We're celebrating #TBT with a series on our favorite vintage cookbooks. Tune in every week for great cooking tips, historical oddities and a cocktail or two.
Trader Vic—aka Victor Jules Bergeron—was one of the originators of the tiki cocktail style. He claimed to have invented the Mai Tai (though so did Don the Beachcomber) and he was the mastermind behind the Trader Vic's chain, which started as a little wooden temple to rum in Oakland in 1934 and later expanded to Beverly Hills, Hawaii and midtown Manhattan. His aesthetic—potent, flamboyantly garnished rum cocktails rich with spice syrups and tropical juices, psuedo-Polynesian/Chinese food like crab rangoon and South Seas-nautical decor—was all the midcentury rage, before falling out of fashion and then being rehabbed in the last decade at spots like Chicago's Three Dots and a Dash.
Bergeron wrote several books, including Trader Vic's Book of Mexican Cooking, and one called Helluva-Man's Cookbook. (!) But today, we consider Trader Vic's Bartender's Guide, the revised edition from 1972. Perhaps the Trader Vic star was already fading at that point, and it lends the book just a little bit of a nostalgic, bitter edge.