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The Neat History of Mr. Boston’s Little Red Book

To call Mr. Boston’s Official Bartender’s Guide simply a condensed encyclopedia of cocktails it to misunderstand its singular contribution to cocktail culture.

When Irwin “Red” Benjamin and Hyman C. Berkowitz founded the Old Mr. Boston Distillery, they quickly became renowned for selling high-quality cordials and collectable bottles, but arguably their greatest concoction was what was then called The Old Mr. Boston Deluxe Official Bartender’s Guide.

Published in the early days after the repeal of Prohibition, the tidy red-covered book became the must-have “Cocktail Bible” for bartenders everywhere and the cocktail adventurer in all of us.

The novelty of Mr. Boston’s Official Bartender’s Guide was pooling the expertise of four crusty Boston bartenders for an amalgam of authority on ingredients, spirits, and the proper service of cocktails ensuring each and every recipe was actually bartender-tested, making it an actual “Official” bartender’s guide.

85 years strong, Mr. Boston Official Bartender’s Guide still resides on bars all over the world, offering cocktail recipes, party planning tips, and historical tidbits.

Mr. Boston Official Bartender’s Guide enters the digital age, with more than 10,500 recipes meticulously sourced from 1935 -2012 editions, each representing the evolution of the cocktail and underscoring the legacy of Mr. Boston’s little red book as an indispensable index and preserves the traditions and recipes that forever define cocktail culture.

Understand cocktail creation as inspired by the iconic Mr. Boston Bar Guide with our Cocktail Basics tasting.


Here’s to classic cocktails — and those destined to be.

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