1875 The Pisco Sour and the Tom Collins and 1855 The Americano

Two people drinking
Mines a pisco sour

1875 The Pisco Sour and the Tom Collins

Continuing my 800 years of the history of booze. I take a look at 1875 and 1855. The 19th Century was a great time for cocktails and it is hard to pick two favourites from that time.

The Pisco Sour

The Pisco Sour was invented in 1872 by an Englishman called Elliot Stubb and not Victor Vaughen Morris an American bar tender. And it’s comments like that could easily start a war between Peru and Chile as both lay claim to this cocktail. The Peruvians claim that in 1920 in Vaughen bar a cocktail called the Pisco sour was first mixed. Almost fifty years earlier a steward was working aboard a ship named Sunrise and in the port of lquique in Chile (then Peru) he first mixed the drink as variation of the Whisky sour. We may never know who did really invent the cocktail, but we are certainly left with a decent drink.

2 parts pisco
1 part lime juice
1 part sugar syrup
1 egg white
3 drops of Angostura bitters

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice cubes, pour over the pisco, lime juice, sugar syrup and egg white. Shake vigorously and strain into a rocks glass. Finish with three drops of Angostura bitters.

If you prefer a sweeter of more sour drink adjust the sugar syrup or lime juice accordingly.

Tom Collins

When we were at School Jamie Ellis invented a person, Jim Ellis. Quite see through really, yet Jim became more well known that Jamie. A group of us started adding him to registers, talking about him in loud voices and asking people if they have seen Jim Ellis the new kid. We’d make up rumours about him and exclaim how much of a good laugh he was when we were out. After a while we got bored and killed him off. Yet, half the School were talking about him.

Little did we know that 110 years previous in New York a similar thing had happened. In 1874 the Tom Collins Hoax entertained New Yorkers. They would tell people that Tom Collins was talking about them and newspapers even printed stories about this made up slanderer. Subsequently, the name was held in the public conciousness and of course it didn’t take long before it was attributed to a drink.

The recipe was first published in The Bartenders guide by Jerry Thomas. A book that has been republished.

Jerry Thomas’ Tom Collins Gin (1876)
(Use large bar-glass.)
Take 5 or 6 dashes of gum syrup.
Juice of a small lemon.
1 large wine-glass of gin.
2 or 3 lumps of ice;
Shake up well and strain into a large bar-glass. Fill up the glass with plain soda water and drink while it is lively

1855-1860 Miller Brewery Founded & Campari invented and wine became poncey

I couldn’t mentioning 1855 without mentioning Miller. It was in 1855 that German immigrant Frederick Miller brewed his first beer in the States. With just $3000 (or $80,000 in today’s money) given to him annually he made beer that apparently won over the German population. Something Miller lite is unlikely to do now.

Campari And the Americano Cocktail

Luckily, the world wouldn’t have to wait long for something better to come along and five years later Campari was born along with the Americano cocktail.

Campari was invented in the cellar of Garspare Campari Milan bar. He used to spend days locked away mixing ingredients together to come up with the perfect mix. Imagine the Aladdin’s cave full of herbs and spices all macerating in neutral alcohol all being mixed by this exuberant Italian. No one really knows what is in it but at a guess, angelica, fennel, orris root, wormwood, cloves, thyme, rosemary, sage, marjoram, anise and of course Bitter Saville Orange Peel all seem evident.

The Americano was first named the Milano-Torino as Campari was from Milan and the sweet vermouth from Turin. American tourists flocked to Garsapre’s bar during prohibition and they lapped up the Milano-Torino. It soon became known as the Americano.

The Americano – Ingredients

1 part Campari
1 Part Italian Sweet vermouth

Pour both ingredients over ice in an old fashioned glass (tumbler) and top up with soda water. Garnish with half an orange slice.


Whilst America was sipping crappy beer and waiting for a cocktail to be named after them France was busy getting its wine in order. The then Emperor Napoleon 3rd, requested a classification system for France’s finest Bordeaux wines. The wines became ranked according to their Chateau’s quality, reputation and price.

The best wine became the Premier Cru and these included (and still include) Château Lafite-Rothschild and Château Latour. Deuxièmes Crus Classés, Which include Château Rauzan-Gassies, Léoville-Poyferré, Château Lascombes and Château Gruaud-Larose. Troisièmes Crus Classés Château Giscours, d’Issan, Langoa-Barton, Château Desmirail, and Château Ferrière. Quatrièmes Crus Classés which include such delights as Château Branaire, Château Pouget, Cantenac-Margaux
and Château Marquis-de-Terme. At the bottom of the pile are Cinquièmes Crus Classés
including Château Haut-Batailley, Château Dauzac, and Château Cos Labory.

The classification was meant as a snapshot, showing off to the world how great wine was in France. It was really just good PR. Yet, it remains sacrosanct today. Obviously, it worked a little too well.