1933 Celebrity Cocktail Book

Join me on Instagram (@silverscreensuppers) on the 19th of July 2024 for an online cocktail party to celebrate the launch of my new thing!

It is a gorgeous limited edition reprint of a rare 1933 booklet containing recipes submitted for a celebrity cocktail competition!

I will be sending out an ingredients list for the cocktails I’ll be demonstrating on the night via the Dinner and a Movie Substack so you can shake along with me!

There are only 100 copies of the facsimile, and these will only be available directly from me from 19th July 2024 but do get in touch via the Contact Page if you would like to reserve one before the launch date.  The price will be £17.99 via Etsy plus P&P (or whatever that is in your currency).

If you are reading this after 19th July, just click on the button below to get to the Etsy shop.

Silver Screen Suppers Etsy Shop


In 1933 Prohibition ended in the USA, and a star-spangled cocktail competition was organised to celebrate the return of uninhibited boozing.  The Mayor of Carmel on the Californian coast asked celebrities to submit the formulas for their very own creations with a gathering of the great and good sampling them all to choose a winner.

Those grabbing the cocktail shaker included stars of the silver screen such as Marlene Dietrich, W.C. Fields, the Marx Brothers, Carole Lombard and Bebe Daniels.

Writers including Ernest Hemingway, Edgar Rice Burroughs, H.L. Mencken and Sinclair Lewis also threw their favourite libations into the hat.  A full list of those featured is at the bottom of this page.

To commemorate the competition a beautifully made pamphlet was produced by a local printer of the day, it is a very rare thing indeed, but I have managed to get my mitts on one.  Behold the splendour!  Original on the left, facsimile on the right.

I have collaborated with a wonderful local bookbinder – Fraser at Unit 33 Studio in Bexhill – to produce this limited-edition facsimile.  Risograph printed with paper lovingly chosen to be as close as possible to the original, each is numbered and they are only available directly from me.  Not available in the shops folks!

More about the history of the competition and some pix of the booklets being made follow, but don’t delay if you want to get yourself one of these special and lovely pieces of ephemera.  There are only 100 individually numbered copies, when they are gone, they are gone!

It would make a perfect gift for a loved one.  Especially if they love a nice retro cocktail.


“Many an exotic concoction, from the rainbow-colored Parisian Pousse-café of Marlene Dietrich to the outlandish punch of the Marx Brothers, will greet the palates of Hollywood with the official advent of prohibition repeal.” Vincent Mahoney, a United Press Correspondent, announced on the 16th of November 1933.

The United States of America was heading towards much merriment on the 5th of December when the ban on manufacturing, transporting and selling alcohol would be lifted. A celebrity cocktail competition was organised to assist with celebrations.

John Caitlin, the eccentric Mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea in California, established the Association for the Advancement of the Fine Art of Drinking and invited the great and good of the stage, screen and typewriter to submit their own concoctions for consideration. The judging panel sampled the shortlist of 30, condensed from 300 entries. Caitlin rebuffed protests that “women should leave mixing drinks to men as was the case 15 years ago” and gladly admitted entries by screen goddesses Marlene Dietrich and Carole Lombard.

Judging took place at Monterey’s Del Monte Hotel on the 9th of December 1933, and actor and chairman Frank Sheridan insisted that judges join him for an early morning swim in the hotel pool the next day. When 17 of them took the plunge, he said, “I am glad to see you, gentlemen. Your presence proves that proper drinking can be achieved by intelligent application rather than futile indulgence. That is the object of our contest, to provide delicious drinks with no bad effects if taken in moderation.”

The winner of the competition was author Samuel George Blythe with his Merry-Go-Round cocktail.  Here’s his formula.  “One-sixth French Vermouth; one-sixth Italian Vermouth (both to be genuine); two-thirds London Dry Gin (also genuine). Mix with spoon in tall glass filled with ice; 1 good-sized green olive in each cocktail; squeeze of lemon peel over top of each cocktail.”  Sounds good!


Intriguingly, during my research, I discovered that Samuel G. Blythe wrote a book entitled, Cutting It Out: How To Get On The Water Wagon and Stay There published in 1912, followed by The Old Game: A Retrospect After Three Years on the Water Wagon in 1914.  In his introduction to the latter book he states, “a drink could not be put into me except with the aid of an anaesthetic and a funnel” – well, he seems to have fallen off the water wagon by 1933!

If you are on the water wagon yourself, you’ll be pleased to hear that newspaper columnist O.O.McIntyre submitted a non-alcoholic recipe for a milkshake liberally sprinkled with nutmeg.

