alluring poses, complimentary wine at the gambling tables to grease the game… San Francisco’s reputation for moneyed extravagance and hedonism had commenced in earnest. For those of us who know contemporary San Francisco rent prices to be astronomical, consider that in the Gold Rush era a room at the Parker House could run $5,000 a month, and was only rented in yearlong commitments—i.e. $60K per year!

Today there is the Parker Guest House, a boutique bed and breakfast, operating at 520 Church Street. Built in 1909, Parker Guest House is an Edwardian oasis in San Francisco’s Castro District, far from the hustle and bustle of downtown.

None of these Parker Houses may have anything to do with each other. But the seeming plethora of them over the decades is interesting. Who the heck was Parker? Perhaps Boothby and his partner Garvin had named their establishment in honor of the infamous original on Portsmouth Square.

But the Boothby/Garvin enterprise didn’t appear to last long. Maybe non-stop Boothby got bored. Or maybe Garvin got tired of W. “Cocktail Bill” Boothby’s cocky personality. Whatever the reason, after just a few years, in 1902 Boothby took a job as head bartender at the Davy Crockett Saloon, located at 842 Market Street, current site of an Oakley clothing store.

That job ended with the 1906 earthquake, a great hinge-moment in San Francisco history. Much of the city was wiped out forever. Though most city blocks were rebuilt anew, some beloved buildings were carefully recreated and improved. For Boothy, whose popular book also perished in the quake and was similarly “rebuilt” for its 1908 republication, one of these architectural resurrections brought about a decisive gig. In 1909, Boothby landed a bartending appointment at the newly renovated and eminently prestigious Palace Hotel, at 2 Montgomery Street, in the hotel’s plush Pied Piper Bar—named after the famed mural by Maxfield Parrish, which still serves as the bar counter’s cinematic backdrop today.

It was there that Boothby invented his namesake cocktail. Though it’s no longer officially on the menu, Boothby is a known figure at The Palace, honored with a modest display in the hotel lobby.

When I asked the bartender if he could make me a Boothby Cocktail, he knew exactly what I was talking about: 

Essentially a Manhattan with a splash of champagne, the Boothby Cocktail is comprised of 2oz bourbon or rye (likely the latter in Boothby’s day), 1oz sweet vermouth, 2 dashes orange bitters, 2 drops Angostura bitters, 1oz Brut Champagne, served in a chilled coupe and garnished with a cherry. I can’t say whether my bartender followed this recipe with the exactitude Boothby might have done. But it was indeed a good, refreshing Manhattan with extra pizazz courtesy of the bubbles.

Boothby moved on to the Fairmont Hotel in 1911, just two years after landing the Palace gig. (One does begin to wonder why he changed jobs so often. Restless spirit? That large personality?) He must have had a good reputation indeed, because the Fairmont appointed him straight away as their “Premiere Mixologist”—or perhaps that was Boothby’s own spin. 😉🥃

As I was arriving the day I took these photos, Kamala Harris had only just departed. This explained the extensive security check as I entered the hotel’s still grand lobby. Costume the current guests properly and I’d believe I’d been swept back to Boothby’s era. Though much has changed over the years at the Fairmont, the two photos below—1907 on the left and 2022 on the right—of the lobby level’s Laurel Court restaurant and bar demonstrate that much also remains the same:

Here the bartender was not familiar with Boothby. But when I explained a bit about the book I handed to him, its author, and what a “Boothby Cocktail” was, he enthusiastically obliged:

Tasty. And potent! I think my bartender might have been liberal with the ingredients. 🥃 And after flipping through my copy of the book, he alerted me to a series of old photographs framed along the wall outside the back entrance to the bar, positing that Boothby might possibly be found among the crowd in one particular employee group photo:

Dated 1910, this group shot was a year early to include Boothby, and features chefs in any case. But I was pleased by the bartender’s interest in my project. He was pleased as well, and comped me the Boothby Cocktail. “I learned something about San Francisco today,” he said. “It’s the least I can do.”

Four years at the Fairmont were followed by four years at John C. O’Conner’s, from 1915 to about 1919. Located on the corner of Eddy and Market Streets, O’Conner’s was billed as the “handsomest café for gentlemen in the world,” suggesting that ladies were not encouraged to lend their patronage. Given the current Eddy/Market layout, this masculine destination was likely at what is now 50 Eddy Street, where the Parc 55 Hotel towers upward, or else 1 Powell Street, where an AT&T flagship store anchors the convergence of Powell, Eddy and Market.

When Prohibition became law in 1920, after a brief foray into the insurance business, Boothby ran back to bartending despite the new dry era, serving “soft” drinks (wink wink) at the Far Western Travelers Club in the St. Francis Hotel—easily the most classic and defining building flanking Union Square.

Very like the Fairmont further up a few blocks on Knob Hill, despite innumerable internal and cosmetic modernizations, the St. Francis retains much of its original time-hopping opulence.

No doubt the current bar has nothing to do with the Far Western Travelers Club where Boothby once blended drinks. The new Clock Bar has been fitted into what once was the lobby jewelry shop. If one looks closely, trim from the past can be found rimming the ceiling’s edges. But everything else is rather generically modern with a slight early 1960s flare.

