"Full of Jersey Lightning:" Spirituous Histories, Cocktail Tastings, and Creative Outreach


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Beginning in 2012, Virginia Tech Special Collections started acquiring materials related to cocktail culture in America. The “History of the American Cocktail Collection” includes cocktail manuals and bartenders guides, books on social activities and entertaining, and a variety of items documenting the history of cocktail ingredients, creation, and consumption, as well as resources on individual spirits, the medicinal and alcoholic history of bitters, temperance/Prohibition, and advertising. Since late 2015, and most recently in the spring of 2016, archivist Kira A. Dietz has organized and hosted two outreach events on campus—a pilot and an invited program—that consisted of both a presentation and an historical cocktail tasting, designed to spread word of the collection to the campus community. This poster will share a bit about the collection, the programs, future goals, and some lessons learned/advice for developing creative outreach whether you’re incorporating food or not!



Cocktail history, Outreach, Special collections, Culinary history, Libraries