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Cocktail Books: The Topic


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  • 2 weeks later...

Very much enjoying the new Dead Rabbit cocktail book. DR is still ahead of the game in a lot of ways—their use of tinctures, their incorporation of seasonal and savory herbs outside the California "salad in a glass" context, the rich flavorsome balance of their drinks. That said, if you think the tone of the Death & Co book skewed self-congratulatory (and I do)... ooh boy. Sean Muldoon didn't name his company The Best Bar In The World LLC for nothing.

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”In Demerara some of the rum producers have a unique custom of placing chunks of raw meat in the casks to assist in aging, to absorb certain impurities, and to add a certain distinctive character.” -Peter Valaer, "Foreign and Domestic Rum," 1937

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Finished The Dead Rabbit's book last night. It's good. You won't find any of the sections on tecnique, ingredients, running a bar, principles of crafting cocktails, &c that you'll find in more general interest cocktail tomes like the Death & Co or PDT books. What you'll get instead is recipes, and lots of them, all of them original, all of them elaborate and stylistically distinct from much else of what's going on in US bars. Jack McGarry's rococo style is right up my alley, and if you don't mind searching out specialized ingredients (eaux de vie, maidenfern) or making your own (so many tinctures) there's a lot of great drinks to make here. The only other substantial content in the book is an extensive self-mythologizing biography of the principals, which is... probably less interesting, to the general reader.

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”In Demerara some of the rum producers have a unique custom of placing chunks of raw meat in the casks to assist in aging, to absorb certain impurities, and to add a certain distinctive character.” -Peter Valaer, "Foreign and Domestic Rum," 1937

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just received Bitterman's Field Guide to Bitters and Amari.

It contains reviews (scores for aromatic level/bitterness/sweetness, descriptions, and recommended usages) for 500 bitters, plus 50 amari, a handful of recipes for homemade bitters and recipes for bitter/amari-based cocktails, savory dishes, and desserts, bitters history, and ingredients. I've only just skimmed through it but so far it's been both an enjoyable read and informative. He definitely doesn't hold back when he doesn't like something! Kudos for such an encompassing snapshot of the world of bitterness as it is today.

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I've been reading Cienfuegos' book, the inaptly named but otherwise appealing Cuban Cocktails. Not, as the name implies, a historical overview or summary of Cuban drinks, it actually reminds me quite a bit of the Death & Co book--an informative, lively selection of house recipes spiced up with history, bar lore, and great photographs, with sections on technique and ingredients aimed at novices and old hands alike. If you're worried that you're just in for a book of Daiquiri variations, worry not: there are lengthy chapters on stirred drinks, hot drinks, and complex punches along with the Daq variations and other sours.


I do have some nits to pick: for a drinks manual with "Cuban" in the title, the book does tend to default to St. Lucian and Guyanese rums for most of the recipes, with Spanish-style rum nearly excluded; some of the fine points of their history are either questionable or flat wrong; most egregiously, in what I can only assume is a typo, their recipe for the standard Daiquiri No. 1 specifies Maraschino liqueur rather than simple syrup or sugar, with no explanation accounting for the change (in a section venerating the "holy trinity" of rum, lime, and citrus, no less).


Still, the drinks themselves are delicious and intriguing, the presentation presentable, the called-for ingredients accessible, as opposed to the obscurities you'll find in books by Death & Co, PDT, or Dead Rabbit. Recommended.

Edited by Rafa (log)
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”In Demerara some of the rum producers have a unique custom of placing chunks of raw meat in the casks to assist in aging, to absorb certain impurities, and to add a certain distinctive character.” -Peter Valaer, "Foreign and Domestic Rum," 1937

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just finished the Experimental Cocktail Club book.

It weaves the back story of the various ECC establishments with a selection of drinks (gorgeously photographed) that have graced their menus. I particularly liked that they included a section towards the end highlighting drinks from friends and former staff who have gone off on their own paths; I thought it was a nice touch. Also of note is the Classics section, which presents established drinks alongside their in-house variations, explaining the tweaks and substitutions and providing some insight into their process.


