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Cocktail Books: The Topic

361 posts in this topic

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.

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.

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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:

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


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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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

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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.

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


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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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

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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


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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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

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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.

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

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.

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


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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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

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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:

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

foodblog 1 / 2

--

I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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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

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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:

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:

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

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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 (log)

---

Erik Ellestad

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

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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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?

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.


I should never have switched from Scotch to Martinis

~Alleged last words of Humphery Bogart.

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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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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!

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.


---

Erik Ellestad

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

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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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!

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.


Paul Clarke

Seattle

The Cocktail Chronicles

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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

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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.


---

Erik Ellestad

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

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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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.

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?


Michael Dietsch

adashofbitters.com

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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:


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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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:

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.


abstract expressionist beverage compounder

creator of acquired tastes

bostonapothecary.com

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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?

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?


---

Erik Ellestad

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

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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