The Wisdom of Charles H. Baker Jr.

I’ve been re-reading Charles H. Baker Jr.’s South American Gentleman’s Companion recently.  I ran across the following choice passage this morning on the way to work and found it amusing.  Apologies to the more sensitive souls, for the nominally curmudgeonly and misogynistic content.


Bebida in Spanish means “Drink,” and piojosa means “lousy”; and the 2 of them together means a disappointed guest anywhere, besides a demerit in the mixer’s reputation.  The 1st and great commandment in building mixed-drinks is that of not being lazy.  Results are sad for the poor chap who has to drink his brews; but sadder still is the realization deep down in our poor mixer’s heart-of-hearts that he has betrayed his callings, his finer mixing art, through refusal to do the right and proper things–yet still does nothing about them.

Summing this whole business up may we say that just as there is no such thing as a 1/2-good girl there no such animal as a 1/2-good drink.  A mixed drink is either made correctly out of correct stuff: good; or it’s La Bebida Piojosa.  Even a homely gal can, with cunningly-employed paint, powder, patches, rouge-pots, whale-bone and falsies, fool part of the people part of the time; but a poorly-built drink betrays itself with the first sip.  The only person our lazy drink-mixer is fooling is himself; he is a traitor to his art and there is no health in him.  Amen.

Suffice it to say, in these modern times I don’t believe that “Amateurs” are the only “lazy drink-mixers” in the world…

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