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Cocktail Books: The Topic

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#61 ThinkingBartender

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Posted 24 October 2006 - 05:47 PM

Hey Danne,

If you want useful books that will aid you in years to come, then remember to go for books which are about purely spirits and also liqueurs. Simply memorising recipes from every book never works.


And here are 3 books that I thoroughly recommend:

Appreciating Whisky, Phillip Hills

The Book of Classic American Whiskeys, by Mark H. Waymack, James F. Harris

The Book of Tequila, by Bob Emmons


Cheers!

George

Edited by ThinkingBartender, 24 October 2006 - 05:53 PM.


#62 srhcb

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Posted 24 October 2006 - 06:09 PM

Being a great bartender is about more than just making a good drink. Handy books to have behind the bar are:

The Guinnes Book of World Records

The Farmers Almanac

Hoyles Rules of Games

Websters Dictionary

The Bible (you'd be surprised!)

SB :wink:

#63 Snowy is dead

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Posted 24 October 2006 - 10:42 PM

I have to second the "info" books. My personal favorites to have behind the bar are the New York Times Almanac, the Food Lovers Companion and the Wine Lovers Companion . The Chas. Baker books are great, just don't let drunk patrons handle them... :sad:

Forgotten Spirits is a great book to pique the interest of noobs, like myself, as is Craft of the Cocktail. Trader Vic books are fun to play with too.

At one job we called the New York Times almanac the "argument settler."

#64 bolognium

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 08:15 AM

I am very happy with "Raising The Bar" by Nick Mautone.

#65 Joerg.Meyer

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Posted 11 November 2006 - 09:11 AM

I put a few scanns from Traveling Gin 1934 online

http://www.flickr.co...57594358747873/


Pinonners of Mixing Gin
at Elite Bar
1903-1933
by American Traveling Mixologists
A Tribute to Mr.
Charles C. Mueller
Al Hoope Senior
A.V. Guzman
James Cunningham
NEW YORK CITY January 1934

Kind regards

Jörg Meyer

#66 eje

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Posted 22 November 2006 - 10:29 AM

I just finished Christine Sismondo's Mondo Cocktail: A Shaken and Stirred History.

It's a lively book with lots of interesting trivia and lore.

Each chapter begins on the theme of a single cocktail and takes off from there.

In a sense it's more a collection of essays than a history of the cocktail, so your mileage may vary.

I enjoyed Ms. Sismondo's writing style and particularly literature centric cultural points of reference.

Also, while cocktails are the book's ostensible theme, much of the its juiciest material is about famous alcoh..., errrrr..., drinkers through history. Well known 20th Century writers and cultural figures and their appetites, are especially featured. Hemingway, Faulkner, W.C. Fields, Roosevelt, and others, all get their moment in the sun.

Since she often uses terms from pschology, I will say, she is a bit ambivalent about these figures, celebrating, and at the same time, decrying their legacies.

I do disagree with some of her takes on cocktail recipes, particularly the Martini. Like Salvatore Calabrese, she comes down on the "frozen bottle of gin poured into a glass" side of that battle.

While much of the cocktail history and lore she cites is perfectly fine for dinner party or bar conversation, if you were writing an article, I would recommend double checking recent, accepted, ideas, before quoting or citing her.

It is also a bit irritating that the recipes and procedures for cocktails, such as they are, are spread through the chapters in text blobs, making them a bit difficult to track. If you wanted to actually follow one of her procedures, you'd have to either transcribe it, or start at the begining of the chapter, scan for the next italics, do the next part of the recipe, scan for the next italics. Certainly, not something you'd want to be doing while you had guests waiting for their drinks.

In any case, while Sismondo's personal take on the subject matter may not endear her to every reader, I found it a fun, and thought provoking, read.
---
Erik Ellestad
If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...
Bernal Heights, SF, CA

#67 ThinkingBartender

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Posted 22 November 2006 - 01:01 PM

http://www.sismondo.blogspot.com/

Is she just another internet cocktail pundit?

