Mystery: The Ronrico Mixtro’s Guide

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Sometimes we experience great difficulty dating materials from the past. The Mixtro’s Guides published by Ronrico in the 1950s, and perhaps before and after, are intriguing examples.

Of these four, only the one in the lower left corner states a publication year: 1954. The other three are unusually difficult to date.

The 1954 edition is distinctive, because, in addition to the publication year, its pages have additional spot color borders. This is also the only one of the four editions we have that is advertising the rums with an age statement (“Ronrico Rum Now 4 Years Old”). The one in the lower right contains no product information whatsoever, other than the recipes that specify the Ronrico rum by label color (white, gold, red or purple). The two top guides contain promotional pages about the products, but also only discuss them with regard to label color (no mention of age statement).

The edition in the upper right corner is distinctive for not having the “personal copy of” space on the cover, and instead offering this tear-out registration card, with the promise of “future inserts”. (Were any additional pages ever delivered to registrants?)

The two bottom editions have plastic binding. The two top have metal. None have the same binding. The upper right edition specifically uses “CERCLA” binding from General Binding Corp (Chicago)—and that’s how desperate I’ve gotten trying to narrow down the publication dates for these booklets!

Comparing the contents hasn’t produced any narrative I feel all that confident about. The one on the lower right could be interpreted as being a slightly shoddy superset of the one on the lower left: it omits 14 recipes in the former, while adding 29—all obscure. Four of the recipes omitted by the latter were on a page that was outright replaced with a full-page presentation for Ronrico Coconga, which Ronrico was pushing hard at some point. The top two are missing a smattering of recipes from the bottom two, while adding nine or so recipes, most of which appeared in Ronrico pamphlets in the 1940s but were omitted in the 1954 edition. Recipe order is most peculiarly jumbled across all the editions.

Only the lower right and upper left editions make use of the “Chico Presents” element of the title.

So, perhaps the order is lower left (1954), lower right, upper left, upper right. Or maybe not? If anyone has in information, please share!

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