Not a store purchase but a transatlantic trade:
Thanks to Brian Johnson of Better Cocktails at Home, I am now potentially the first British owner of Jamie Boudreau's Cherry Bitters and The Pacific Northwest's Gentleman's Companion aka The Canon Cocktail Book.
In return, Brian will be receiving a couple of items he can't get in the States: Amer Picon and Kamm & Sons.
I haven't had a chance to use the bitters yet, but upon first impression, they're fantastic. Lots of Chrismassy, cherry loveliness and intensely bitter. Fee's could learn a lot here. These make the latter's bitters taste like confectionary. A great addition to my collection
The book is wonderful also, but not as much what I was expecting.
Let me first say, of all the cocktail books I own this is the most exquisite. The production value, of what is essentially the bar's menu is astounding. The cover and other artwork is perfectly styled and it's printed on the heaviest paper of any book I've had.
Inside is a brief introduction and then drinks are listed categorised by spirit - then in alphbetical order.
This is where the book falls down: Simply not enough drinks. Specifically, not enough Canon signature drinks. There are about 120 drinks listed, and most are classics. There are a few contemporary drinks from modern American bars, but most drinks listed are the house specs of classics you and I will all know.
For those looking for a truly immersive bar book, the PDT book delves a lot deeper and a have a feeling that the Canon book was drafted some two years ago and simply took a long time to get to press. Given the interesting signature cocktails on rotation at the bar, it would be great to see a second edition, but I would not expect that for a while now.
Other niggles I might have are that certain drinks are listed twice when they contain multiple spirits (Cheating!) and sometimes ingredients are ambiguously listed. (Rum, White Rum, and Aged Rum are called for. Sherry, Dry Sherry and Cream Sherry also) There are no brands called, except for liqueurs - a criticism some had of the PDT Book, but something I found very helpful when envisaging the flavour profile the bar intended.
However, it's worth remembering this is a menu and If I were writing a menu, I'd list "Aged Rum" or "Old Tom Gin" rather than a brand, so as to keep wording down, too.
Also, can we all just agree the metric system makes more sense, please?!
So in conclusion; a lovely book. Not essential, but it's a charming addition to any drinks fanatic's library and clearly a labour of love on the bar's part.
(Rafa, want some Picon for the Dead Rabbit book?)
Also, I posted this in Kitchen, but no one cared. You lot think I'm cool now, right?:
Technically not thrift shopping as I bought it from the junk shed at work.
I got tired of waiting for Anova to short their shit out so bought roughly £1000 worth of professional circulator and insulated bath for £100.
I spent the day scrubbing it down and am yet to stick it in some descaler as it beat my iron wool but otherwise it's fully working and now clean.
It runs from Ambient +5 to 95 degrees C on a 1.25kW motor and is made in sunny old England.
It'll probably be the first piece of big machinery at the bar I'm soon opening. I'll eventually buy an Anova to look pretty in my home kitchen.
Edited by Adam George, 21 March 2014 - 08:59 AM.