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Cocktail Books: The Topic

361 posts in this topic

Okay, the cooking forum has one! :biggrin:

Some books are fluff and not much more than a coffee table, pretty and glossy dust collector. Not that those do not have their own valued or deserved place within one's collection(s)... they do! Other books are fantastic resources for both the home mixologist and professional barkeep. Hence, all the above were inspiration to get the thread a'rollin.

Another part of this came from the *glee* I felt yesterday when I unearthed the 1993 edition of a book I loaned out in 1996! It is 501 Questions Every Bartender Should Know How to Answer, a Unique Look at the Bar Business by Robert Plotkin. It was purchased directly from the man himself at the Vegas Bar Show. While I eagerly reopen it to read once again, I do realise that perhaps some of the info may be dated.... Meh. What's not to enjoy with sections on product knowledge (liquors, liqueurs, beers and wines), mixology (who, what, why, etc.), "Alcohol IQ," questions for seasoned pros and then on-premise bartending tests for entry, intermediate and advanced levels. Mmmm. Good stuff.

Another recommendation is Champagne Cocktails, Including recipes, quotes, lore, and a directory of the world's poshes lounges by Anistatia Miller, Jared Brown and Don Gatterdam (1999).

It even includes food preparations and recipes, such as Champagne Fondue, Steak au Champagne and Champagne Zabaglione.

"Fizziology"

I know there are a bunch of recommendations throught the 360+ threads here on the cocktail forum, and a I have a few myself, but which books are your faves?

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I still use the list of drinks from NSM's infamous cocktail parties! I bought the 'Boston' guide in 1978 and never used it very much. I drag out Dale De Groff's 'Craft of the Cocktail' each weekend and look for something new to try. The photos inspire me and we've tried some new and very good drinks thanks to this book.


KathyM

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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.

Since then, I've been inspired by others, including Gary and Mardee's New Classic Cocktails, and more recently, Gary's Joy of Mixology. I especially love the charts in Gary's book, which categorize drinks by "family."

De Groff's book is wonderful, but I'm sorry to say that I just haven't been personally touched by it in the same way. (Am I totally twisted in admitting that I've been personally touched by cocktail books?) Maybe if it had been the first "serious" cocktail book I owned, it would hold that place for me.

And I have to say that ever since I heard that Doc has a forthcoming book, I'm dying to get it when it comes out. And I'm not just saying that because he's going to read this.


Janet A. Zimmerman, aka "JAZ"
Manager
jzimmerman@eGullet.org
eG Ethics signatory
Author, The Healthy Pressure Cooker Cookbook and All About Cooking for Two

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No wait, Janet -- don't worry I promise not to read your post just to keep things on the up-and-up, ok?

Perfect.

Actually, since I started this interest, really, in the late 60s -- and none of the revival books would appear for another 20 years -- MY first book was Patrick Gavin Duffy's Official Mixer's Manual, a 1948 Permabook reprint of the 1934 original. No purty pictures, just recipes and commentary that seemed SOOO alien to me - and yet so redolent of the society movies of the 1930s. I STUDIED that book. I pored over it. It informed the tosspot I was yet to become!

Again, --Doc.

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MY first book was Patrick Gavin Duffy's Official Mixer's Manual, a 1948 Permabook reprint of the 1934 original.

That's funny--that was my first cocktail book, too, only mine was the cheap Pocket Books version, revised by James Beard, and the year was around 1980. I've still got it, somewhere, dog-ears, ring-stains and all.


aka David Wondrich

There are, according to recent statistics, 147 female bartenders in the United States. In the United Kingdom the barmaid is a feature of the wayside inn, and is a young woman of intelligence and rare sagacity. --The Syracuse Standard, 1895

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Yeah? I remember that edition too. Beard lent just that microscopic air of modernity to the book before it finally simply collapsed under the weight of all those cobwebs.

Remember Permabooks? They took a cheap paperback sans cover and slapped a paper-covered thick cardboard cover over it. Presto! It's a hardback!

--Doc.

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By now, we of course all have a copy of Gary's "The Joy of Mixology", but there are of countless other books out there worth picking up, some old, some new. The old books are of course often the hardest to find, our salvation comes when somebody chooses to do a reprint of one of the old favorites, or better yet, when they do a faithful facimile edition.

The oldest book of bartender recipes is Jerry Thomas's 1862 "Bar Tenders Guide or How To Mix Drinks". While this book was reprinted several times, to the best of my knowledge a facimile reprint was never available... until now.

