Many barmen refer to Harry Craddock's book this way which may seem diminutive when written, but is clearly reverential when one hears a practitioner utter it. It was first published in 1930 London, as American prohibition was coming to an end so it was positioned perfectly to be an authority when all hell broke loose 3 years later (presumably, I actually have no idea how quickly real cocktails got going again.) Bay Area cocktailian Erik Ellestad has made such a name for himself just by drinking his way through the book, that he has been referenced in the NY Times.
I found my 1st edition at a street sale in Richmond, Virginia about 10 years ago. I don't remember how much I paid for it, but it wouldn't have been more than $10. I have since bought a few more later printings so that I could read them without fear of degrading my original. Still, I like to look around the web every now and again to see what copies are going for.
This one popped up today.
$984.49! The worst part is that someone is actually going to pay for it.