A debt of gratitude is owed to the bartenders who have created the fabulous cocktail recipes we now enjoy. This is PartyCocktails.com's guide to these cocktail luminaries, replete with short biographies and links to further reading. Please contact us if you have any corrections or additions.
1895 - 1987
Charles H. Baker Jr. travelled the world extensively while recording his culinary and cocktailarian experiences. Renowned perhaps more for his colourful writing than the quality of his recipes, a number of his cocktails have never the less been brought back to life at the hands of modern mixologists. Baker wrote extensively for Esquire, Gourmet and Town and Country as well as completing two volumes of the "Gentleman's Companion" (now re-printed as Jigger, Beaker and Glass: Drinking Around the World). His cocktail creations include the Rosy Dawn Cocktail.
1907 - 1989
Donn Beach, born Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt and also known as Don the Beachcomber (after his chain of restaurants), is widely acknowledged as the creator of the Tiki style of eating and drinking which became a craze in the US in the 1940s and 1950s. As well as leaving a fabulous Tiki legacy that continues to this day, he also created a whole host of exotic cocktails including the much adored (and feared: maximum 2 per customer) Zombie. The LA Times has a comprehensive Don Beach obituary.
Jeff Berry, better known as Beachbum Berry, is the modern day's foremost expert in tiki cocktails. He's published a whole series of meticulously researched books which reproduce the history, recipes and cocktail lore of tiki yesteryear.
Born in the Isle of Wight, UK, Dick Bradsell moved to London at the age of 17 and quickly became a driving force behind the cocktail revival at the end of the last century. Bradsell has been involved in the launch of countless London bars and has had an incalcuable influence on the cocktail world via the the training of many other bartenders. His cocktail creations include the contemporary classics, the Bramble and the Russian Spring Punch.
Salvatore "The Maestro" Calabrese is a leading bartender and President of the United Kingdom Bartenders Guild. He has written several books on cocktails including his stylish and informative Classic Cocktails. Calabrese is responsible for creating a number of cocktail recipes but is perhaps best known for the refined and moreish Breakfast Martini.
Paul Clarke is a Seattle based writer, journalist and blogger on drinks, drinking and cocktails. He is a contributing editor at Imbibe and blogs at Cocktail Chronicles. Clarke is the founder of the ever popular Mixology Monday.
Ada Coleman was Harry Craddock's predecessor at the American Bar at the Savoy at the turn of the 20th century. She mixed drinks for the likes of Mark Twain and Sir Charles Hawtrey, for whom she created the Hanky Panky Cocktail.
Harry Craddock is a legendary figure in the cocktail world. Born in the States, he came to London when Prohibition was introduced and tended bar at the Savoy. His Savoy Cocktail Book is still in print to this day. For a modern perspective on these classic drinks, see Erik Ellestad's eGullet thread, "Stomping through the Savoy".
Nicknamed "King of Cocktails", DeGroff famously tended the bar at the Rainbow Rooms for many years where he developed his trade and a number of fabulous cocktail recipes. He is the President of the American Museum of the Cocktail and author of The Craft of the Cocktail and The Essential Cocktail. DeGroff is famed for re-inventing, and often taming, classic cocktails that no longer suit contemporary palettes. He is responsible in no small part for the modern resurgence in quality cocktails via a return to natural and freshly sourced ingredients.
Simon Difford is founder and Editor of the recently re-launched Class Magazine and author of the award winning Diffords Guide that is widely recognised as the bartender's bible. Difford's latest project is a guide to the cocktail bars of the UK, with a focus on his favourite cocktail: the Daiquiri. Difford is a prolific mixologist and has many cocktail recipes to his name including the award winning Cox's Daiquiri.
1886 - 1960
David Embury was a celebrated barman and author of the seminal cocktail tome, The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks. He developed a system for categorising cocktails that Ted Haigh and Martin Doudoroff automated with the online drinks generator, the Mixilator.
J. "Popo" Galsini worked as a bartender in Orange County throughout the Tiki craze of the 50s and 60s, tending bar at both the Outrigger and the Kona Kai in Huntingdon Beach. Galsini won the IBA World Cocktail Championship in 1967 with his most famous creation, the Saturn.
Ted Haigh, aka Doctor Cocktail, is a classic cocktail enthusiast and author of the fascinating and increasingly influential Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails. Haigh (along with Martin Doudoroff) created the excellent CocktailDB site.