I just noticed that New Day Publishing is offering copies of this on their site, along with "The Stork Club Bar Book", and "The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book".

http://www.oldwaldorfastoriabarbook.com

I've already picked up copies of the other two books, and was quite happy with the quality and faithfulness of the reproduction. So I've just now ordered several copies of JT's book.

(Note: Their site is doing some strange things with frames which will cause problems for IE users who try to place an order. To avoid this problem you should use this link for placing an order via PayPal: http://www.oldwaldorfastoriabarbook.com/pages/5/page5.html)

I am not in any way associated with New Day Publishing, I am just passing this information on because I think the opportunity to get a facimile copy of JT's book is not something to pass up.

-Robert

[Edited to fix ordering link]


Edited by DrinkBoy (log)

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MY first book was Patrick Gavin Duffy's Official Mixer's Manual, a 1948 Permabook reprint of the 1934 original.

That's funny--that was my first cocktail book, too, only mine was the cheap Pocket Books version, revised by James Beard, and the year was around 1980. I've still got it, somewhere, dog-ears, ring-stains and all.

mine as well except my copy is edited by Robert Jay Milch. I think I got it about 25 years ago. Some one gave an early edition of "Mr. Boston's" to me a while back that I enjoy just b/c of some of the cocktail receipts & illustrations are, to put it best, quaint.

I also appreciate getting books about the history of cocktails as opposed to just cocktail receipts. There are several on martinis and whisk(e)y that I thoroughly enjoy.


in loving memory of Mr. Squirt (1998-2004)--

the best cat ever.

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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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Re: Paul Harringon and "Cocktail: The Drinks Bible of the 21st Century"

Viking Press, the folks who published this book, only published 10,000 copies, and didn't publisize it AT ALL. They also didn't see any reason to publish additional copies, once the first 10,000 were sold (which happened relatively quicky). They just didn't understand what they had. Paul has been trying to locate a new publisher.

These days, Paul lives in Eastern Washington, and is currently working as an Architect, with only a partial connection to bartending.

-Robert

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Well, bless him. He's raking it in as an architect, and that's good.

STILL.....I hope he doesn't abandon his hunt for a new pubisher. In a just universe, that book would be in its third printing by now. (Besides which, it's a nice gift, and I'm sick of buying it from used-book sellers at quadrupel the price!)

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Gary Reagans Joy of Mixology -- I don't open the others anymore, and might send them to the Goodwill.

However...

There was a slim 2-volume, slip-cased book set my parents had that I could not find when I packed up their house. It was (I think) circa 1920, and definitely Brittish. Anyway, volume 1 was on "Cookery" (mostly curries, and definitely colonial India) and volume 2 was on mixology.

It had useful instructions in it like, "Have your manservant shake the beaker exactly 19 times..." and so on. It was a riot.

Has anyone else ever seen one of these sets or know the name?

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There was a slim 2-volume, slip-cased book set ... circa 1920 ... volume 1 was on "Cookery" ... volume 2 was on mixology...

Has anyone else ever seen one of these sets or know the name?

You are thinking of "The Gentleman's Companion" a set of books written by Charles H. Baker "Volume I Being an Exotic Cookery Book", "Volume II Being an Exotic Drinking Book".

This is a -wonderful- book, and you can often find it for sale on eBay. But another option would be to buy the newly (2001) reprinted version of this book. Going by the name "Jigger, Beaker, and Glass : Drinking Around the World"

Here is a link to it on amazon: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1586670506

They also have the cooking volume, titled "Knife, Fork, and Spoon : Eating Around the World"

Mr. Baker also wrote a companion to the companion called "South American Gentlemans Companion", two books, slipcased, but "blue" instead of "red".

-Robert

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Try David Embury's The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks. It's a great guide to understanding how a great drink is crafted. although out of print now, you can still find copies online.

I also enjoy Maria Costantino's The Cocktail Handbook. There is a picture of every drink in the book, which is sometimes all the inspiration I need.

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Admin: Topics merged

My apologies if a similar thread is buried somewhere (I couldn't seem to find it), but the thread on Dr. Cocktail's book started me thinking about my own collection of cocktail books.

Here are my favorites; I'm curious as to what I'm missing:

...in no particular order...

