Cocktail Kingdom Library (home)
The City Hotel, at 123 Broadway, was the first functioning hotel in the United States

Orasmus Willard


Popularized American iced drinks to an influential audience and shaped standards of bar service

As the bartender for most of the years 1817-1848 at the high profile City Hotel in New York, “Willard of the City Hotel”, “Napoleon of bar keeps”, was the most famous American bartender in the formative period. His career coincided perfectly with the nascent American pond ice industry, which made ice plentiful year-round. Willard achieved world fame for the drinks he served and how he served them—helping popularize the mint julep and other iced drinks both in the North, and with European visitors. Willard’s personalized service (aided by his photographic memory) helped to shape expectations for what a bartender should be.

Back to Major Figures of Cocktail History