Mr. Boston

First Edition Mr. Boston

First Edition Mr. Boston

Many moons ago, when I was a neophyte trying to figure out the difference between a Madras and a Cape Codder, I was given, as a Christmas present,  a little guide known as the Mr. Boston Official Bartender’s Guide. It was from my mom (yes , I have one of those) and it was revised, updated and on its 63rd edition in 1988. I still own that water damaged, (who’s kidding who: alcohol damaged)  worn edition,  filled with recipes for the Tequila Sunrise, Blue Margarita, Fuzzy Navel, Melon Ball, and the exceedingly complex Bourbon Straight Up (I’m not even making that up).

As bad as some of the drinks were in that edition, it is important to note that Mr. Boston has a much storied past, beginning with its inception in 1935. In the beginning Mr. Boston was merely a company tool to shill Mr. Boston brand spirits, but the recipes were interesting, with such libations as the Chrysanthemum (vermouth, Benedictine, absinthe) the Opera (gin, Dubonnet, maraschino) and the Bolero Cocktail (rum, applejack, vermouth). As times changed, so did the drinks, until we were left with editions that had abominations like those I first listed, causing many of us to write off Mr. Boston as a reputable source for quality recipes.

But that all started to change when our good friend Robert Hess put his hand (and voice) into the creation of their Platinum Edition two years ago. Suddenly there were good, balanced recipes to be had, and there was hope for all: the only downside of the Platinum edition was that it was a little large and cumbersome to be kept behind the average bar.

Well that has all changed. I’ve just received the latest edition of Mr. Boston’s Bartender’s Guide and while it is similar in size to my compact 1988 edition, as soon as you look at the list of contributors you realize that it is also quite different:

Dale DeGroff

David Wondrich

Gary Regan

Tony Abou Ganim

These are accompanied by a huge list of outstanding bartenders from across the globe, including, wait for it, yours truly.  And as exciting as it was for me to have recipes included in what was my very first bar book, it was even more exciting to see that that mad man Jim Meehan (bartender extraordinaire and co-editor of this edition) even created a drink named after me!

My fellow bon-vivants, I give you the:


2 oz rye whiskey
¾ oz Dubonnet
¼ oz Fernet Branca
¼ oz St. Germain Elderflower
stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass
garnish with a lemon twist.

Why the DuBoudreau? Well, it started with me giving him a recipe that was very similar to the one above, to which this mad genius added Dubonnet and changed my orange twist into a lemon. Dubonnet + Boudreau= DuBoudreau.

I have to admit (grudgingly) that I like Jim’s version better as the Dubonnet helps better integrate the powerful taste of Fernet (although I still stand by the orange twist).

You know what to do next. Click on the links and add this one to your collection!

Still to come: my trip to Prague and New york.

2009 Mr. Boston

2009 Mr. Boston

~ by Jamie Boudreau on November 22, 2008.

11 Responses to “Mr. Boston”

  1. Oh my God.

    That’s the first book that I bought, too, when I wanted to learn how to mix drinks.

    The drinks were so bad that it turned me off of cocktails for 15 years. No joke. You’re not kidding — every other recipe was 2 oz. this or that spirit, slosh in some Mr. Boston mixer, add a garnish and you’re done. Bleagh! It wasn’t until I stumbled across a recipe for a Sazerac on the internet that I started to realize the potential that cocktails had to offer.

    I’m thrilled that this moldy oldy (literally, it looks like, in your case) has gotten a complete once-over.

  2. Me too! One of the things I “liberated” from my folks when I went off to college was a 72 edition of Mr. Boston. The first drink I made was a Sloe Gin Fizz with Mr. Boston Sloe Gin. Sometimes, late at night when the world has grown still, the ghosts of that horrible brew haunt me.

  3. Oops — Forgot to add that in spite of my previous Mr. Boston experience I’m happy to see a “fixed” version on the shelvs. Kudos to all involved.

  4. How about a shout out to the Editor of these last two incarnations who rounded up Robert Hess, Jim Meehan and all the rest of the fine contributors (jeez!) — Anthony Giglio?

  5. Anthony:
    Editor, smeditor: what the hell do those guys do anyway?!?!? My experience is that their main contribution is to triple your workload to turn what was once your vision into theirs, and who the hell wants that?!?!
    All kidding aside though, Robert and Jim were mentioned because I’ve met and worked with them. One day we’ll have to go for a drink and then you’ll get your props!

  6. […] breaking down my door to collect them them). Until I do get these prints, I can rely on my trusty Mr. Boston to tell me how to make my drinks (one of the best birthday pressies […]

  7. I have a new coctail I came up with in mexico, while working in a bar in el centenario la paz baja california sur mx.
    it is called bloody damiana. 2 parts damina 4 parts jamica tea sweetened blended with crushed ice served in a margarita glass with lime garnish

  8. correction the liquer is damiana thought to be an afrodisiac

  9. I’d like to submit a drink that myself and a bartender friend of mine created to be published. How do I go about doing this?

  10. I have an idea for a new drink. It is called The Teenaged Mutant Nija Turtle.

    1 1/2 Oz Saki (Its got to have something Japanese)
    1 1/2 oz Pflugelmans Pecan Liquir or Pecan Syrup

  11. How can tell the difference between the 1st Edition published in January of 1935 and the 2nd in March? Thanks

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