Sazerac Aromatic Bitters – P. H. Drake & Co.

Sazerac Aromatic Bitters Lady’s Leg

P.H. Drake & Co.

07 November 2018

Looking at the motif of the monogram “PHD & Co.” on a Sazerac Aromatic Bitters bottle leads you to Patrick Henry Drake, the proprietor for the famous Drake’s Plantation Bitters. You can see the link with the product name and Drake below with the monogram in the advertisement from Bitters Bottles.

The bottles are called a figural lady’s leg due to the sensual shape of the bottle neck. Three great examples are pictured at the top of this post from the great Bill Taylor figural bitters collection out in Oregon. The cobalt blue example is unique. Bill is known for his extensive collection of lady’s legs bitters.

The Carlyn Ring and W.C. Ham listing in Bitters Bottles is as follows:

S 47  Sazerac Aromatic Bitters
// b // SAZERAC AROMATIC BITTERS // s // motif monogram PHD & Co.
12 1/2 x 3 3/8 (5)
Round lady’s leg, ARM, Applied mouth, Milk glass – Common; Amber – Very rare;
Cobalt – Extremely rare
Note: Sewell T. Taylor, in the 1830s, imported Sazerac Brandy from Messrs. Sazerac de Forge et Fils, Limoges, France. In 1865, Tom H. Handy invented Sazerac Bitters from a secret formula based on boiled herbs. It is believed that this was a flavoring bitters originating in New Orleans.
Almanac: Morning Noon & Night, 1870-1871
Advertisement: 1872 Thomas H. Handy & Co. successors to John G. Schiller, Importers of Sazerac Brandy, Wine and Liquors, 14 and 16 Royal Street, and 11 and 13 Exchange Place, New Orleans. Advertisement 1881 Thos. H. Hardy, importing agent, Sazerac brandies, fine wines and liquors. Imported and domestic cigars. Nos. 9 and 11 St. Charles Street. New Orleans Directory 1915. Handy was listed at 118 Royal Street.
If the PHD monogram stands for Patrick Henry Drake then this could be the Drake’s Sazerac Bitters, Thompson 117.

By most accounts, around 1850, Sewell T. Taylor sold his New Orleans bar, The Merchants Exchange Coffee House, to become an importer of spirits. He began to import a brand of cognac named Sazerac-de-Forge et Fils. Meanwhile, Aaron Bird assumed proprietorship of the Merchants Exchange and changed its name to Sazerac Coffee House.

Legend has it that Bird began serving the “Sazerac Cocktail”, made with Sazerac cognac imported by Taylor, and allegedly with bitters being made by the local apothecary, Antoine Amedie Peychaud.

The Sazerac Coffee House subsequently changed hands several times, when around 1870, Thomas Handy became its proprietor. It is around this time that the primary ingredient changed from cognac to rye whiskey, due to the phylloxera epidemic in Europe that devastated the vineyards of France.

The creation of the Sazerac has also been credited to Antoine Amédée Peychaud, a Creole apothecary who emigrated to New Orleans from the West Indies and set up shop in the French Quarter in the early 19th Century. He was known to dispense a proprietary mix of aromatic bitters from an old family recipe.

According to popular myth, he served his drink in the large end of an egg cup that was called a coquetier in French, and the Americanized mispronunciation resulted in the name cocktailThis belief was debunked when people discovered that the term “cocktail” as a type of drink first appeared in print at least as far back as 1803—and was defined in print in 1806 as, “a mixture of spirits of any kind, water, sugar and bitters, vulgarly called a bittered sling.”

Read: Peychaud’s Cocktail Bitters – L.E. Jung and his Gators

At some point, Patrick Henry Drake obtained the sole right to manufacture and sell Sazerac Aromatic Bitters. By this time he had split from Demas Barnes and formed P.H. Drake & Company in New York. Thought Drake commenced with his plantation bitters in 1860, he did not start marketing Sazerac Aromatic Bitters until January 1st, 1869.

Sazerac Aromatic Bitters in yellow amber with olive tone.

