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Cocktail Books: The Topic


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#91 Vesper Lynd

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Posted 04 March 2007 - 08:15 PM

I think there's something to be said for any book that inspires one. For me, it was Paul Harrington's Cocktail: The Drinks Bible for the 21st Century. It wasn't the first cocktail book I owned, and, objectively speaking, it may not be the best, but it was what really got me started making new drinks. It holds a special place on my shelves because of that.



I couldn't agree more. There are many superb cocktail books on the market, but Paul Harrington's Cocktail: The Drinks Bible for the 21st Century holds a special place in my heart for being such a stylish and beautifully written volume. I'll never understand why it went out of print.

What is Paul Harrington up to these days?

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The mark of a good recipe book in our house is the number of sticky tabs protruding from the pages, marking favorite recipes, and our copy of Cocktail: The Drinks Bible for the 21st Century fairly bristles with sticky tabs :biggrin: Another fav. is The World's Best Bartenders' Guide by Scott & Bain.
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#92 varicose veins

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Posted 05 March 2007 - 09:40 AM

Hey guys, I realise this is quite an old topic so apologies if its becoming a tad tedious! :rolleyes:

I already own a number of cocktail books, but was wondering if anyone has anyone has any reccomendations for a book which has a good section on flavour pairings and flavour profiles (apart from Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking - legend!)

Doesn't necessarily have to be mixology orientated. Cheers!

#93 eje

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Posted 05 March 2007 - 09:53 AM

Hey guys, I realise this is quite an old topic so apologies if its becoming a tad tedious!  :rolleyes:

I already own a number of cocktail books, but was wondering if anyone has anyone has any reccomendations for a book which has a good section on flavour pairings and flavour profiles (apart from Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking - legend!)

Doesn't necessarily have to be mixology orientated. Cheers!

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The book on my list right now related to that subject is "Culinary Artistry" by Andrew Dornenburg.

I thought I remembered it recommended up topic; but, don't see it there. Perhaps it was on another website.

More recently, Dornenburg has written another book called, "What to Drink with what you Eat".

Would love to get comments from anyone who has read either book.
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#94 limewine

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Posted 05 March 2007 - 03:28 PM

I already own a number of cocktail books, but was wondering if anyone has anyone has any reccomendations for a book which has a good section on flavour pairings and flavour profiles (apart from Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking - legend!)

Doesn't necessarily have to be mixology orientated. Cheers!

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Sounds like "What to Drink with What You Eat," from Andrew Dornenberg and Karen Page, is exactly what you're looking for. Fairly new, it's a comprehensive review of different foods and dishes, and different drinks (ranging from tea to wine to spirits & cocktails) that match the flavors. It's a pretty exhaustive exploration of flavor pairing.

I wrote up a more detailed review a while back on my site.
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#95 varicose veins

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Posted 07 March 2007 - 04:29 PM

Just got my copies of Dornenburg's books through the door this morning, they look pretty good. Thanks for the advice guys, I'm looking forward to geeking through them at the weekend! xx

#96 eje

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Posted 30 April 2007 - 06:46 PM

Hip Sips: Modern Cocktails to Raise Your Spirits, by Lucy Brennan

This is a thin, pretty book. Brennan also has a gift for coming up with catchy one word cocktail names.

Unfortunately, for me, it doesn't have much else going for it. Too many recipes call for flavored spirits, which I don't typically have, or fruit purees, which I also don't usually have around.

There are a few "Sentimental Sips", or plain old cocktails; but, most of the recipes are balanced too far to the sweet side. For example, neither a sidecar nor a margarita should ever need an ounce of simple syrup.

So unless you can ransack the pastry station after the bakers go home, or have a personal mission to use every type of Cruzan flavored rum, I'd give it a skip.
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#97 dietsch

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Posted 30 April 2007 - 07:20 PM

There are a few "Sentimental Sips", or plain old cocktails; but, most of the recipes are balanced too far to the sweet side.  For example, neither a sidecar nor a margarita should ever need an ounce of simple syrup.

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I can't imagine using simple syrup in either a sidecar or margarita in the first place! Isn't that the place of the triple sec/Cointreau/curacao/Grand Marnier?
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#98 KatieLoeb

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Posted 30 April 2007 - 09:15 PM

You've all done it to me again. I just ordered the Dornenburg book.

