I thought this looked quite interesting: it's a reprint of "Cocktails by Jimmy, late of Ciro's London", originally published in 1930. There's someone selling paperback reprints of vintage cocktail books on amazon. They're not very expensive, but I gather from a friend who ordered one recenty that they're really nothing more than scans or photocopies of the original book. Still, if you're interested in the history and origin of cocktails, the information contained within may well be of some use, and I see that there's a dealer on abebooks.co.uk currently offering the 1930 edition for well over a thousand pounds.
Ciro's was a fashionable London nightclub, founded in 1915 (despite the War) and located in Orange Street, just off Haymarket. According to Pathé news: Ciro's was "the famous London rendezvous of Smart Society." It even boasted it's own all-black dance band, possibly the first one in this country. Ciro's bartender, Harry McElhone, left to start up Harry's Bar in Paris ("roo sank der noo"), handing over his cocktail shaker to Jimmy, who I'm sure did an admirable job. Incidentally, there was another Ciro's- in Los Angeles- but the only thing it shared in common was the name.
The Pegu Club, 1910
According to the reprint's editor, Ross Bolton, this is one of the few cocktail books of the period to share the secret of the Pegu Club Cocktail, the signature drink of the Pegu Club, Rangoon, set up in the 1880's as a watering hole for British army officers.
There are all sorts of different opinions on how to mix a Pegu Club Cocktail, but I found this recipe on The Gin is In blog, and thought it looked good: 3oz gin (our old friend Plymouth would be ideal), 1oz Cointreau, .75oz fresh lime juice, two dashes of aromatic bitters, two dashes of orange bitters. Serve cold.
While you're mixing the drink, and to get you in the mood, here's a recording of the "Ciro's Club Coon Orchestra" in action:
If you like all this historic jazz age cocktail stuff, for my next post I might well cover the mysterious slaying of one time antiques dealer and Hollywood silent film director, William Desmond Taylor. He shared an Orange Blossom cocktail with the silent comedienne Mabel Normand a few hours before his death. The case remains unsolved. But that's for my next post. After all, tomorrow is another day.