Food & Drink

Lost and Found

A Tome of Illicit Prohibition-Era Drinks

By UrbanDaddy Staff ·
For a period when no one could drink, people sure drank a lot during Prohibition.

You’ve got to respect their resolve. And the entrepreneurs who made it all possible. Like Dr. Victor Lyon, a German-born New Yorker who penned a secret notebook of formulas and recipes, thereby doing his part to keep America drinking. His notes included instructions for adding extracts, essences and oils to moonshine, so bootleggers could simulate the taste of gin, whiskey, cordials, rum and other spirits that were otherwise difficult to procure. Yes, the good doctor was doing important work.

And now, after uncovering that once-lost tome, author Matthew Rowley has gone the philanthropic route and shared it with the world, giving us Lost Recipes of Prohibition. Inside you’ll find dozens of annotated pages from the original notebook, plus more than 100 forgotten formulas for cordials, bitters, spirits and cocktails, alongside a collection of historic and modern drinks from some of today’s best barkeeps. It’s enough to keep you busy for a while.

So if you want some insight into 1920s-era bootlegging, this has that. If you need a scholarly gift idea for a thirsty friend, here you go. Or if you’d rather try your hand at recreating an illicit recipe culled from an old distilling manual or medical text, well, we don’t see how that could possibly go wrong.

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