Would that I weren't so easily lead, but I do like building up my professional library. It is a tax write-off after all. :wink:

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#99 bostonapothecary

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Posted 30 April 2007 - 10:19 PM

You've all done it to me again.  I just ordered the Dornenburg book.

Would that I weren't so easily lead, but I do like building up my professional library.  It is a tax write-off after all.  :wink:

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i use the dornenberg book "what to drink with what you eat" alot. i like parts of it and i don't like parts at the same time. i've gotten inspired by it many times. i'm trying to write a book about flavor chemistry from the perspective of a bartender and the transition from wine to cocktails. you can create so many great cocktails by making them function in the mouth in the same way a great wine functions.

a big problem with the book is that it gives so many service people ammunition to talk a good game, but they don't sit down and actually taste the interaction of things for themselves.
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#100 eje

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Posted 01 May 2007 - 08:52 PM

I can't imagine using simple syrup in either a sidecar or margarita in the first place! Isn't that the place of the triple sec/Cointreau/curacao/Grand Marnier?

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I guess I shouldn't be so hard on her.

Here are the sidecar and margarita recipes. They are not horrible, both basically 2-1-1, with the sidecar being slightly drier. Just very light on the orange liqueur.

Sidecar: 2 1/2 oz Korbel Brandy, 1/4 oz Cointreau, 1 oz Fresh Lemon-Lime Juice, 1 oz Simple Syrup
Margarita: 2 oz Sauza Hornitos tequila, 1/4 oz Patron Citronage, 1 oz Fresh Lemon-Lime Juice, 1 oz Simple Syrup

And there are some interesting ideas for "culinary cocktails". Beet infused vodka, for one, seemed particularly interesting.

It's just, I like to think I have a well stocked bar, and going through this book, aside from the few classic recipes, there are almost no cocktails I could make without making a trip to the gourmet market or liquor store.

But, then, I put homemade granita in my last mixology Monday cocktail, so who am I to talk?
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#101 Nathan

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Posted 02 May 2007 - 06:24 AM

that Margarita might work decently enough.

its the Sidecar that would be revolting.

#102 slkinsey

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Posted 02 May 2007 - 06:48 AM

Yea, a number of weird things there. What's the deal with lemon-lime juice? Is it her version of "fresh sour mix" once combined in equal parts with simple syrup? (This is, by the way, a good fresh substitute for sour mix should you come across a recipe that calls for it.) Why not use lime juice for the Margarita and lemon juice for the Sidecar? I agree with Nathan that lemon in a Margarita probably wouldn't be a deal-breaker, but lime in a Sidecar? Bleah.

What I don't understand is why she minimizes the role of orange liqueur in those cockails. Orange liqueur is an important part of both. One way to think about these recipes is to combine the triple sec and simple syrup into what would be an ounce and a quarter of low intensity, low alcoholic strength, shitty quality "triple sec." If you think of it that way, the ratios aren't horrible. They're both just a bit sweeter than 2:1:1. THe problem is that they're both missing out on the orange. Do you suppose this is the author's attempt to "focus the drink on the base spirit"?
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#103 Nathan

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Posted 02 May 2007 - 07:14 AM

I don't understand what the author is thinking.

besides lemon being tolerable in a margarita (sort of)...I think the margarita recipe would work better (I have no intention of trying these to find out) simply because to me orange is more necessary to the sidecar than the margarita (to me the margarita is a tequila forward drink (despite its origins in the sidecar) while brandy/cognac is the underlying foundation for the Sidecar...not the first flavor to hit your tongue....(which is why her recipe makes no methodological sense)

#104 bostonapothecary

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Posted 02 May 2007 - 09:55 AM

I don't understand what the author is thinking.

besides lemon being tolerable in a margarita (sort of)...I think the margarita recipe would work better (I have no intention of trying these to find out) simply because to me orange is more necessary to the sidecar than the margarita (to me the margarita is a tequila forward drink (despite its origins in the sidecar) while brandy/cognac is the underlying foundation for the Sidecar...not the first flavor to hit your tongue....(which is why her recipe makes no methodological sense)

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is the book's writer an authority that should be taken seriously or just some yahoo with a book?

i never waste my time with proportions that people propose. they are usually not ideal. when i read those books, i try to focus on the pairing concepts, what you tastee first, second, etc. or how it rolls across your tongue.

also unfortunately too many drinkers like margaritas i would consider badly made.... that is a big problem where i work. i'd like to think i could make many drinks to please even you people..... but the red necks i serve don't get it. they need the cloying and void of flavor or the especially one sided.....
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#105 eje

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Posted 02 May 2007 - 10:07 AM

There is very little in the book regarding the reasons she makes ingredient choices or her philosophies.

