Bullock, Tom, 1873-1964
For the twenty-five years preceding The Ideal Bartender, author Tom Bullock was a country club bartender, serving drinks at the Pendennis Club in Louisville, Kentucky, and then at the St. Louis Country Club, one of the oldest country clubs in the nation. Established in April 1892, the St. Louis Country Club was formed by young men who had played polo at eastern universities, and wanted to continue playing the sport in their home city of St. Louis. At the time, St. Louis was one of the largest American cities, with over half a million residents. The Country Club attracted all the wealthiest citizens, and became internationally known for its polo teams. It brought golf to the west, hosting the first golf tournament of the region in 1896, and several of its members became early champions of the game.
One of its dedicated golf players was a wealthy St. Louis native and banker named George Herbert Walker, listed on the first Club roster of 1895. Walker, who wrote the brief Introduction to The Ideal Bartender, thought highly of Bullock's bartending skills. He writes, "I have known the author of 'The Ideal Bartender' for many years . . . His work is before you. It is the best to be had. Follow on, and as you sip the nectar of his schemings tell your friends, to the end that both they and he may be benefitted." Others praised Bullock as well. The Ideal Bartender includes a droll news item that appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, poking fun at Teddy Roosevelt's libel suit over his alleged intemperance, in which he claimed he drank but a portion of his mint julep when he visited the Club. Extolling the virtues of Bullock's mint julep, the paper asks, "Who was ever known to drink just a part of one of Tom's?"
Tom Bullock's life remains obscure, and how he survived when Prohibition outlawed alcohol in 1920, remains an open question. For George Herbert Walker, 1920 was a stellar year. As president of the United States Golf Association, he put up the silver trophy, the Walker Cup, initiating one of the most renowned golf tournaments; and as the founder of G.H. Walker & Company, an investment bank in St. Louis, he joined forces with W. Averell Harriman, becoming president of W.A. Harriman & Company, a vast banking and investment firm that invested in Germany and Russia after World War I. Decades after his death in 1953, Walker's grandson, namesake George Herbert Walker Bush, would become the 41st United States President, and his great-grandson, George Walker Bush, the 43rd U.S. President.
- Abramson, Rudy, Spanning the Century, The Life of W. Averell Harriman, 1891 - 1986. New York: William Murrow & Co., Inc., 1992.
- Bullock, Tom, The Ideal Bartender. St. Louis: Buxton & Skinner Printing and Stationery Co., 1917.
- "George H. Walker, Donor of Golf Cup," The New York Times, June 25, 1953.
- Kimbrough, Mary, St. Louis Country Club, The First 100 Years. St. Louis, MO: St. Louis Country Club, 1992.
Written by Anne-Marie Rachman