News / Jerry Thomas

Martinis and hotels – the perfect mix.


It is great fun digging into the history of the envelopes I discover, and I enjoyed finding out a bit of the history of the Occidental Hotel. Daniel Mallia of the History News Network wrote: “The history of the martini can easily be traced back to the late nineteenth century, when it was first consumed and listed in bartending manuals.  The famous example of this was the drink's appearance in the 1887 manual of bartender Jerry Thomas, of the Occidental Hotel in San Francisco.  This has led to the belief that the drink originated at the hotel bar, possibly as early as the 1860s, where it would have been consumed by travelers heading to the nearby city of Martinez. However, the city of Martinez has disputed this claim and suggests that the drink in fact originated in a prominent bar in Martinez, where it was known as a ‘Martinez Special.’”


William Grimes of the New York Times wrote: “In 1863, an English traveler named Edward Hingston walked into the Occidental Hotel in San Francisco and stepped up to the bar. There he beheld a magnificent figure wielding two mixing glasses and ‘all ablaze with diamonds.’ Hingston was looking at none other than Jerry Thomas, ‘the Jupiter Olympus of the bar,’ to lift a phrase from the bartender’s own drink book, the first ever published in the United States. In a cocktail-besotted era, Thomas was an inventor, showman and codifier who, in the book known variously as ‘The Bar-Tender’s Guide,’ ‘How to Mix Drinks’ or ‘The Bon-Vivant’s Companion,’ laid down the principles for formulating mixed drinks of all categories and established the image of the bartender as a creative professional.” Whatever the case, I love sharing dirty martinis with friends, and I enjoyed making this card. Care to have a cocktail with me?
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