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Cocktail Books: The Topic


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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.


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.


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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.

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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?


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!


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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".


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.


[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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  • 10 months later...
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.


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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.


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".


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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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  • 7 months later...

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 McCabe

Boston, MA

Acme Cocktail Company

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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


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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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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      The temperature function was a lot closer to true when simply preheating an empty pan. With a setting of 350F, all the shiny stainless pans heated to just a few degrees higher (about 353-357F) and held there. This is useful for judging the Leidenfrost Point (which is the heat at which you can oil your SS and have it cook relatively nonstick) and potentially for “seasoning” carbon steel, SS and aluminum, but not much else, since it doesn’t translate to actual food temperature. There’s also the issue of the temperature settings *starting* at 285F, so holding a lower temperature for, e.g., tempering chocolate or a sous vide bath, or even a simmer would be by-guess-by-golly just like any other hob—your only resort is lots of experience with lower *power* settings.
      With heat-tarnished copper, a 350F setting resulted in a wide swinging between 353F and 365F, which I attribute to the copper shedding heat far faster than the other constructions, once the circuit stops the power at temperature. Then, when the circuit cycles the power back on, the copper is so responsive that it quickly overshoots the setting. Aluminum, on the other hand, *undershot*, the 350F setting, registering a cycle of 332-340F.

      I conclude that the IR sensor is set for some particular emissivity, probably for that of stainless steel. If true, the Panasonic, even though it automatically switches frequencies, does not compensate for the different emissivities of copper and aluminum. And even if Panasonic added dedicated aluminum and copper IR sensors, there is enough difference between dirty and polished that the added cost would be wasted. Bottom line here: the temperature setting mode is of extremely low utility, and should not be trusted.
      B. Power Mode – Pan Material Comparisons
      Given the differences in power setting granularity and maximum power between the two frequencies, it is difficult to assess what X watts into the pot means in, say, a copper-versus-clad or –disk showdown. What is clear, however, is that Setting X under disk and clad seems “hotter” than the same setting under copper and aluminum.

      I will need to precisely calibrate the Panasonic for wattage anyway for the hyperconductivity project, so I will obtain a higher-powered watt meter to determine the wattage of every power setting for both frequencies. Until then, however, the only way I can fairly handicap a race is to apply a reduction figure to the ferromagnetic setting (2400W being 69% of 3500W). Given that we know the wattage at the maximum settings, we can infer that Setting 14 (actually 13.8) on the 20-step ferromagnetic range iis approximately the same heat output as the maximum setting (18) for copper/aluminum.

      The boil times for 4 liters of 50F water in 10” diameter pots shocked me. The 10” x 3mm tinned copper pot’s water reached 211F in 36:41. Not an especially fast time at 2400 watts. The 10” disk-based pressure cooker bottom? Well, it didn’t make it—it took an hour to get to 208F and then hung there. So that left me wondering if the Panasonic engineers simply decided that 2400 watts was enough for copper and aluminum. I have a theory why the copper pot boiled and the SS one didn’t under the same power, but getting into that’s for another time.

      C. Evenness Comparisons
      The wires which generate the induction field are wound in a circular pattern; when energized, they create a torus-shaped magnetic field. The wound coil is constructed with an empty hole at its center. As matters of physics, the magnetic field’s intensity drops off extremely fast as a function of the distance from the coil; a few millimeters above the Ceran, the field is so weak no meaningful heat will be generated. This means that most induction cooktops heat *only* the very bottom of pans, and in a distinct 2-dimensional “doughnut” shape.

      All of the above can result in a pan having a cooler central spot, a hotter ring directly over the coil, and a cooler periphery outside the coil. It is left to the cookware to try to even out these thermal discontinuities when cooking. Some materials and pan constructions are better at this than others: the successful constructions utilize more highly-conductive metals such as aluminum and copper, but unless the material is very thick, there can be a ring-shaped hotspot that can scorch food.
      Until the Panasonic arrived to market, hotspot comparisons between ferromagnetic and aluminum/copper pans depended largely on comparing induction’s flat, more discrete heat ring with gas’s more diffuse, 3-dimensional one. Dodgeball-style debate ensued, with few clear conclusions. But now, for the first time, equally-powered flat heat rings in two different frequencies allow us to directly compare evenness in ferromagnetic and aluminum/copper cookware.