The Craft of the Cocktail, Dale DeGroff

Mixologist: the Journal of the American Cocktail

Straight Up or on the Rocks, William Grimes

Cocktail, Paul Harrington

Esquire Drinks, David Wondrich

Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails, Ted Haigh

Jigger, Beaker and Glass, Charles Baker Jr.

I also just purchased:

The Stork Club Bar Book, Lucius Beebe

The Bartender's Guide, Jerry Thomas

The Joy of Mixology, Gary Regan

So, what "must haves" are I missing?

Marty


Marty McCabe

Boston, MA

Acme Cocktail Company

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That's a pretty impressive list.

The only ones I can think of to add are The Savoy Cocktail and the Old Waldorf Bar book.

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"American Bar:by Charles Schumann is a handy little book. Plus research at PEGU, or any time watching a superb barkeep. This helps also http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?act=SF&s=&f=70


Edited by M.X.Hassett (log)

Matthew Xavier Hassett aka "M.X.Hassett"

"Cocktail is a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters-it is vulgarly called bittered sling and is supposed to be an exellent electioneering potion..."

- Balance and Columbian Repository. May 13, 1806

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So, what "must haves" are I missing?

You're definitely missing The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks by David A. Embury. I wouldn't pay the $200+ that most online vendors seem to want for it, however.

There's something to be said for the Bartender's Guide by Trader Vic, and Tom Bullock's The Ideal Bartender is, most fortuitously, available from Project Gutenberg.

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You've listed most of my favorites--I echo the need for Embury in your collection (some persistent digging at used book stores can still turn up affordable copies), and Trader Vic's Bartender's Guide and Book of Food and Drink are also nice to have around.

On the "must have" list, I'd include:

* Old Waldorf Bar Days, by Albert Stevens Crockett (as mentioned by J_Ozzy) - an invaluable glimpse into the world of drinking in what was one of the world's greatest pre-Prohibition bars

* Esquire's Handbook for Hosts (1949 edition) - enjoying the best of bachelor life in the post-War years

* Bottoms Up, by Ted Saucier - ok, maybe not a 'must have,' but an impressive collection of drink recipes from 1951; a nice snapshot of cocktail history.

* South American Gentleman's Companion - Charles Baker's companion set to his original, which contained Jigger, Beaker and Glass

* David Wondrich's Killer Cocktails - aside from Dr. Cocktail's book, the best drink-related thing to come out of 2004

While not 'must haves,' other books they'll have to pry out of my hands once I've gone to that great saloon in the sky include:

* On Drink, Kingsley Amis

* "Cocktail Bill" Boothby's World Drinks and How to Mix 'Em

* Bernard DeVoto's The Hour - perhaps the greatest (and most opinionated) treatise ever written on the significance of the cocktail hour and the dignity of drinking.

That said, if you've got the books by Wondrich, Grimes, Thomas & Haigh, you're off to an excellent start--


Paul Clarke

Seattle

The Cocktail Chronicles

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Just to second a selection from the first post, I must say that Regan's "The Joy of Mixology" is one of my personal favorites. I especially appreciate the charts that show which "family" a drink belongs to. The format is informative and engaging, and I plan to buy several more copies to use as gifts.


In vino veritas.

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Those are all fine, serious books.

How about the other side of cocktail culture.

Maybe a tiki book or two? Something by Jeff Berry?

-Erik


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Something by Jeff Berry?

-Erik

I'd never thought of the Grand Wizard on the American Knights of the KKK as a mixologist !!

But perhaps its a different Jeff Berry ?

Gethin

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What about The Cocktails of the Ritz Paris by Colin Peter Field?

This is a little gem of a book, which contains information about "the psychology of mixing drinks." Here are some things to ponder before making a cocktail:

"Before you set out to make a cocktail, you should ask yourself several questions:

1. Who is the person that I am making this cocktail for?

2. What are they celebrating?

3. What's their objective in having this cocktail?

4. What's my objective as the creator of this cocktail?"

Copyright © 2003 by Editions du Chêne


"Some ladies smoke too much and some ladies drink too much and some ladies pray too much, but all ladies think that they weigh too much."

From a poem by Ogden Nash - Curl Up and Diet

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i'm surprised noone mentioned "just cocktails" and "here's how" both by w.c. whitfield at three mountaineers press. both published after repeal of prohibition, both out of print, but fairly common in good shape as they were bound in wood.

very fun books


"I like to keep a bottle of stimulant handy in case I see a snake, which I also keep handy." -W.C. Fields

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