JF Ptak Science Books, tireless unearthers of the antique and celebrators of the curious, have done a bang-up job with their latest post: alphabetic excerpts from an antique bible of booze names. The book, a collection of some 7,500 names of various spirits trademarked between 1881 and 1939, is chockablock with fun old stuff. Bone Factor? Faust’s Own Whiskey? Here is pizazz and weirdness to spare.
Five of the best, in no particular order:
Judge’s Preference: “I’m a judge. It’s my job to settle matters of law as impartially and expediently as possible, while respecting all the rights of the various parties involved. But when work is done and it’s time to get hammered—sorry, ‘gaveled,’ couldn’t resist—I reach for Judge’s Preference. Because it is my preference.”
Suburban Whiskey: Is this possibly somehow anti-retro-cool? Where do the suburbs stand right now as an indicator of chic, and where did they stand in 1909-era Boston?
You’re Lookin Good Whiskey: Possibly the only whiskey name to sound either sarcastic or sadly resigned.
Devil’s Island Benefactor Gin: Sounds evil, but then you realize it’s not named for the devil’s benefactor—it’s just some guy who is the benefactor of an island named for the devil, which could be a perfectly nice place, although it probably isn’t, unless it’s a clever “Iceland/Greenland”-style naming trick.
Chickencock “potable spirits”: Who would drink this? In any era?
I’d add Teacher’s Highland Cream (pictured above) to the list because it’s funny. And teachers need whiskey too.
For the discerning collector of historical booze curios, the whole (quite rare) book (full title: Registered Beverage Trade Marks Covering the Period from 1881 to 1939 Compiled from the Records in the United States Patent Office (Distilled Alcoholic Liquors)) is available for $450.