Advice from a Mustachioed Man: William Thomas Boothby

California assemblyman, author, and renowned San Francisco barkeep William Thomas Boothby (1862-1930) offers up “nearly four hundred standard recipes for the mixing of absinthes, cocktails, coolers, cobblers, crustas, fixes, flips, fizzes, hot drinks, lemonades, punches, sangarees, shakes, toddies, etc.” in the republished 1891 edition of Cocktail Boothby's American Bartender. At the time of its original publication, it was billed as “the only practical treatise on the art of mixology published.” Sure enough, in addition to recipes, the volume also includes some “much valuable information relating to the retail liquor business.”

Boothby didn’t have a mustache his whole life, but when he sported one, it was something to behold. And, as his ten commandments for good bartending (excerpted below from the Anchor Distilling Edition) demonstrate, he was no slouch in the grooming department (see commandments 2 and 7).

Boothby’s Ten Commandments

I. Always be on time to relieve the other watch. It is a good plan to make a practice of arriving a few minutes early so as to arrange your toilet and step to your station on time.

II. See that your finger nails are always clean and that your person presents a tidy appearance.

III. Always appear pleasant and obliging under all circumstances.

IV. Avoid conversations of a religious or political nature.

V. When going off watch always dry and polish all the glassware and tools which you have used on your watch, and see that everything is in its proper place, so that your relief can work to advantage as soon as he arrives at his post.

VI. Sell all the liquor you can, but use as little as possible yourself.

VII. If you are troubled with sore feet, bathe them regularly. Avoid patched or ragged hosiery, and wear a comfortable shoe with a heavy sole. Light soles, low-cut shoes or slippers should never be worn behind a bar.

VIII. Keep the floor behind the bar as dry as possible. It not only looks better, but you will find your health greatly improved by following this rule. Many bartenders contract rheumatism, neuralgia and many other serious complaints through carelessness in this respect.

IX. After using a bottle or tool always replace it before doing anything else. Make this a rule that should never be broken; and, when you are rushed with business, you will never be compelled to hunt for this or that, but you will always know just where it is.

X. After a party has finished drinking, remove the glassware from the bar as soon as possible, and dray and polish the bar top immediately, never allowing a particle of moisture to remain. This is a very important rule.

Check out the rest of Birchbox Man’s historical advice columns here.

comments powered by Disqus
Get a monthly box of five personalized beauty samples.
Get a monthly box of personalized grooming samples, plus a stylish accessory.