Sunday, October 17, 2010
The Work of Stan Jones, 1970s Bar Master
Where there any mixologists of note during the 1970s? Bartenders worth remembering, or revering, during that darkest of dark decades in cocktail history? I thought not. Until I picked up the new fall menu at Clover Club and noticed a section of drinks entitled "The Work of Stan Jones." Who?
Stan Jones was a bartender out in California in the 1970s who, despite the relative lack of interest in the cocktail art back then, managed to get a big tome called "Jones' Complete Bar Guide" published in 1977. The bartender at Clover produced a dog-eared copy of the doorstop. Its a huge thing, the size of an atlas, with a bright orange dustjacket. Stan's there on the back in a big, black and white photo, with permed hair, moustache, glasses, and a hundred-mile stare, looking like a zombie as he pours a drink.
The book is intense. There are in-depth chapters on every spirit, and about 4,000 drink recipes, both ancient and the kind of libations that only saw popularity in the days is Disco. Jones was obviously very serious about his craft, though I did notice that his ideas about some of the classics were a little skewed.
Clover Club is featuring three of Jones' original. One, called the Great Secret, is basically a spin on a Vesper. I ordered the more interesting-sounding Snoopy—one, because of the oh-so-'70s names; two, because of the intriguing array of ingredients: Bourbon, Orange Liqueur, Galliano, Campari, and lemon juice. The drink's not bad. It's on the sweet side and on the red side, with not a whole lot of depth. But the Bourbon and the Campari give it enough of an edge, and its very easy going down. Very of its time, I should think, but not undignified.