I think this book slots in quite well as high-intermediate material.

One page near the back covers some quick pointers on technique.

Just under half of the drinks include some sort of homemade syrup (beyond simple, honey, orgeat or falernum), infusion, or tincture.

Homemade ingredients are described either as they are introduced in a drink, or in the longer recipe section at the end. 

Most of the homemade ingredients show up in more than one drink, and the longest has a lead time of 72 hours, keeping the investment of effort reasonable.


As learning material, I'd recommend it to someone who's solid on Morgenthaler's Bar Book, but might be overwhelmed if they jumped right into The Dead Rabbit or Death&Co.

I think its stands up well as a cocktail bar book in it's own way, since it's a multi-venue story rather than the history of a single space.

Edited by J_Ozzy (log)
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  • 1 month later...

Looking forward to the year ahead, I see a few interesting titles coming down the pipe:

Two Italian-focused narratives:

Spritz: Italy's Most Iconic Aperitivo Cocktail, with Recipes

Aperitivo: The Cocktail Culture of Italy

And 3 bartender-backed tomes:

Lift Your Spirits A Celebratory History of Cocktail Culture in New Orleans (Chris McMillian)

Smuggler's Cove: Exotic Cocktails, Rum, and the Cult of Tiki (Martin Cate)

The Canon Cocktail Book: Recipes from the Award-Winning Bar (Jamie Boudreau)

I'm particularly looking forward to the Canon book , since I haven't been able to find a copy of The Pacific Northwest Gentlemen's Companion

Edited by J_Ozzy (log)
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  • 3 weeks later...
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  • 3 months later...
On ‎6‎/‎12‎/‎2016 at 9:46 AM, J_Ozzy said:

Just noticed that Regarding Cocktails (Sasha Petraske) is getting a late October release.

Definitely going on my required reading list.


That one is on my list, and I just ordered Robert Simonson's ir?t=egulletcom-20&l=am2&o=1&a=160774754A Proper Drink about the cocktail renaissance.

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...and I already finished it! It is a quick & easy read. I was familiar with most of the material already, but I learned a few fun facts. eGullet is mentioned a few times, including its possible role in the spread of the Last Word's popularity across the US.

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  • 2 weeks later...

My local bookstore had a copy of it, so I was able to resist for about a second and a half... It is a collection of recipes for the most part, but there are some interesting stories interspersed. 






Edited by FrogPrincesse
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1 hour ago, FrogPrincesse said:

My local bookstore had a copy of it, so I was able to resist for about a second and a half... It is a collection of recipes for the most part, but there are some interesting stories interspersed. 


Recipes as in 'how to make amari'?  Much depends on your answer!

Leslie Craven, aka "lesliec"
Host, eG Forumslcraven@egstaff.org

After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relatives ~ Oscar Wilde

My eG Foodblog

eGullet Ethics Code signatory

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7 minutes ago, lesliec said:


Recipes as in 'how to make amari'?  Much depends on your answer!


Page 87 - 220 are cocktail recipes (with plenty of full-page pictures). Pages 223 - 233 have a small section on making your own amaro, with four recipes. 

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Well, at the rate old amaro's are being revived and new ones seem to get produced that is going to be out of date sometime yesterday!


Does look interesting though.

If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. ~Mark Twain

Some people are like a Slinky. They are not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs...


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On ‎10‎/‎3‎/‎2016 at 9:00 PM, FrogPrincesse said:

...and I already finished it! It is a quick & easy read. I was familiar with most of the material already, but I learned a few fun facts. eGullet is mentioned a few times, including its possible role in the spread of the Last Word's popularity across the US.


I brought home a copy tonight.  Looking forward to perusing it.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Prime reading season for me right now (Canon, Regarding Cocktails, and Tippling Bros all arrived in my mailbox in the same week). Canon arrived first, so that's what I've managed to tackle so far.


