Category Archives: Vintage ads

Ads of the week

Oops, I inadvertently missed a week; doubling up today to catch up.

Seagram’s King Arthur

First up, from the July 12, 1937, issue of Life magazine, an ad with a cocktail recipe included:


Zooma zooma!



Martini & Rossi

Next, an ad from the July 19, 1937, issue; this one reflects how much our drinking culture has changed since the 1930s. Few people today drink vermouth on its own, of course, even though more of us should.


Of course, this ad reminds me I keep promising to make Vermouth Cassis for Mrs. Bitters. Oops.

Ad of the Week: Gordon’s Gin

Love this Gordon’s ad. Love love love love. Life mag, July 5, 1937.

First, I love the stem glass, especially the stem, but also the bowl. The other glassware, the ice bucket, the martini pitcher. All lovely, and all items I now covet. I love that the martini has a bit of color to it, perhaps from the vermouth that was used.


Here’s the text, if you want to read it:


But I also really love the bottle. Let’s look at that in fancy giant size.


Check out the detail! The weird cap with the wire-twist enclosure. The juniper berries. The boar’s head. The words NEW JERSEY embossed on the bottle side. And, of course, the proof: 94.4. (If Wikipedia is accurate, bottlings sold in continental Europe are sold at 94.6, or 47.3% abv.)

Some hot stuff here, folks. These are the gems that keep me coming back to this feature.

Ads of the week

Two whiskey ads from the June 14, 1937, issue of Life magazine.

First up, Schenley’s Cream of Kentucky bourbon. I’ll have more to say about the history of Schenley’s at a later time. Apparently, the Cream of Kentucky brand has been defunct since the 1980s.

And, oh, take note of the artist’s name. Perhaps you’ll recognize him.


The second ad, I have to admit, is a repeat, but there’s a reason for that. The ad itself is a repeat; it ran more than once in Life, first in December 1936. I featured it here a couple of months ago. Here it is again:


As noted previously, Kentucky Tavern still exists as a brand. Here’s a fairly recent image of its bottle lineup:

Earlier this week, Chuck Cowdery posted news that this venerable brand has gotten a facelift. His post is worth a read, and if you click through, you’ll see the new label.

Ads of the Week: Beeeeeeer

I meant to post this just prior to Mother’s Day, but you know how life can be…

The New-York Historical Society Museum and Library is hosting an exhibition on the history of brewing in New York. Prior to Prohibition, NY had a thriving brewing industry, with vast plants in Brooklyn (we lived down the street from a former brewery site in Bushwick), Queens, and even Manhattan.

The museum’s Tumblr is posting images from the exhibit, including some great old advertisements. For more on the exhibit, here’s a piece from the WSJ.

The exhibit opens today, May 25, and runs through September 2.