Esquire's Handbook for Hosts | A Continuous Lean.

Esquire's Handbook for Hosts

Oct 16th, 2008 | Categories: Drinking, New York City | by Michael Williams

There seems to be a serious return to the classic cocktail underfoot. I personally can say that when I started drinking Rye Manhattans a few years ago it was a pretty remarkable shift in my perception and subsequent consumption of alcohol. I learned to appreciate the art of a rigorous ice cube and a well made drink. Recently a friend gave me the 1949 edition of the Esquire’s Handbook for Hosts. The book is a gold mine of old school drinking and party advice, everything from Stocking the Cellar to Highballs. There are literally hundreds of pages that I could have included. Some of my favorites below.

If you can’t be bothered to make a strong cocktail at home, I put together a list of New York bars that know the art of making a proper drink. The full map can be seen here.

Cocktails for the boys…

Cocktails for the girls…

High-res versions of the pages shown above can be found here.

Comments: 11

11 Comments to “Esquire's Handbook for Hosts”

  1. Ian
    on Oct 16th, 2008
    @ 12:11 PM

    I like my liqour by itself, neat but some of these, such as the Ewing and the Brown University, sound simple enough for my minimalist drinking palette.

  2. chad
    on Oct 16th, 2008
    @ 12:51 PM

    “Brainstorm” and “Horse’s Neck” sound great…and the old prose here is so appealingly sweet.


  3. james fox
    on Oct 16th, 2008
    @ 1:48 PM

    love the name Horses Neck as well. awesome. great find.

  4. Michael Williams
    on Oct 16th, 2008
    @ 1:53 PM

    By the way, the high-res scans can be seen on my flickr:

    I’ll update the post.


  5. vonwotan
    on Oct 16th, 2008
    @ 4:15 PM

    This is my favourite party book! We also have the 1949 edition and use it for most of our traditional cocktail recipes plus, it provides 365 reasons/excuses for a party in any given year.

  6. joanna goddard
    on Oct 16th, 2008
    @ 11:07 PM

    wow. i want to be a man when i read this.

  7. Brouhaha on Broadway, and ‘Bush’ Too - City Room Blog -
    on Oct 17th, 2008
    @ 11:53 AM

    [...] A 1949 edition of Esquire’s Handbook for Hosts gives tips on how to stock the cellar and what to serve the ladies. Also, a map of bars that serve a proper Manhattan. [A Continuous Lean] [...]

  8. Ryan
    on Oct 17th, 2008
    @ 12:39 PM

    This is great – ordering my copy today, hoping to glean old-fashioned ways to drink (like, I suppose, drinking Old-Fashioned’s) next week.

  9. Dr. Bamboo
    on Oct 17th, 2008
    @ 2:05 PM

    I also have the ’49 edition, and it’s a real treasure…a wonderful glimpse into entertaining in days past.

  10. sam
    on Oct 18th, 2008
    @ 11:39 AM

    Baker’s guide is good as well, the second is for drinks, the first for food.'s%20companion

  11. lucy
    on Oct 19th, 2008
    @ 3:35 PM

    I love the images in this book. Also good is the Esquire Party Book, which I think is from ’65.