Robert "Drinkboy" Hess is a cocktail expert active in many areas of the modern cocktail world. Hess makes regular contributions to the Small Screen Network, where his video guides to cocktail mixing include some of the best on the internet. He's the driving force behind the Chanticleer Society and related cocktail forums, which are frequented by a number of the experts on this page. As well as writing extensively on Drinkboy, Hess has also published The Essential Bartender's Guide and contributed a foreword to a reprint of David Embury's The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks.
Harry Johnson is known for producing one of the first detailed how-to guides to mixing cocktails and running a bar. Although beaten to print by friendly rival Jerry Thomas, Johnson's seminal "Bartender's Manual of How to Mix Drinks" remains a widely respected guide for those in the same trade 130+ years later. David Wondrich, suggests in "Imbibe" that Johnson may have had a minimal impact on the cocktail world of the late 19th century, but his impact on modern mixology is undisputed. His 1888 revision "New and Improved Bartender's Manual of How to Mix Drinks" has been reprinted over a century later.
1890 - 1958
Harry McElhone (sometimes known as Harry MacElhone) was a Scottish, prohibition era bartender who was was famed for working in and then running Harry's New York Bar in Paris. Harry's was the birthplace of a number of famous cocktails, and Harry himself created drinks such as the White Lady. His cocktail experience was captured in a number of his own books, including "Harry's ABC of Mixing Cocktails" and "Harry McElhone's Barflies and Cocktails". McElhone worked in a number of cocktail bars around the world, including the Plaza in Manhattan and Ciro's in London.
Sasha Petraske shook up the New York bar scene with the launch of the famed Milk and Honey, and quickly became a driving force behind the craft cocktail revolution of the last two decades. Petraske went on to open an array of bars including Little Branch, White Star and Dutch Kills.
Gaz Regan, (formerly Gary Regan), has been writing about spirits and cocktails since 1990. He has authored a host of books on cocktails and spirits including The Joy of Mixology and the bartender's GIN compendium, and he and Mardee Haidin Regan have co-authored books such as The Book of Bourbon, and New Classic Cocktails. Regan also writes a bi-weekly cocktail column in the San Francisco Chronicle and his work has been featured in an array of other magazines and newspapers around the world. Not content with paper publications, the Regans also run cocktail website, Ardent Spirits, which hosts The Worldwide Bartender Database, and their eLetter, Ardent Spirits.
? - 1953
Constantine Ribalaigua Vert (or Constante to his friends) was the most famous of last century's master Cuban bartenders, plying his trade at the "Cradle of the Daiquiri", the Floridita Bar. Constantine arrived at the bar in 1914, and played a critical role in the evolution of the Daiquiri and it's many variations. He famously served super-sized Daiquiris (or Papa Dobles) to Ernest Hemingway.
Matt "Rum Dood" Robold blogs about Rum and Rum based cocktails at Rum Dood. Robold sits on the RumXP: The International Rum Expert Panel and the Board of the The Cocktail & Spirits Online Writers Group.
Rick "Kaiser Penguin" Stutz is a prolific cocktail blogger, renowned for his amazing cocktail garnishing skills. Stutz has embarked on a blogged cocktail journey, covering every drink from Jeff Berry's Beachbum Berry Remixed.
1830 - 1885
Jerry "The Professor" Thomas was a colourful pre-prohibition bartender, widely credited with creating the showmanship associated with the modern barkeep (recreated here by Dale DeGroff). Showmanship was not his only legacy however, and his How to Mix Drinks or The Bon-Vivant's Companion was instrumental in the development of the mixed drink, as described by David Wondrich in the New York Times.
1902 - 1984
Trader Vic, or Victor J Bergeron, built on the Tiki concept created by Donn Beach and developed a chain of bar restaurants across the world. He devised many cocktails, but is best known for creating the most famous Tiki drink of them all: the Mai Tai. Bergeron created this classic cocktail following a visit to Cuba and the famous Floridita Bar. Today, the Trader Vic empire is run by Bergeron's grandson, Peter Seely.
Wondrich can perhaps claim to be one of the sharpest writers on cocktail lore, combining an acid wit and irreverant style with a passion for painstaking research into cocktail history. His books include the renowned Imbibe, and Esquire Drinks which documents his role as cocktail ambassador for Esquire magazine.