#68 eje

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Posted 22 November 2006 - 01:10 PM

I don't have the book handy to look at the bio.

From what I remember, she is a writer and teaches humanities at a Canadian University. Tended bar for quite a few years, recently part time, most recently, retired. Also published an article in Mixologist: Vol 2.
---
Erik Ellestad
If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...
Bernal Heights, SF, CA

#69 tkd7

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Posted 02 December 2006 - 07:29 AM

One book I haven't seen mentioned is Cocktails in New York. It is obviously New York centric, but I've found that it is a great mix of proven classics and creative mixes.

Each recipe is linked to a NYC establishment, which makes it as much a bar guide as a cocktail book. Peppered throughout are short historical essays on the cocktail and info on spirits and the like. I've found it to be a book I can leaf through and read, not just a destination for a cocktail recipe.

I definitely suggest it for those in the NY area. It is a few years old, so you can likely find it at a deep discount.

#70 lancastermike

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Posted 02 December 2006 - 01:01 PM

Not sure of the meaning of this but we came home from work one night this week to discover that one of our wonderful canine residents had shredded our copy of Ted Haig's Classic Cocktails.

Perhaps they did not agree with the proportions Ted suggests for a Blinker or something. I know Sam Kinsey does not agree with the recipe for the Pegu Club in this book. However, I don't think Sam has ever chewed up a copy of it in protest

Gus and Arlo, the dogs, must have deeper issues with Dr. Cocktail

#71 slkinsey

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Posted 04 December 2006 - 01:31 PM

I know Sam Kinsey does not agree with the recipe for the Pegu Club in this book. However, I don't think Sam has ever chewed up a copy of it in protest

No. But, on the bright side, when I ran into the estimable doctor at Pegu Club recently, I was able to give him shit about it in person. :smile:
Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

#72 Marlene

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Posted 01 January 2007 - 07:01 PM

Not being able to choose between:

Dale DeGroff's Craft of the Cocktail, Gary Regan's Joy of Mixology, or Dave's Killer Cocktails, I bought all three for my husband for Christmas. All have something different to offer and all are good reads in and of themselves. It's been a wonderful if somewhat liquid holiday season, thanks in part to these books. :smile:
Marlene
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#73 Soren Nielsen

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Posted 04 January 2007 - 03:06 AM

On my shelf are:

The Craft of the Cocktail by Dale DeGroff
The Savoy Cocktail Book
Cocktails of the Ritz Paris by Colin Field


The Craft of the Cocktail is a comprehensive book and worth having.

The Savoy Cocktail Book I bought because of the key role played the Savoy Hotel in the early cocktail days. A classic book but it rarely leaves the shelf.

Cocktails of the Ritz Paris deserves special mention.
Not only are the recipes great, but the book has a lot of charming stories about how these drinks were conceived and about the bar and its customers.
A real gem with a unique atmosphere!

#74 ThinkingBartender

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Posted 04 January 2007 - 05:33 AM

The Savoy Cocktail Book I bought because of the key role played the Savoy Hotel in the early cocktail days. A classic book but it rarely leaves the shelf.


Sorry to be a stickler for details here, but the cocktail's "early days" were in the early 1800s.

#75 Soren Nielsen

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Posted 04 January 2007 - 09:54 AM

Very well. As I am sure you know, I was referring to when cocktails became popular - during US prohibition where the American Bar had substantial influence. Regardless, it's not a book I'd recommend.

#76 tkd7

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Posted 04 January 2007 - 10:30 AM

Very well. As I am sure you know, I was referring to when cocktails became popular - during US prohibition where the American Bar had substantial influence. Regardless, it's not a book I'd recommend.

View Post


I disagree. It wouldn't be the book I use to start my library, but I would recommend it for an intermediate collection. It is useful to see cocktail recipes that are lost or changed. I sometimes get bored with my usuals and will seek out something new (which is old). I can go out to a bar to get the new creations, it is much harder to get the retro ones.

