Cocktail Kingdom Library (home)
From the collection of Jeff “Beachbum” Berry

Joe Scialom


One of the most famous 20th Century bartenders and mixologists

Joe Scialom was born in Mansura, Egypt, and studied chemistry in France in order to take over the family pharmacy business. Once he did, he didn’t care for the work, and left the pharmacy to become a bartender. With little experience, Scialom lucked into work at the Shepheard’s Hotel bar, in Cairo, just as World War 2 got under way. The bar wound up at the epicenter of the North African campaign, and “Joe” proved more than up to the task. At Shepheard’s, Scialom was surrounded by press corps, military brass, politicians and royalty, and soon Scialom was famous, helped along by a little drink of his called the Suffering Bastard. Scialom thrived in Cairo until the Suez Crisis in 1956. Expelled from Egypt, Scialom accepted an offer from Conrad Hilton, moved to Puerto Rico, and took over as bar manager at the Caribe Hilton. There, he thoroughly embraced Caribbean rum and fruit, and spent most of the rest of his career in a variety of roles for the Hiltons, creating many dozens of media-ready drinks for their hotels, and training staff.

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