Mr. Boston Official Bartender’s Guide Joins the Digital Era - The Whiskey Wash

Mr. Boston Official Bartender’s Guide Joins the Digital Era

Come – let us take a moment and journey back in time to an era when websites like The Whiskey Wash didn’t yet exist. There were no smartphones, and no laptops. No way at all for bartenders to look up recipes for classic cocktails in a digital format. Instead, they used something called a book if they needed that kind of information. One of the most highly used of these print relics was the Mr. Boston Official Bartender’s Guide. It is now going digital itself, emerging as a slick website from corporate owner Sazerac.

For those unfamiliar with the Mr. Boston Official Bartender’s Guide, it first came to print in 1935. In the 80 years that followed, each new edition brought bartenders tons of cocktail recipes, drinks information, and wisdom. It has been printed more than 11 million times, and continues to this day to sit in many bars around the world. With the website unveiled, it will now be in the pockets of many bartenders as well.

Mr. Boston

image via Mr. Boston website screen grab

Sazerac, which bought the Mr. Boston brand back in 2009, apparently began the task of digitizing the information inside that famous red book some time ago. To this end, the company started rounding up as many editions they could find, which was, at last count, 58 out of the 75 guides published. From there, every single piece of data was entered into a custom-built database, ending up with 210,780 points of data and 10,539 recipes thus far.

Visitors to the Mr. Boston site, according to Sazerac, can “look for a specific cocktail, or explore areas such as bar basics, history, spirits, and a shop. One can search for drinks by specific ingredients (example: bourbon, vodka, etc.) or even specific color (example: if you want to have a green party). There are instructional articles and videos on the site such as “view types of garnishes” and “learn to make your own grenadine.”

“The Mr. Boston books have covered the evolution of the cocktail in America since Prohibition, but sadly, they were let go over the years,” said Mark Brown, president and chief executive officer, the Sazerac Company, in a prepared statement. “The ties between our company and that brand are inextricably linked, with not only the Sazerac Cocktail, but our heritage in New Orleans, a city long synonymous with the cocktail culture.  It was a natural fit to bring it all together where we are ensuring the future of the brand for at least another 80 years as the ‘go to’ site for professional and amateur mixologists.”

Future plans for the site include a lot more original content and the eventual inclusion of information from the remaining 17 guides not yet acquired. Sazerac also plans to take the Mr. Boston brand in some new directions, including “establishing a physical Mr. Boston Homeplace at a location yet to be determined, as well as developing bartender recognition awards and working with bartender training schools.”

About the author

Nino Marchetti

Nino Marchetti is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Whiskey Wash, an award winning whiskey lifestyle website dedicated to informing and entertaining consumers about whisk(e)y on a global level. As a whisk(e)y journalist, expert and judge he has written about the subject extensively, been interviewed in various media outlets and provided tasting input on many whiskeys at competitions. He also maintains a large private collection of whiskey from which he continually educates his palate on this brown spirit type.