#77 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 04 January 2007 - 03:08 PM

I know Sam Kinsey does not agree with the recipe for the Pegu Club in this book. However, I don't think Sam has ever chewed up a copy of it in protest

No. But, on the bright side, when I ran into the estimable doctor at Pegu Club recently, I was able to give him shit about it in person. :smile:

View Post

So out of curiosity, what did the Doctor have to say in his defense? That particular recipe has always puzzled me.

Also, where has that guy gone to? He hasn't posted on this or any forum in months! What gives? I'm sad :-\

Hope he's writing another book or something.

-Andy
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#78 slkinsey

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Posted 04 January 2007 - 03:24 PM

Doc's a busy, busy man. I was able to glean that a follow-up book may be in the making.
Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

#79 ThinkingBartender

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 03:35 AM

Once again "cocktails became popular", once again early 1800s; cocktails were being drunk morning, noon, and night. If thats not popular (as well as dangerous) then I don't know what is. Prohibition was a reaction to the manic-popularity of cocktails and drinking in general in the US.

After Prohibition people were drinking worse stuff than they had before, and most of the distilleries had closed down. In addition, I am still looking for a certified Classic cocktail that came out of Prohibition. No luck yet, though the Last Word might be the one I am looking for.


Cheers!

George

#80 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 08:33 AM

In addition, I am still looking for a certified Classic cocktail that came out of Prohibition. No luck yet, though the Last Word might be the one I am looking for.

View Post


Sidecar doesn't fit the bill? Or do you mean something actually invented in America?

It's interesting to call the Last Word a classic, since it was only rediscovered as a drink worth making in the past few years. Before that it was no more classic than all the other weird drinks you see in books from the era. I must personally admit to not being the hugest fan of the drink (maraschino rarely does much for me, donno why), but I can see the merit of it regardless. However, did it really 'stand the test of time' the way even the lowly Alexander has? No contest, of course, as to which is the more interesting drink, but I think if you had entered a bar anywhere between 1927 (give or take) and 2007 and ordered an Alexander, you would have gotten something resembling an Alexander. Last word? of course not. Unfortunately Old Fashioneds and Manhattans usually fail this test of classic, but at least the bartender probably has heard of it.

Now the Sidecar, that's as classic as anything ever was.

-Andy
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#81 slkinsey

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 08:41 AM

Two things about the Sidecar.

1. As far as I know, the first printed recipes for a Sidecar appeared in 1922. If we assume that the drink was invented perhaps a few years earlier (a reasonable assumption, I think) then that would put it outside of the Prohibition years (1920 - 1933).

2. Also as far as I know, the Sidecar was created in Europe, not the United States. This would not make it a "Prohibition cocktail." There are any number of good cocktails created in Europe during the Prohibition era (the Golden Dawn comes to mind).
Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

#82 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 09:05 AM

Forgot about the 1922 recipe.

Sidecar aside, what about the diaspora of American bartenders that Prohibition caused? It seems like it would be easy to argue that any drink created at an 'American Bar' in London, Paris, or whatever, was still a 'Prohibition Cocktail.' These guys took their traditions and expertise to places with different influences and were able to come up with stuff that may never have been created otherwise, either in Europe (or Latin America), or in the US. And even if the drink was created by a British bartender, in the UK, surely his level of innovation was to satisfy the thirst of his American expatriate customers, for whom a pint just would not do. Of course I have immense respect for bartenders worldwide, not trying to minimize anyone's contributions, but I do think it is important to remember that the effects of Prohibition were felt worldwide. Well, at least in the drinking world.

-Andy
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#83 slkinsey

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 09:18 AM

This is getting off the topic, so if we would like to continue I'll split out some posts and make a new thread.


Anyway... I think that when people speak of "Prohibition Cocktails" or "cocktails that came out of Prohibition," I think they are thinking of cocktails invented in America during the period from 1920 to 1933. For some reason, this era is imprinted upon the popular imagination as a great era in the cocktailian craft, when in fact all signs point to it being a terrible era and the beginning of a long decline that we are only beginning to turn around in recent times. I wouldn't call a cocktail invented in, say, London in 1928 a "Prohibition Cocktail."
Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

#84 ThinkingBartender

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 02:42 PM

In addition, I am still looking for a certified Classic cocktail that came out of Prohibition. No luck yet, though the Last Word might be the one I am looking for.