Like the Fairmont bartender, the St. Francis staff hadn’t heard of Boothby or his cocktail either. But with congenial interest, they obliged my request.

Stalking about the empty second-floor halls of this old hotel, where the ballrooms are lined up like well-tended immersive museum exhibitions, I could imagine Boothby’s contemporaries in their finery—the tuxedoed men filling the air with their cigar smoke, and the bustled ladies discreetly wafting it away with their pheasant-quilled fans. San Francisco’s classic hotels make an odd leap suspended between eras. The Clock Bar transported me nowhere—maybe to an early 2000s idea of the 1960s. But the original marble pillars that now seem excessively thick, the detailed trims bridging walls to ceilings, the chandeliers that seem to be giant crystal boulders caught in mid-shatter… Who goes to the trouble of such involved craftsmanship these days? Just scroll back up and compare that snapped-together pillar, with the digital “Clock Bar” scrolling in mindless circles near its top, with those steadfast Greek arms reaching high to hold that intricate ceiling firmly and forever in place. What did a Boothby Cocktail taste like in 1909, I wonder, as compared with today?

Alas we come to Boothby’s final gig. Still hampered by Prohibition, he spent the final years of his career mixing more “soft” drinks at The Olympic Club, the hulking private club headquartered at 524 Post Street, just a few minutes walk from Union Square.

Being a private club, I could not stroll its halls freely as I had done the Palace, Fairmont, and St. Frances. But after some friendly chat with the receptionist, I asked if I could linger on a lobby display outlining the club’s history. I took my time reading the display, to normalize my unauthorized presence. With others now vying for the receptionist’s attention, I slipped off through a side hall. Almost immediately I found myself in a special room, a cozy private bar I’ll call The 1860, for the year printed on its bar’s front side:

Could it be that Boothby once spiked club member’s soft drinks at this very bar? Did he serve them to Olympic Club President, William F. Humphrey, whose portrait hangs on the bar’s wall?

Three freshly mixed cocktails on the bar prompted me to make my stolen visit quick. It occurred to me the cocktails might not be real at all, but the ghosts of cocktails past haunting their former stage. Had Boothby delivered to me a complimentary cocktail flight through the portals of time?

He retired in 1925. His final years were spent weathering cancer, which finally took him in 1930. Sixty-eight, never married, no children, a long resume of jobs, countless cocktails, two books, a stint in politics, a turn on the stage selling liver pills, helping his parents out at the age of twelve in their first enterprise on that small corner of Clay and Leidesdorff… The Honorable William “Cocktail Bill” Boothby ended where he began, in San Francisco. At the Palace Hotel at least, they’ll still know him by name when you ask after him.

Last Call

I had no idea, when I so casually purchased this little book at Bottle Bacchanal, how far it would then take me.

Now as I go about my weekly business in San Francisco’s streets, I notice the city differently. I catch more details. Taking in a space, I travel through time. In a steel and cement facade I see the 2000s butted up against the 1970s. Further on down the street I see a door to the 1990s surrounded by a brick wall from 1907, itself the phoenix of what stood in that spot before that decisive day in April 1906. Sometimes I catch sight of a pre-earthquake building, a house or a multistory place of business. Occasionally the city has marked these with a small brass plaque, noting their birth year. Others stand there anonymously, patiently, unblinking.

Then on a street sign I read the name of a ghost I’ve never met, and I imagine the countless people who have made and remade San Francisco, always panning for their gold—whatever it was. They dreamt, did, earned, stole, created, killed, built, ruined, drank, cried with grief and with laughter, and died. And now they live on in bricks, street signs, and cocktails.


Further References

Many of the references I consulted have already been linked above. Here are a few more:

A brief biographical article on Boothby by Theodora Sutcliffe, writing for Difford’s Guide For Discerning Drinkers.

An article on San Francisco’s cocktail history, by David Wondrich, published in The Daily Beast, and featuring special mention of Boothby.

Another biographical account of Boothby, by Jim Sullivan writing for the blog, Those Pre-Pro Whisky Men, including the recipe for the Boothby Cocktail. This article draws on the above two.

Short video on how to make the Boothby Cocktail, created in conjunction with the Regional Oral History Project at U.C. Berkeley, West Coast Cockatils, An Oral History:

This digitally restored and colorized video of a 1906 film tour of San Francisco’s Market Street, shot on April 14, 1906, just four days before the San Francisco earthquake and fire:

2 thoughts on “Book (and time travel portal): The World’s Drinks and How to Mix Them by William Boothby

  1. What a fascinating story! I found a copy of the 1934, 265 page revised edition of Boothby’s World Drinks in my mother’s kitchen, hidden away in a cabinet. I can only assume it belonged to my grandfather. Surprisingly, the book is in pretty great shape! The recipes are a step back to a time when the mixing took special skill and the consuming surely was a special event. Your tale here really fleshes out old “Cocktail Bill” and dives deep into the pre-big quake history of downtown San Francisco.


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