The judges awarded him the booby prize for this audacious entry – a pair of spats.

Not O.O. but looking very swish in his spats…

I found loads more fabulous stuff about this competition in the newspapers of the day so here are a few quotes.  First, in reference to the winning Merry-Go-Round cocktail.

The value of Blythe’s drink to humanity was evidenced by the fact that 17 of the 19 judges, entirely free of hangovers, were able to gather at the Del Monte swimming pool for a plunge, Sunday morning.  The two others had been forced by business to leave at midnight.

Nobel Prize Winner, writer Sinclair Lewis, was widely tipped to be the winner of the contest by the papers.

Lewis, according to word up and down the famous pink sidewalks of Carmel’s art colony, has concocted a drink worthy of the high standards set by the National Association for Advancement of the Fine Art of Drinking – an organization founded to urge upon the present generation the sage advice, “Drink like a gentleman.”

A different newspaper reported.

The name of Lewis was the winner’s tip in all spots where the elite of Carmel gather – Herbert Heron’s book-shop, the post office, Illya Jadevoskoy’s Russian tea shop and the Cinderella shop of Mrs Janet Prentiss, former short story writer.

On the subject of women entering the contest

The Dietrich and Lombard cocktails were admitted to the contest after heated protest by a school of Carmel drinkers headed by Talbert Josselyn, author, who maintained that women should leave drink mixing to men, as was the case 15 years ago.

Although it was reported that Marlene and Carole were the only women to have been allowed to take their chances in the competition, there’s an Egg Nog recipe in the commemorative booklet from Bebe Daniels, so she snuck in there too!  Bravo, Bebe!


Here’s the full list of cocktails featured in the Del Monte Cocktail Recipes book.


Marlene Dietrich – Parisian Pousse-Café

Bebe Daniels – Bebe’s Egg-Nog

Carole Lombard – Golden Fizz

W.C. Fields – Juggler’s Scaffa

Marx Brothers – Honeymoon Punch

James Gleason – No Help Wanted

Otis Skinner – The Honor of the Family

Charles Ruggles – Old-Time Martini

Frank Sheridan – Angel of Broadway

Charles “Chic” Sale – The Specialist

George M. Cohan – Over the Top


Ernest Hemingway – Death in the Afternoon

Steward Edward White – The Trail Blazer

Sinclair Lewis – Main Street Punch

Irvin S. Cobb – Old Judge Priest Mint Julep

Hugh Wiley – Wildcat Special

Gouveneur Morris – Wild Geese

H.L. Mencken – Prejudices, No.1

Arthur Stevens Crockett – Port Wine Sangaree / Ping-Pong Punch / Widow’s Kiss

Julian Street – Appetizer

Samuel G. Blythe – Merry-Go-Round Cocktail

Edgar Rice Burroughs – Tarzan Special

Arthur Somers Roche – Old Colonel

Talbert Josselyn – Champagne Cocktail

Robert Hughes – Bacardi Flip

Homer Croy – Water Tower Sour

Charles Caldwell Dobie – Brandy Daisy

Theodore Dreiser – The American Tragedy

Sam Hellman – Brandy Punch

William MacLeod Raine – Ride ‘em Cowboy

Harry Leon Wilson – Ruggles of Red Gap Fix

Wallace Irwin – Rose of Peru Punch


John Held Jr. – Mint Julep

Will Sparks – Whiskey Float

Haig Patigian – Old Fashioned

Jo Mora – More Mora

Maynard Dixon – Desert Oasis

James Montgomery Flagg – Flaggs Up

Albert Hill Gilbert – Sunset Cocktail

Broadway Producer

Sam H. Harris – “Cradle-Snatcher” Cocktail


J.P. McEvoy – Applejack Old Fashioned


Philip Gross – Commodore

Andrew Bonett – Clover Club Cocktail

Radio Star

Ed Wynn – Fire Chief Special


Karl Kitchen – Kitchen Special

O.O. McIntyre – “Odd” Cocktail

Film Critic

Rob Wagner – Four Stars

Stage Director

Frederic Burt – Sherry Cocktail


Bob Davis – Caliph of Bagdad

Mayor of Carmel

John Catlin – Carmel Delight

Thanks, John Catlin, for coming up with the idea for this cocktail competition. It was a GENIUS idea!

Here’s the link to my Etsy shop again

Bottoms up!

Let’s Party Like it’s 1933!

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