View Post


Sidecar doesn't fit the bill? Or do you mean something actually invented in America?

It's interesting to call the Last Word a classic, since it was only rediscovered as a drink worth making in the past few years. Before that it was no more classic than all the other weird drinks you see in books from the era. I must personally admit to not being the hugest fan of the drink (maraschino rarely does much for me, donno why), but I can see the merit of it regardless. However, did it really 'stand the test of time' the way even the lowly Alexander has? No contest, of course, as to which is the more interesting drink, but I think if you had entered a bar anywhere between 1927 (give or take) and 2007 and ordered an Alexander, you would have gotten something resembling an Alexander. Last word? of course not. Unfortunately Old Fashioneds and Manhattans usually fail this test of classic, but at least the bartender probably has heard of it.

Now the Sidecar, that's as classic as anything ever was.

-Andy

View Post


Yes, it was meant to be referring to my quest for a prohibition era drink that was invented on US soil.

And you are correct with the Last Word it is a modern-classic, from an old book.

#85 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 03:34 PM

I think this would be a fascinating discussion to split off, if the topic hasn't already been resolved.
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#86 dietsch

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Posted 25 January 2007 - 07:54 PM

Hi all,

This is my first post, although I've lurked here a while. I've wanted to post before, but I haven't really been sure I had anything to add to the conversation, aside from asking a bunch of questions you might have already heard before.

Anyway, my awesome wife and I are celebrating our first wedding anniversary and since we spent our wedding weekend steeped in good food and drink (Flatiron, Pegu Club, and Marlow and Sons), we've been returning to some of our crime scenes and also finding other fun ways to celebrate great drinks.

To that end, Jen found something online that made her jaw drop, and mine, when she told me about it:

A first edition of Embury's The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks, and here's the fun part--it cost less than a bottle of Old Potrero. Apparently the seller didn't quite know what they had.

Embury 1948 for my anniversary; the pressure's really on me now for Valentine's Day!

:wub:
Michael Dietsch
adashofbitters.com

#87 johnder

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Posted 25 January 2007 - 08:08 PM

Hi all,

This is my first post, although I've lurked here a while. I've wanted to post before, but I haven't really been sure I had anything to add to the conversation, aside from asking a bunch of questions you might have already heard before.

Anyway, my awesome wife and I are celebrating our first wedding anniversary and since we spent our wedding weekend steeped in good food and drink (Flatiron, Pegu Club, and Marlow and Sons), we've been returning to some of our crime scenes and also finding other fun ways to celebrate great drinks.

To that end, Jen found something online that made her jaw drop, and mine, when she told me about it:

A first edition of Embury's The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks, and here's the fun part--it cost less than a bottle of Old Potrero. Apparently the seller didn't quite know what they had.

Embury 1948 for my anniversary; the pressure's really on me now for Valentine's Day!

:wub:

View Post


Wow, that indeed is a good deal. Considering it cost me close over a c-note for my hard cover second edition, and that was after weeks of looking.

Congrats! Did they have any other good cocktail books? :blink:
John Deragon

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#88 dietsch

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Posted 25 January 2007 - 09:01 PM

Congrats!  Did they have any other good cocktail books?    :blink:


Doesn't look like this particular vendor specializes in food or drink, which is probably why they underpriced Embury.

Maybe if we watch them carefully, one of us can get Savoy for a sawbuck!
Michael Dietsch
adashofbitters.com

#89 JerseyRED

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Posted 25 January 2007 - 10:18 PM

Hi all,

This is my first post, although I've lurked here a while. I've wanted to post before, but I haven't really been sure I had anything to add to the conversation, aside from asking a bunch of questions you might have already heard before.

Anyway, my awesome wife and I are celebrating our first wedding anniversary and since we spent our wedding weekend steeped in good food and drink (Flatiron, Pegu Club, and Marlow and Sons), we've been returning to some of our crime scenes and also finding other fun ways to celebrate great drinks.

