When docent Rob Sansom walked into the Ely Stage Stop and Country Museum for the first time and saw the little bar that had been set up all he could think of was, “What a cool place this would be to have an old-timey drink!” With that idea in mind the Ely’s “Cocktails in the West” program began – historic cocktails in restaurants that capture the history of Lake County.
In most depictions of the Old West saloon, whiskey was the drink of choice but there was a thriving cocktail culture during Victorian times. “Professor” Jerry Thomas is the most well known of the Victorian mixologists of the day as he is one of the few that wrote anything down. Armed with “Professor” Jerry Thomas’s recipes, sourced by David Wondrich in his 2007 book “Imbibe”, there were some simple cocktails that one might have encountered at the Ely Stage Stop. The menu for “Cocktails In The West” include the Champagne Cocktail, Whiskey Cocktail (predecessor to the Old Fashioned), Manhattan Club (the original Manhattan), the Saratoga and the Sherry Cobbler, a quite refreshing beverage for the summer!
The three participating restaurants in our Cocktails In The West promotion are the Blue Wing Saloon in Upper Lake, the Saw Shop Gallery Bistro in Kelseyville and the Boar’s Breath in Middletown. Each building has it’s own history. The Blue Wing Saloon Restaurant in Upper Lake, adjacent to the Tallman Hotel, is a recreation of the original 1880’s saloon that was demolished during Prohibition. It captures the spirit of the Victorian saloon with it’s Eastlake back bar and Lake County black walnut bar top. The Saw Shop Gallery Bistro in Kelseyville is housed in a 1906 late Victorian period building with some of the architectural details still intact. During it’s life as a boarding house and private residence it has been home to many of Lake County’s ancestors, past and current. The bar was milled from Lake County black walnut too! And finally there is the Boar’s Breath in Middletown. The oldest of the three buildings, the corner brick building has housed a turn of the century general mercantile (Cannon Bros.) and the original “Corner Store” now known as Hardester’s.
The Blue Wing, Saw Shop and Boar’s Breath are looking forward to serving everyone some historical spirits! So starting the week of July 15th stop in to any one of these establishments and order up a cocktail that Black Bart might have enjoyed. If you want the recipes, stop by the Ely Stage Stop and Country Museum to purchase recipe and history booklets! Cheers!
For more information, www.elystagestop.com, www.facebook.com/elystagestop, firstname.lastname@example.org or better yet stop by and see us! The Ely is located at 9921 Soda Bay Road in Kelseyville and is open on Saturdays and Sundays, 11am to 3pm, or call us at 707.533.9990 during business hours.