Two Parts Gin, One Part Sin

Going back to the Golden Age of cocktails


The first Gilded Age was a time of rampant corruption, the big business crooks of Tammany Hall, and lavish displays of wealth rivaled by abject poverty. It was also the period when America’s elite mastered the art of crafting the perfect cocktail. Though there were a few missteps along the way—including the Black Velvet, which included equal parts champagne and, disturbingly, porter—the era birthed the classic cocktails that we drink to this day. But what parties, what people, were around for the debut of the Manhattan? Or the martini, the daiquiri, the pisco sour? Cecelia Tichi, professor of American literature and culture at Vanderbilt University, tells all in her new book, The Gilded Age of Cocktails.

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Stephanie Bastek is the senior editor of the Scholar and the producer/host of the Smarty Pants podcast.


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