Cocktail aficionados owe a lot to Jerry Thomas, aka The Professor, a showman of a bartender who wrote the first definitive handbook on mixing drinks, “The Bar-Tender’s Guide,” in 1862. (It’s also called “The Bon-Vivant’s Companion,” a much lovelier title.)
But Thomas is probably most famous for the Blue Blazer, which involves lighting whiskey on fire and then passing it back and forth in metal mixing glasses. Looks like he’s mixing a blue blazer in the illustration at right.
Thomas had a saloon in the 1850s downtown; he soon left New York to work in hotel bars across the U.S. before returning to work at the Metropolitan Hotel, on Broadway and Prince Street.
In 1866 he opened his own place on Broadway between 21st and 22nd Streets (where Restoration Hardware is today). He updated his bartender’s guide several times before dying in 1885, after which The New York Times described him as “at one time better known to club men and men about town than any other bartender in this city.”
Tags: Blue Blazer, famous bartenders, Jerry Thomas, master mixologist, Metropolitan Hotel, The Bar-Tender's Guide, The Bon-Vivant's Companion, The Professor Jerry Thomas, Tom and Jerry cocktail, Tom Collins