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Cocktail Books: The Topic

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I second Sam's choice for a great book. It is very illustrative and gives a good description of the required equipment you need for a proper bar.

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I prefer Regan's Joy of Mixology as an all-around book to Wondrich's. It has a wider selection of drinks, and is easier to browse than the oddly laid-out Killer Cocktails. Regan's categorization of drink families is also enlightening if you're interested in crafting your own cocktails.

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I agree with you. Joy definately contains more recipes and details about drinks, but Daves book definately has the pictures and humor going for it hence the recommendation for the first book. I agree about the binding of the book -- it is serious annoying. So much so that I cut the binding off the top and rebound the book at work on the side.

John

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The thing that I like about Dave's book for a beginner -- and where I think it has the advantage over Gary's (excellent) book in that regard -- is that it has a managably small number of recipes. Unlike any other book of which I am aware, I think a complete beginner could go through Dave's book, make around half of the cocktails therein (30 or so), and come out at the end well on the way to becoming a cocktail connoisseur. I'd rather share drinks with soomeone who had gone through Killer Cocktails as a cocktail beginner than someone who had been drinking Cosmopolitans and Fuzzy Navels for 10 years.

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Making cocktails is so much fun.  It is one of the few organileptic art forms.

You sent me to m-w

Good word and I agree.

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My first cocktail book was Craft of the Cocktail. It has fabulous photos of beautifully garnished drinks. Inspiring!

While not a book, I also use the cocktail section of Drink Boy quite a bit. When it comes down to picking a version of a drink from all the various recipes out there, we usually find Robert's versions to our liking. Gary's "Joy" is the second most used recipe source at our house.

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Admin: Threads merged.

I'm looking for books that can help me become a better bartender.

So I´m looking for books that has both classic recipes and new cocktails and a lot of educating information.

I really don't care about the price, I need good books that I can read again and again and again. My only demand is that the book can be shipped to Sweden.

I've looked around a bit, and this is what I've come up with:

the Savoy Cocktail Book

Mr. Boston Official Bartender's Guide

Dale DeGroff's Craft of the Cocktail

The Drinks Bible for the 21st Century, by Paul Harrington and Laura Moorhead

Gary Regan's The Bartender's Bible

Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails : From the Alamagoozlum Cocktail to the Zombie

Can someone help me with filling my list, what books are a "must have?"

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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 (log)

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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:

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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."

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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:

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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:

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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!

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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.

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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.

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