Sazerac Aromatic Bitters in white milk glass (see base picture below) – Heckler Auctions

Sazerac Aromatic Bitters in white milk glass (see bottle picture above) – Heckler Auctions

Lot: 129 Bitters or Whiskey Type Bottle, America, 1860-1880. Cylindrical form with lady’s leg neck, brilliant deep sapphire blue, applied mouth with ring – smooth base, ht. 12 1/4 inches; (light patchy interior haze, two pinpoint flakes on edge of mouth). Similar in form to R/H #S-47 Possibly a labeled Sazerac Aromatic Bitters, as the color, size and form are identical. Generally fine condition. – Norman C. Heckler | Auction #170

Select Listings:

1827: Patrick Henry DrakeBirth Date: 22 Feb 1827, Birth Place: Ithaca, Tompkins County, New York, United States of America – U.S. Find a Grave Index
1849: Patrick Henry Drake, First Marriage Date: 10 Jun 1849, Father: Benjamin Drake, Spouse: Jane Eldridge Lewis, Child: Virginia Maria Drake, Julia Randall Drake – North American Family Histories
1850: P H Drake, [Patrick Henry DrakeAge:23, Birth Year: abt 1827, Birthplace: New York, Home in 1850: Ithaca, Tompkins, New York, USA, Gender: Male, Family Number: 556, Household Members: Maria Drake 53, P H Drake 23, Jane Drake 23, Mary Drake 24 – 1850 United States Federal Census
186o: Patrick H Drake, Manufacturer, Age: 31, Birth Year: abt 1829, Gender: Male, Birth Place: New York, Home in 1860: Binghamton Ward 3, Broome, New York, Post Office: Binghamton, Dwelling Number: 456, Family Number: 487, Real Estate Value: 5000, Personal Estate Value: 1500, Household Members: Patrick H Drake 31, Jane E Drake 31, Virginia N Drake 10, Julia R Drake 3 – 1860 United States Federal Census
1860: Patrick Henry Drake and Demas Barnes formed a partnership in 1860 in New York City to manufacture and market Drake’s Plantation Bitters, initially called Plantation Toddy – History of Drug Containers and Their Labels By George B. Griffenhagen, Mary Bogard
1867: Demas Barnes and Patrick Henry Drake dissolved their partnership and Plantation Bitters was transferred to P.H. Drake & Company
1869: January 1st, 1869, P.H. Drake & Co., New York, sole right to manufacture and sell “SazeracAromatic Bitters (advertisement above) – Bitters Bottles
1870: P H Drake [Patrick Henry Drake], Age in 1870: 43, Manufacturer Of Bitters, Birth Year: abt 1827, Birthplace: New York, Dwelling Number: 117, Home in 1870: New York, Ward 21, District 16 (2nd Enum), New York, New York, Inferred Spouse: J E Drake [Jane Eldridge Lewis], Inferred Children: Mary E Drake , Virginia Drake, J E Drake, Household Members: Mary E Drake 25, Virginia Drake 19, J E Drake 14, P H Drake 43, J E Drake 42 – 1870 United States Federal Census
1880: Patrick H. Drake, Chemist, Age: 57, Birth Date: Abt 1823, Birthplace: New York, Home in 1880: New York City, New York, New York, USA, Street: West 56th St, House Number: 38, Dwelling Number: 122, Relation to Head of House: Self (Head), Marital Status: Married, Spouse’s Name: Jane E. Drake, Father’s Birthplace: New York, Mother’s Birthplace: New York, Household Members: Patrick H. Drake 57, Jane E. Drake 51, Virginia Drake 28, Julia Drake 22 – 1880 United States Federal Census
1882: Patrick Henry DrakeDeath 4 Nov 1882, Death Place: Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, Cemetery: Spring Forest Cemetery, Burial or Cremation Place: Binghamton, Broome County, New York – U.S. Find a Grave Index
1882: Patrick H Drake, Merchant, Age: 55, Birth Date: abt 1827, Birth Place: Ithaca, New York, Death Date: 4 Nov 1882, Death Place: Boston, Massachusetts, Hotel Brunswick, Cause: Acute Pericarditis, Father: Benjamin Drake, Mother: Maud Drake – Massachusetts Death Records
1883: After Drakes death business operated by William P. Ward, Proprietor

About Ferdinand Meyer V

Ferdinand Meyer V is a native of Baltimore, Maryland and has a BFA in Fine Art and Graphic Design from the Kansas City Art Institute and School of Design. Ferdinand is the founding Principal of FMG Design, a nationally recognized design consultation firm. Ferdinand is a passionate collector of American historical glass specializing in bitters bottles, color runs and related classic figural bottles. He is married to Elizabeth Jane Meyer and lives in Houston, Texas with their daughter and three wonderful grandchildren. The Meyers are also very involved in Quarter Horses, antiques and early United States postage stamps. Ferdinand is the past 6-year President of the Federation of Historical Bottle Collectors and is one of the founding members of the FOHBC Virtual Museum.
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