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Portrait from “Nothing Lasts Forever”, 1953

Oscar Haimo


Relentlessly documented the shifting tastes in post-Prohibition cocktails, and founded one of the first post-Prohibition professional organizations

Oscar Haimo’s beginnings are murky, but he somehow traveled extensively and learned several languages before entering the historical record. In the 1930s, Haimo apprenticed under Frank Meier at the Ritz Hotel, at some point serving as maitre d’, before a circuitous path landed him in New York. There, he became head bartender at the Pierre Hotel in New York City where he settled in. During the war years, Haimo created the General MacArthur Cocktail, which enjoyed great popularity. In 1945 Haimo founded the International Bar Managers’ Association, anticipating the USBG and IBA, and thereafter began to focus more on training and advocacy than on bartending. Haimo tirelessly revised and published his unique “Cocktail and Wine Digest” every year from 1943 until 1978. These slim recipe books were intended as practical references for bartenders, and were kept up-to-date with the drinks Haimo thought were relevant. Haimo also wrote an autobiography, “Nothing Lasts Forever”, in 1953—perhaps a first for a bartender. Haimo is buried in West Babylon, New York at the New Montefiore Cemetery.

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