That is why I called it "slim" in the initial review.

She doesn't say why she chooses to use "Lemon-Lime Juice" in all citrus cocktails, just that it is "essential" to many "Hip Sips" cocktails, and freshness is important (though she says it is OK to use high quality, organic, bottled juices.)

Her bio goes as follows:

Lucy Brennan is the owner of Mint and 820, a popular restaurant and adjacent bar in Portland, Oregon, known for her signature drinks.  She has been at the forefront of the recent cocktail revolution, incorporating fruit, herbs, and other foods into her unique and delicious cocktails.  Bon Appetit touts her as one of the top ten mixologists in the country.


The focus of the book is definitely not the "classics". The "Sentimental Sips" chapter is the last one and only includes 20 cocktails. As a "cocktail classicist," (or "picky bastard,") I have issues with probably 15 out of those 20 recipes, in either ingredients or method.

From what I can tell, she is most well known for things like her "Avocado Daiquiri": 2 oz Silver Rum, 2 oz Gold Rum, 1/4 Avocado, 1/2 oz half-and-half, 1/4 oz Lemon-Lime Juice, 2 oz Simple Syrup, 1 1/2 cups cocktail ice cubes, Pomegranate Syrup for garnish. Blend until smooth.

Is it a boozy cold soup? Alcoholic smoothie? Why is it called a Daiquiri?
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#106 KatieLoeb

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Posted 02 May 2007 - 11:33 AM

Why is it called a Daiquiri?


Seems the coincidental inclusion of rum, lime and simple make it a "daiquiri".

I'm all for the idea of savory cocktails. I once did a saffron-vanilla martini. But the avocado and pomegranate combo I'm skeptical about. I'd have to taste that to believe it's good.

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#107 slkinsey

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Posted 02 May 2007 - 11:36 AM

I have to assume she calls it a Daiquiri because it includes rum and is a slushy ice drink (which is what 99% of America thinks a Daiquiri is).
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#108 slkinsey

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Posted 02 May 2007 - 11:41 AM

FWIW, Lucy Brennan is no slouch. Here is her bio and here is the drink menu from her place in Oregon.
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#109 bostonapothecary

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Posted 02 May 2007 - 11:48 AM

omg. 2 oz. of simple syrup.... i'm sweet enough....

i wonder if the author reads egullet and can enlighten us to the theory of the recipes.

aligator pears are cool. it might be more fun to make a drink that specifically paired with them in some sort of tapas.... some ingredients are not meant to go in drinks but rather along side them IMO.... salty rich guacamole interacting with a nice "zero dosage" cocktail.... sign me up!
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#110 eje

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Posted 02 May 2007 - 11:52 AM

FWIW, Lucy Brennan is no slouch.  Here is her bio and here is the drink menu from her place in Oregon.

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Taking a quick look at the cocktail menu, it appears most, if not all, are in the book.

The Pomegranate, by the way, is just a drizzled garnish, like they do in coffee shops, not a major flavor component of the Daiquiri.

There's a picture included on the recipe on epicurious:

Avocado Daiquiri
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#111 slkinsey

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Posted 02 May 2007 - 12:06 PM

omg. 2 oz. of simple syrup.... i'm sweet enough....

That's for two big slushy drinks. Not so much, when you consider that low temperatures inhibit perceptions of sweetness.
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#112 bostonapothecary

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Posted 02 May 2007 - 12:30 PM

omg. 2 oz. of simple syrup.... i'm sweet enough....

That's for two big slushy drinks. Not so much, when you consider that low temperatures inhibit perceptions of sweetness.