To that end, Jen found something online that made her jaw drop, and mine, when she told me about it:

A first edition of Embury's The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks, and here's the fun part--it cost less than a bottle of Old Potrero. Apparently the seller didn't quite know what they had.

Embury 1948 for my anniversary; the pressure's really on me now for Valentine's Day!

:wub:

View Post


Wow, that indeed is a good deal. Considering it cost me close over a c-note for my hard cover second edition, and that was after weeks of looking.

Congrats! Did they have any other good cocktail books? :blink:

View Post


Better yet, does your bride have a sister?!

I kid, I kid. :wink:
"The only time I ever said no to a drink was when I misunderstood the question."
Will Sinclair

#90 eje

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 05:40 PM

Larousse Cocktails
Fernando Castellon
French Edition published in 2004, Published in Great Britain in 2005*

The book is primarily divided by type of alcohol used, with sections for Vodka, Gin, Whisky, Rum, Tequila, Brandy, Champagne, Other, and Non-Alcoholic.

It also includes a number of recipes for Cocktail snacks.

Each type of alcohol section is divided into, "Dry Cocktails", "Thirst Quenching Cocktails," "Fruit Based Cocktails," "Liqueur Based Cocktails," and "Smooth Cocktails".

A section on the history of Cocktails is interesting, focussing on the bartenders of each epoch. He also adds the rather unique feature of "A Chronological Overview" of cocktail recipes included in the book, as much as possible giving credit to the bartender or cocktail enthusiasts who created the cocktails. As with any historical endeavor, the history and attribution is sometimes questionable, or has been shown to be incorrect since the publication of the book.

On the cocktail philosophy front, the author divides cocktails into three primary components, "base," "modifier," and "flavouring and colouring agents" and gives the three conditions necessary for a successful cocktail as "taste," "apperance," and "the name". He doesn't go beyond that to talk about the spirit in which to present a cocktail successfully or any details about his experience behind the bar or as a cocktail consultant.

The obligatory "Cocktail Preparation" section is well written and illustrated.

The recipes are given using "measures" and fractions, and sometimes teaspoons. For example, the Cosmopolitan is given as: 1 measure vodka, 1/2 measure cranberry juice, 1 teaspoon fresh lime, 1 teaspoon curacao. All recipes are illustrated with a full color picture of the cocktail presented in appropriate glassware.

There are not many unusual ingredients called for. A well stocked bar or home bar shouldn't have too much trouble making the recipes included. Fresh juices are recommended. Aside from Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge, very few specific brands are given in recipes (aside from the ubiquitous ones, like Campari.)

The sections which stood out the most to me were the Champagne cocktails and non-alcoholic cocktails. Many more nice looking examples of those two categories here than in any other cocktail book I've seen.

A very nice illustrated section called, "For Greater Insight," follows the main book, including detailed sections on the manufacture of most of the spirits and liqueurs, a glossary of bar terms, and an extensive bibliography. Beyond the simple alphabetical index, he includes an index of cocktails by their main ingredient and a unique index of cocktails by their "appropriate time of drinking".

On the whole, I find it a useful; but, not entirely compelling resource. The author's writing style is quite dry. The pictures, while well done, are not exciting. Very few cocktails are exceptionally garnished beyond the lovely glassware or presented in any context beyond a light box.

One of the main advantages to the book, though, is the inclusion of a number of cocktail recipes created by bartenders in England or Europe. Many of these, like Bradsell's Bramble and Treacle, are only now beginning to show up on American bar menus. It is great to have the recipes for these, and many others, as a reference.

---

*By the way, I am still slightly confused, and wondering if the English and French versions of the book are the same. There appears to have been another book published in French under the same name in 1995 by an author named Jaques Salle. Neither Salle, nor that edition of the book are mentioned anywhere that I've found in this edition.

Edited by eje, 03 March 2007 - 05:54 PM.

---
Erik Ellestad
If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...
Bernal Heights, SF, CA





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