The Canon Cocktail Book: Recipes from the Award-Winning Bar (Jamie Boudreau & James O. Fraioli)

I very much enjoyed this book. It reminds me, in spirit, of a modern Harry Johnson's Bartenders' Manual, but weighted to more heavily to the drinks (to be fair, that original was a treatise for bars, restaurants and hotels, fully half its length an operator's manual).

It covers a lot of ground: tips on planning, opening and running a cocktail bar; core cocktail theory; high-end equipment and substitutes; carbonated, aged, and bottled cocktails; shrubs, infusions and tinctures; flavored foams, Fernet cookies and Chartreuse ice cream.

The drinks are nicely photographed, often alongside their vintage spirit or liqueur bottles. Drink descriptions helpfully explain less common ingredients, and (in the case of riffs) provide insight into the creative process behind them. The drinks are organized in broad categories, and stylistically run the gamut from elegant tweaks (Chrysanthemum #2) to playfully themed (The Elvis Ziggurat) to full mad scientist (Movie Night Float).

Refreshingly, outside of the "Over the Top" section, there are very few recipes that require much more preparation than an infused syrup. There is a mix of standard, advanced and exotic (brain rum!) prepared ingredients, including the always-appreciated house Picon substitute, Amer Boudreau. Some of the exotic preparations call for specialized equipment, but conventional workarounds are provided for the truly adventurous.

Outside of the drink recipes, the book provides a quality, high-level introduction on many craft cocktail topics. It doesn't delve nearly as deeply as some of the more specialized books (i.e. fundamental technique in Morgenthaler's Bar Book, or advanced wizardry as presented in Liquid Intelligence or The Cocktail Lab). It is instead an accessible, competent generalist, and an engaging read.

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Regarding Cocktails (Sasha Petraske with Georgette Moger-Petraske)

I never met Sasha Petraske, but knew of him by reputation and, much later, visits to his establishments.

(I hope he would forgive me the false familiarity of referring to him by his first name, but “Sasha” in cocktail circles is indelibly his).

I knew he was important to the cocktail bartending revival, but I never fully understood the degree of impact he had on the scene (both directly and through the people he fostered) in those critical early years. As recounted by those who knew and worked with him, Regarding Cocktails collects a series of guides, recipes and essays which serve as testament to his character and influence.

The sections authored by Sasha include instructions for setting up a home bar and successfully running a cocktail party; theory on garnishes; the Milk & Honey comp policy; a tantalizing intro to 'Cocktails For Your Cat'; and bookended, fittingly, by Milk & Honey's closing menu.

The recipes section, for me, really drove it home. 70+ elegant, dialed-in, formative classics and modern classics incubated through his beverage programs. Many of my favourite modern drinks (a number of whose origin I hadn't realized) saw first light under his tutelage. Each recipe is accompanied by graphical representation of the drink makeup, and accompanied by the story of its genesis (or perfection, in the case of classics) as told by people involved.

The guides section includes contributions from Wonderich and Alperin, among others, and covers a wide range of topics, providing a personal perspective on the man and (mostly) genuinely useful information.

Throughout the book, Moger-Petraske provides essays, anecdotes and quotes that bind the narrative together. I can't imagine the challenges tackling such a project, but I'm thankful that she did.

I am left with a deeper sense of appreciation for the man, his establishments and his extended bartending family. And a little (selfish) sadness that I'll never get to meet him.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've skimmed this thread (there is a lot of it) and it seems like a lot of books have been coming out so I figured I'd be best just asking - what is a good recipe book for a geek type new to cocktails? My friend is a bit of a foodie and now getting into cocktails also and I want to get him some supplies as a Christmas gift. I have Morganthaler's book on my list to look at in a store because it seems his style of geekery in the subject, but I thought some kind of reasonable reference recipe book would be helpful to have too. (I swear I had one bookmarked that I'd seen recommended, but now I can't find it.)


Bonus points if the book has enough recipes for syrups and things that can be used to experiment with making my friend's son (11 and also a bit of a foodie) fun non-alcoholic drinks too.


(I thought about the Canon book but that seems far too involved and I'd really just be giving it to him so I could borrow it. :D )

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      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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