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the list isn't horrible. it is just alot of kitsch.....fake flavors. a billion purees. all toned down for simple audience. there is a couple places like that in boston. the bartenders make serious loot slinging lame stuff. but behind it all are often fairly serious about the stuff they personally drink....

serious bartending doesn't always have the greatest economics. it sucks to try and make intense, beautiful cocktails when you have a service bar that buries you while also trying to serve four course meals....

good looking out on the simple syrup i was worried for a minute....

this is all making me thirsty, punt e mes on the rocks then lunch.....
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#113 Chris Amirault

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Posted 30 May 2007 - 01:56 PM

Just got Ted Haigh's Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails and Dale DeGroff's The Craft of the Cocktail, both of which seem outstanding. I sought but could not find a copy of David Wondrich's Esquire Drinks for less than a benjamin. Anyone got sources out there?
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#114 Kent Wang

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Posted 30 May 2007 - 07:58 PM

Is the original (1956) Esquire Drinks completely different from the Wondrich version? The original can be hand for less than $10, is it worth getting at that price?

#115 limewine

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Posted 30 May 2007 - 09:38 PM

Is the original (1956) Esquire Drinks completely different from the Wondrich version? The original can be hand for less than $10, is it worth getting at that price?

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Yes, and yes.

Mr. Wondrich refines and updates the Esquire approach to drinks, but the 1956 version is very worthwhile, with more recipes than the more recent version, along with extensive spirits notes and a wonderful style that really evokes its era. A steal at $10, or twice that.
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#116 eje

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Posted 30 May 2007 - 09:47 PM

Is the original (1956) Esquire Drinks completely different from the Wondrich version? The original can be hand for less than $10, is it worth getting at that price?

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It's a fun book, great 50s style line drawings, and amusing copy.

Includes a section at the back called "365 excuses for a Party".

May 30 is "Decoration Day."

Apropos the discussion in the "Understanding Bewildering US State Liquor Laws" topic, May 31 is the "Anniversary of the Johnstown Flood."

Certainly worth $10 for the calendar alone!

edit - By the way, the slightly more well known Esquire Book is the 1949, "Handbook for Hosts". Unfortunately, I don't have that one yet.

Edited by eje, 30 May 2007 - 09:51 PM.

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#117 Kent Wang

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Posted 30 May 2007 - 10:13 PM

For those wondering, I used AddAll.com to find that Amazon has several copies for around $6-12. AddAll couldn't find any of the Wondrich edition for less than $100 though.

#118 Chris Amirault

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Posted 03 June 2007 - 07:02 AM

Found DeGroff's by making a few phone calls to eGulleteer-approved liquor stores. Thanks, all!

While digging around at yard sales yesterday I found Trader Vic's Bartender's Guide for a quarter. It's the 1972 revision of the 1947 original, and it's a hoot. I'm wondering if anyone out there has a bead on some interesting concoctions from there.
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#119 mbanu

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Posted 03 June 2007 - 10:46 AM

Found DeGroff's by making a few phone calls to eGulleteer-approved liquor stores. Thanks, all!

While digging around at yard sales yesterday I found Trader Vic's Bartender's Guide for a quarter. It's the 1972 revision of the 1947 original, and it's a hoot. I'm wondering if anyone out there has a bead on some interesting concoctions from there.

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The Revised Bartender's Guide is a good one. The one downside is that it relies on commercial mixes for some drinks that would do better without them.

As for suggestions, the Mai Tai for certain. Arawak Cocktail if you like Manhattan-style drinks. Lichee Nut Daiquiri if you like frozen drinks. One of his coffee drinks if you like hot stuff. The Tortuga if you like over-the-top drinks. Trader Vic also did a lot of fun stuff with tequila, surprisingly. Acapulco Gold, Durango, El Diablo, Jayco, and the Sonora Daiquiri are all worth a look at least.

Happy mixing! :)

Edited by mbanu, 03 June 2007 - 10:47 AM.


#120 eje

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Posted 12 July 2007 - 12:49 PM

Just finished Jeff "Beachbum" Berry's new book "Sippin' Safari".

Downsides: Too Short. Difficult to find ingredients
Upsides: Colorful stories, great vintage photos, delicious sounding drinks

It's really more of a story of the people behind the bar than about tiki drinks.

It does include about 70 recipes, or so, with plenty of advice in the appendix about appropriate ingredients and substitutions. Some never published before, and many are direct from the "black books" of the great bartenders of that era.

If you have any interest in things tiki, or that drinking culture, I highly recommend it.
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