Volume(s) 6: The Golden Age

When first-timers take a seat at West Main, they get the same introduction: “we are a nineteenth century-inspired craft cocktail bar; we make all our ingredients in-house so as to provide the most authentic drinking experience possible,” with “authenticity” being the operative word. The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries are the OG Golden Age of cocktails, decades of creativity and celebrity unparelleled until our current cocktail renaissance.

Hoffman House bar, c1900, courtesy Museum of the City of New York.

Giants of the trade“Professor” Herry Thomas, Harry Johnson, George Kappeler, and The Only Williamruled as subject-matter experts from behind the stick. Hand-carved ice featured in every trendy bar, and to be a professional bartender an aspirant needed to learn the foundational Cocktails, such as the Manhattan, the Martini, the Daiquiri, and the Old-Fashioned. Not only did these more famous cocktail icons come from this era, but so too did a sprited host of less famous but fascinating cocktails eager to be unearthed.

from Harry Johnson's "Bartender's Manual," 1888.

The two iterations of this menu (the first for warm weather, the second for cool weather) pay hard core homage to our original inspiration, the bright, glittering Golden Age, the era of diamond-tipped stirring spoons, Champagne, the Sporting Fraternity, vermouth, absinthe, and the glamorous, grand mahogany hotel bars of the gilded past. In the pages of Volume 6, we hope you’ll be charmed by house versions of cocktails we consider to be “deep cuts” of this Golden Era, as well as finely tuned variations on certain icons.

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