ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- For nearly two decades Ted Kilgore has been mixing up craft cocktails.
A look at his menu at Planter’s House in Lafayette Square shows a list of new and classic cocktails, showcasing his eclectic style.
“The true classics to me are the ones that are over 100 years old, just like a souffle or something that’s been done forever, people can take their own spin on it,” he said.
The Reverie is Kilgore’s take on a Manhattan, the drink they were sipping at the first-ever cocktail party, which took place St. Louis.
“St. Louis has always been a town that in one way or another has been centered around beer and spirits so it makes sense,” said Christopher Gordon, the Director of Library and Collections for the Missouri History Museum.
The reason we know St. Louis hosted the first-ever cocktail party is because it was written about in the paper.
“While we might not think that's very special, it was obviously special enough that it made the newspapers in 1917,” Gordon said.
The headline read ‘Cocktail Parties Are New Society Stunt,’ and the story details the Sunday matinee affair hosted at the home of Mrs. Julius Walsh in the Central West End.
“They were always hosting parties,” Gordon said.
According to the paper the Walshes had a bartender, but at the time people could start mixing their own cocktails thanks to books like those written by legendary St. Louis bartender Tom Bullock.
“Bullock was a prominent bartender here in St. Louis in the 1900s and he went so far as to print this mixology guide,” Gordon said.
Bullock had a lasting impression, writing about cocktails we're still drinking today. One of the rooms at Planter’s House is actually called the Bullock Room.
And in it, mixologists like Kilgore are creating cocktails for the next generation's parties.
“I think St. Louis has a really cool scene in the sense of people wanting to broaden people’s horizons and show them the unexpected flavors and still harken back to the classic technique,” Kilore said.