Cocktail Kingdom Library
Portrait from “The Flowing Bowl”, 1891

William Schmidt

c. 1845–1905

The most famous bartender of the late 19th Century

William Schmidt, a German immigrant of possible Polish or Ukrainian extraction, practiced in Chicago and New York. In New York, he developed relationships with many newspapermen, and they made him the most famous bartender of the late 19th Century. Schmidt devised an enormous variety of drinks, and was the first bartender to become known specifically for creating originals. Moreover, some of his concoctions were unusually complex, with more ingredients than were common before, or for several decades after, foreshadowing the most elaborate drinks of today. Many of his drinks he documented in his lavish book, “The Flowing Bowl: What and When to Drink” (1891).

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