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The Bizzy Izzy and the Art of the American Cocktail

A cocktail highball against a retro navy & brown striped backdrop with the words Bizzy Izzy Highball in large font across it

This cocktail has a fascinating backstory. The recipe is found in The Ideal Bartender of 1917, written by Tom Bullock, the first Black American to write and publish a cocktail book. The book features original recipes created by Mr. Bullock himself, a bartender well-known in elite circles for both his exceptional drinks and excellent hospitality.

Bullock's fame spread even wider when in 1913 the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote of him, "there is no greater mixologist," in casting aspersions on former President Teddy Roosevelt's alleged immoderation with the drink. The paper asserted that it was near humanely impossible to have just a few sips of one of Bullock's famously delicious cocktails -- which is what the former President claimed he'd done. The newspaper lost out in the libel suit that Roosevelt brought against them for besmirching his good, sober name, but in the process Bullock's reputation and reknown as the world's foremost bartender were cemented.  

And the rest would have been lost to history, except that a few rare copies of The Ideal Bartender of 1917 have resurfaced in recent years, revealing all the ways Tom Bullock's early genius laid the groundwork for all that was to come in the world of American libations and the modern cocktail renaissance.

On the first day of Black History Month, we're raising a glass to this icon of American greatness. Mix along at home with us and enjoy this taste of history.


1 oz Riverset Rye Whiskey
1 oz Lustau Dry Amontillado Los Arcos 
1 oz pineapple juice
.75 oz lemon juice
.75 oz simple syrup
dash of Angostura bitters
soda water (optional)
nutmeg, optional


Add all ingredients except soda water to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake. Strain into a tall glass filled with ice.  Garnish with a nutmeg grating, if desired.

Comments on this post (1)

  • Feb 23, 2023

    I’ll have to say this is quite good and one of the few “sherry” drinks I’d actually go back for seconds! Very fruity. I’d say pretty tiki centric.

    — Jay

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