Party like it’s 1968

party encyclopedia cover

Calvert Party Encyclopedia
Your Complete Guide to Home Entertaining

As a librarian, I love an encyclopedia regardless of what it might cover. Parties and booze? Sign me up! Our little example here isn’t quite what I had in mind for a comprehensive look, but it’s not too bad for the average cocktail party circa 1968. My parents lived like this up and into the 1970s. Every Friday or Saturday night, someone was hosting some kind of cocktail party.

Cocktails seem to be making a comeback, so maybe there is a need for those wanting to do some retro entertaining like the Rat Pack. However, even if that is true, take a look at the liquor budgets presented. I doubt if the 25 dollar budget will work in 2018.



drinks menu


games and themes


  1. This looks like an alcoholic version of the cookbooks offered as premiums by food manufacturers.

    With the exception of Monte Carlo Night, the theme party ideas seem a bit hokey for sophisticated suburbanites.

    Some of the hors d’ouvres sound interesting but, what is it about tongue and dried beef in the 1960s? So many party cookbooks seem to include these.

    Yeah, it can go.

  2. I know it was a joke, but when comparing historical prices, it’s always necessary to take inflation into account. That $25 in 1968 would be equivalent to $191 in 2018. Out of curiosity, I used Google to price out the recommended liquors for the basic $25 bar. The quantities are in “metric fifths” (750 ml) rather than old fifths (757 ml): Calvert Extra Whiskey – $9.00; Calvert Gin – $8.00; Canadian Lord Calvert $14.00; Passport Scotch – $18.00; Martini & Rossi Dry Vermouth – $8.00; and Martini & Rossi Sweet Vermouth – $8.00. This adds up to $65, which shows that, relatively speaking, it costs about a third as much to get smashed as it did fifty years ago. 🙂

  3. my parents had this book and it’s probably still on the shelf now. This was the kind of party i’m sure Barbie and Ken would have had and wanted so badly for my dad to host one of those “36 Unusual Ideas.” His friends didn’t need any pirate hats to tie one on.

  4. I’m a little more troubled by the fact that what was a blatant commercial promotion for one spirits maker (Calvert, snapped up by Seagrams, which was itself snapped up by multinational conglomerate borg Diageo years ago) was allowed to fester on the shelf for ages! What, no one could find a non-commercial book?
    Calvert, like many such brand names in booze and non-booze food, used to represent a high standard, but not only have our tastes and the competition gotten better and more upscale, but the brands themselves have been the victim of cost-cutting and abandonment. The Calvert name has been abandoned by Diageo, and what Calvert (formerly a Maryland brand) there is is “rotgut” Calvert Extra produced in Kentucky for a St. Louis-based corporation–not to be confused with Lord Calvert, a third-rate Canadian blended whiskey.

  5. I’m a teetotaler myself, but the reference to Passport Scotch got me thinking: In my parents’ generation, if they were to drink Scotch (Canadian whisky would have been their preference), it would have been blended Scotch like Passport, Johnnie Walker or Chivas Regal (judging from the ads, Chivas was THE prestige and Scotch). Now, liquor store ads give much more space to single-malt Scotches like The Macallan or The Glenlivet

    1. That “and” after “prestige” doesn’t belong. “the prestige Scotch”

    2. Passport is pretty bad/cheap scotch, not at all in the same class as Johnnie Walker or Chivas. Or even J&B or Dewar’s. And not everyone likes single malts. My parents never did.

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