      The simplest and easiest way to assess cookware evenness is the “scorchprint”, which does not require infrared or other advanced thermal imaging equipment. I’ve posted on how to conduct scorchprinting elsewhere, but basically a pan is evenly dusted with flour; heat is applied to the pan bottom. As the flour is toasted, any hotspots visually emerge, giving the viewer a useful general idea of evenness.
      I will later post the photos of scorchprints I made of 4 different pans run using the Panasonic KY-MK3500: (1) a Demeyere 28cm Proline 5* clad frypan; (2) a Fissler Original Profi disk-base 28cm frypan; a 6mm aluminum omelet pan; and (4) a 32cm x 3.2mm Dehillerin sauté. To make it a fair race, I heated all the pans at 2400W until they reached 450F, and then backed off the power setting to maintain 450F. I did this in order not to compromise my saute’s tin lining. As you will see, both the clad Demeyere and the disk-based Fissler did print the typical brown doughnut, with a cooler center and periphery. By far the most even was the thick, all-aluminum pan, which actually was even over its entirety—even including the walls. The copper sauté was also quite even, although its larger size and mass really dissipated heat; once 450F was dialed in, no more browning happened, even after 30 minutes.
      I conclude that the straightgauge pans were far more effective at shunting heat to their peripheries and walls (and also to some extent into the air) than the clad and disk-based pans. The latter accumulated their heat with most of it staying in the center of the pans. Eventually, even the “doughnut hole” blended into the scorch ring because the walls were not bleeding sufficient heat away from the floor. This was especially pronounced in the Fissler, the high wall and rim areas of which never exceeded 125F. The aluminum pan, in contrast varied less than 30F everywhere on the pan.

      D. Other Considerations

      The Panasonic’s fan noise at the cook’s position was noticeable at 63 dBA, higher than with the VMP’s 57 dBA. These levels are characterized as “normal conversation” and “quiet street”, respectively. Interestingly, I found two other, potentially more important differences. First, the Panasonic’s fan stays on, even after the unit is powered off, whereas the VMP’s fan shuts off immediately when the hob is turned off. Second, the Panasonic’s fan steps down from the louder speed to a much quieter (47 dBA, characterized as “quiet home”) level until the Ceran is cool to sustained touch, at which point it shuts off completely. I think the Panasonic’s ability to continue to vent and cool itself is a great feature, especially since a cook could leave a large, full, hot pan on the glass.

      The glowing circle is useless for gauging heat setting or intensity. And while it works to indicate a hot surface, it remains lit long after you can hold your hand in place dead center.
      VI. Summary and Lessons
      The Panasonic KY-MK3500 is a solid unit, well-conceived and rugged. It is extremely easy to use. It works well with both the common 24kHz frequency used with ferromagnetic cookware, and the 90kHz frequency chosen here for copper and aluminum. It effectively and automatically switches between the two.

      In my opinion, it points the way to expanding the worldwide induction appliance market to include dual frequencies. It also obviates the need to: (a) junk otherwise excellent cookware merely to have induction; and (b) retrofit designs to bond on ferromagnetic outer layers. In fact, in my opinion, my tests indicate that, in a dual-frequency world, adding ferromagnetic bottoms may well be a drag on pans’ performance.
      I also consider the Panasonic Met-All to be ground-breaking in what it can tell us about *pans*, because all metallic pans are now commensurable on induction. Clearly (to me anyway), watt-for-watt, the copper and aluminum pans performed better than did the clad and disk-based pans on this unit. Boil times were faster, there was less propensity to scorch, and the conductive-sidewall pans definitely added more heat to the pans’ contents. We may ultimately find that 90kHz fields save energy compared to 24kHz fields, much as copper and aluminum require less heat on gas and electric coil.
      In terms of heat transfer, the copper and aluminum pans came close to emulating the same pans on gas. And at 2400W/3500W it has the power of a full size appliance in a relatively small tabletop package.
      The Panasonic is far from perfect, however. It can’t really be considered portable. There are far too few temperature settings, and what few it has are not accurate or consistent in terms of judging pan contents and attaining the same temperature in different pans (and even the same pan unless clean). The luminous ring could easily have been made a useful indicator of intensity, but wasn’t. And it lacks things that should be obvious, including a through-the-glass “button” contact thermocouple, more power granularity, an analog-style control knob, and capacity to accept an external thermocouple probe for PID control.
      Most importantly for me, the Panasonic KY-MK3500 portends more good things to come. Retail price remains $1,700-$2,400, but I jumped on it at $611, and I’ve seen it elsewhere for as low as $1,200.
      The manual can be found here: ftp://ftp.panasonic.com/commercialfoo...
      Photo Credit:  Panasonic Corporation

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