I started to do research on a little glass bottle which had a glass tube within it and the words “You-Mix-It” embossed diagonally across the front.
There was foil over the top which read “Manhattan” and “Not Genuine If Seal Is Broken”.
But do you think I could find another example of a similar bottle? No. Luckily, however, I was able to find some ads. The earliest ad dated to September 1913.
Although the illustration of the bottle in the ad did not appear to have “You-Mix-It” on the front, the ad indicates that “You-Mix-It” was a trade mark of the Symphony Cocktail Co. of Chicago, Illinois. It went on to state “withdraw the cork from the outer bottle (no corkscrew necessary); pour the contents of the inner bottle into the outer bottle, then pour in the cocktail glass.” The ad stated these cocktails were available in Manhattan, Martini and Princess. Princess???? What the heck was a Princess cocktail? Curiously, the words “Trade Mark” were beneath the word Princess. So the Symphony Cocktail people trade marked the Princess cocktail. Something else to research!
The 1916 ad above sheds a little light on the Princess cocktail. It says it is “a new, distinctive and delicious gin cocktail”.
The 1917 ad shown above does not show “You-Mix-It” on the bottle, but it does show a patent number.
Another 1917 ad shown above adds the “Celery Nip” to the mix. It might be difficult to read but it says that these nips are available in bourbon, rye or scotch whiskey in the outer bottle and there is celery tonic in the inner bottle. It states “Your money back if anyone can detect whiskey odor.” Hmmm, I didn’t know celery tonic could do that. You learn something every day.
So off to find that patent!
And here it is! A 1909 patent by A. F. Callahan for “Bottle Structure”.
The Symphony Cocktail Company was established as a corporation in 1919. See various info below.
My little bottle is a molded bottle produced by an automated bottle making machine. My bottle reference books states that “In 1909, improvements to the machine made it possible to produce small prescription bottles”…similar to my bottle. The timing of the patent and the formation of Symphony Cocktail Company fit in perfectly with this machine improvement.
Okay, so what about that Princess cocktail? I knew it was made of gin and I knew it was offered in the teens. So I started looking in bartender guides for that period of time. I looked at lots of them and came up empty. And then I got lucky. I found a recipe for a Princess cocktail that had gin as one of the ingredients in J. A. Didier’s (known as Jake to his friends) “The Reminder, Up-To-Date Bartenders’ Vest Pocket Guide”, the fifth Edition printed in 1917. The recipe follows:
The first edition of this book, printed in 1909, does not include this recipe. In his Preface for the fifth edition, Jake states “There are many new recipes contained in this book never before published, and all are up-to-date”. So this must be THE Princess cocktail recipe.
I was surprised to see Creme Yvette listed as an ingredient. See 1916 ad below. Creme Yvette is a blend of berries and violet flowers and was introduced in 1890 I believe. It survived Prohibition and was available until 1969 when it was discontinued.
But it has recently be revived and is gaining popularity. I don’t see anyone these days making a Princess cocktail with it. Come on, folks! Revive that Princess cocktail!