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BY MICHAEL L. JONES
Greg Boehm owns the world’s largest collection of cocktail books — 3,800 and counting. The books are part of the research library for Boehm’s company, Cocktail Kingdom, which manufactures professional barware and reprints vintage bar literature. Several years ago, a woman contacted Boehm looking to sell a cocktail book he didn’t own — a first edition of “The Ideal Bartender,” by Thomas Bullock. The 1917 book was part of an estate sale, and Boehm jumped at the opportunity to acquire a rare artifact of cocktail history: Bullock was the first African-American to publish a cocktail book, and his was one of the last drink collections released before the United States banned alcohol sales during Prohibition (1920 to 1933).
“In the cocktail bar industry, unfortunately, the African-American community is not very well represented at all. It is just not a diverse group, so anything that lends diversity to bartending is a good thing,” Boehm explained. “In addition, ‘The Ideal Bartender’ is a little snapshot of what people were drinking pre-Prohibition, and, unlike a lot of cocktail books, none of these recipes were cribbed from anyone else. This is a completely unique cocktail book.” Click Here To Read More!