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Origins and evolution of the Fog Cutter mug

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The Fog Cutter is one of the fabled cocktails from the early days of faux Polynesia in America. I have read that the cocktails invention has been credited to Tony Ramos a famous bartender at Don the Beachcombers. Ramos had recalled the drink being created at Edna Earl's Fogcutter restaurant in L.A. as their signature cocktail. The Fog Cutter style of mug has always been one of my favorites and I have posted some from my collection below. It seems to me though not strictly by definition a "Tiki" mug that the Fog Cutter style could be in the running as one of the earliest of the dedicated restaurant mugs. The earliest mention of the mug I could find is the image in Vic's 1947 bartenders guide. Another interesting thing is how the cocktail and the mug were known as one in the same. Many restaurants served the Fog Cutter in a custom mug but usually the same basic style and form from place to place. Both Tepco and OMC offered the "Fog Cutter" mug in their wholesale catalogs. It would be interesting to know if this style started with Trader Vic's mug and it grew from there or did it start somewhere else?

Recipe from Vic's 1946 edition of his Book Of Food & Drink.

Image of glassware, mugs and bowls from Trader Vic's Bartenders Guide 1947 edition. Note early version of the Fog Cutter mug.

Sun God mug and a beautiful mug from the Hawaiian Cottage.

Moy's and Trader Vic's

Kings Island mug.

[ Edited by: uncle trav 2012-02-10 13:16 ]

[ Edited by: uncle trav 2020-03-25 05:38 ]

I thought that I would freshen up this five year old post a bit after a pot of coffee and to much time on my hands today.

On 2007-10-07 06:53, uncle trav wrote:
The earliest mention of the mug I could find is the image in Vic's 1947 bartenders guide.

Hey Uncle Trav,

Here is an image from a Life Magazine story about Trader Vic...I'm pretty sure it's from a 1944 article but haven't been able to confirm that...

Thanks for the image AS. I went with the 1946 date as the Fog Cutter is the recipe in the the TV's Book of Food and Drink. The Samoan Fog Cutter which is the same recipe with the "Samoan" added I didn't think came until later. I might be mistaken though. Thanks again for posting the image.


Aloha, Trav!

Aquatic Safarinaut's memory is good, as that Trader Vic's Life Magazine article dates from September 4, 1944...


That's hilarious! Fer sure, the Pacific war was one big Luau!...with macaws fanning the air! :D

Time to add to this old thread. I can’t think of another mug design that has lasted as long as the iconic Trader Vic’s Fog Cutter mug. The ceramic coconut mug may be the runner up. Vic’s Fog Cutter mug can be traced as far back as 1944. Size, design and definitely quality have gone up and down but the basic mug survives to this day. The third design of the mug came out in 1963 I believe and is commonly called the “sunset mug” for obvious reasons. These mugs range in size and quality but the basic design has remained intact. Some of these mugs can be found where the mold quality is so poor that the figures are just blobs on the mug with equally bad paint glazes. Still a good mug to have in your collection for sure.

Here is a larger Vic’s mug which I believe post dates the 1963 version. This mug has crisp details and decent paint.

Here is an early Vic’s mug dating from the 1940s. This mug can be seen on pg. 69 of the book TIKI POP.

Here is a common Sumo Flip mug in the classic Fog Cutter shape.

At some point in time Harvey’s in Lake Tahoe broke with the classic shape of the Fog Cutter mug and tweaked the design a bit. The Harvey’s appears to have done this in the 60’s as far as I can tell. These mugs also suffered in mold quality as time went by.

The Harvey’s version of the Fog Cutter mug.

Lastly is a similar design to the Harvey’s mug. This mug was made by TEPCO. This mug is HEAVY and could probably survive being shot out of a cannon. It is not marked for a particular restaurant. The design is simple and elegant. Almost an art-deco feel to it and the glaze is super rich. Thanks for taking a look and some of my collection.

"Anyone who has ever seen them is thereafter haunted as if by a feverish dream" Karl Woermann

[ Edited by: uncle trav 2020-03-25 06:46 ]

[ Edited by: uncle trav 2020-03-26 03:56 ]

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