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Learn Cocktail History Through the Inspired Designs of 'Letters and Liquor'

Matthew William Wyne is a graphic designer who specializes in lettering. His other passion is drinks and cocktail history. A while back he challenged himself to create a series of graphic designs that evoke the feel of 52 drinks and the era in which each was invented, from The Flip, which dates from Colonial American days, up through what he fondly calls the Dark Ages of 'shitty cocktails' like the White Russian and the Appletini, and beyond.

Wyne studies old bottle labels and vintage advertisements for typography inspiration. His approach pairs sociology and mixology. When he unveils a new illustration, he publishes a short history along with the recipe. The well known Manhattan, we've learned, was one of several 'borough' cocktails named for NYC boroughs, along with The Bronx (a gin and orange juice concoction) and The Brooklyn, made with Amer Picon.

Why 52? "Fifty-two weeks in a year," he tells AIROWS. "Also, in looking at the entire panoply of drinks, I felt like fifty was a number of unique stories I could tell. I wanted to make sure all of the stories were fresh."

He's currently up to about 38. Follow the adventure in his Letters and Liquor Instagram here or on his blog here.