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Cocktail Books: The Topic

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Just got a shipping notification on my long-standing beach bum remixed pre-order - excited!!

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Thought I'd report on the books I've ordered for behind the bar at Cook & Brown Public House:

Craft of the Cocktail, Dale DeGroff

Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails, Ted Haigh

The Joy of Mixology, Gary Regan

Imbibe! David Wondrich

The Art of the Bar, Hollinger & Schwartz

I'm also thinking of getting the new Beachbum Berry revision, and if I could find a Savoy for less than $40, I'd snap it up. The library already contains Regan's Bartender's Bible, Trader Vic's book, and a couple of generics. One of the bartenders may also donate the new DeGroff book. When we've got a bit more room to play (just placed a massive booze order and got a bunch of stuff from Adam at Boston Shaker), I think I'll get a few classics from Mud Puddle as well.


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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So I've now had cocktails from Todd Thrasher at Restaurant Eve in Washington DC, and I've had cocktails from The Varnish in Los Angeles, but what if I want to make similar quality cocktails at home? What's the best resource for this? All of the cocktail books I've flipped through in bookstores are of the "how to make a margarita" variety. In comparison to cookbooks, I'd say the cocktail books I've seen are the Rachel Ray of cocktail books. I'm looking for the Thomas Keller cocktail books, if you catch my meaning.

Any suggestions?

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I'd add "Artisanal Cocktails: Drinks Inspired by the Seasons from the Bar at Cyrus" By Scott Beattie to the list. A really well written and interesting book.

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A few of the books I often turn to are Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails, Rogue Beta Cocktails and Imbibe.

Seconded, all of these. Also worth having are Dale DeGroff's two books, Jeff Berry's books on classic Tiki drinks, and Gary Regan's "The Joy of Mixology". (These might be more Julia Child than Thomas Keller, but they're certainly well beyond Rachael Ray, and well beyond most of what you'll find in a Barnes & Noble.) "Difford's Encyclopedia of Cocktails" might be worth a look as well.


John Rosevear

"Brown food tastes better." - Chris Schlesinger

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The Essential Cocktail by Dale DeGroff is a very good starting point. I wouldn't jump right into something like Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails without exploring the less esoteric first.


"I'll put anything in my mouth twice." -- Ulterior Epicure

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*Rumor*

Jim Meehan and his brother are working on a cocktail book.

Degroff, Regan, and Wondrich books have been my usually recipe sources for books, as well as "Mix Shake Stir" from the Danny Meyer Group. The Cyrus book is beautiful, but i'm not a fan of floaties in my cocktails,jusst my personal preference.

I've had some luck getting drink recipes from the bartenders, at some bars this is a real NO-NO. i have found a few recipes on the internet.

margaritas can be just as "Artisinal" as any other cocktail.


Edited by Steamtrain (log)

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what do people want to see in an advanced cocktail book?

i've been penning a book of theory that explains creative linkage (what goes with what) in culinary. all told through the cocktail... the idea is to teach the mechanics of the classics so one can build intuition when ones mixes whatever lies around.

when you look at the different ideas of creative linkage that drive the wines we exalt and the dishes we gush over, the same ideas also often take place in the cocktail, but are more portable. i'm trying to tackle more of the "why?" that was left out of the awesome book "culinary artistry" by using techniques from music and painting analysis.

the cocktail becomes one of the best places to learn about art in culinary in general.

for a thomas keller style book, would anyone mind seeing a recipe if it required a basket pressed-freeze concentrated syrup that has to end up at a precise gram measure of sugar to really execute a recipe? cocktail books seem to have some sort of accessibility requirement.


abstract expressionist beverage compounder

creator of acquired tastes

bostonapothecary.com

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margaritas can be just as "Artisinal" as any other cocktail.

Indeed. The margarita served at the Wynn in Vegas is very good. And they were quite friendly about sharing the recipe with me when I asked...

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for a thomas keller style book, would anyone mind seeing a recipe if it required a basket pressed-freeze concentrated syrup that has to end up at a precise gram measure of sugar to really execute a recipe? cocktail books seem to have some sort of accessibility requirement.

Not as long as the technique is clearly explained and equipment requirements aren't too elaborate. Complexity is fine if the results are sufficiently rewarding, but do keep in mind that much of your potential audience -- pro bartenders and home enthusiasts both -- will lack professional culinary training and access to elite restaurant kitchens.


John Rosevear

"Brown food tastes better." - Chris Schlesinger

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The books I seem to have open in front of me most often are (in alphabetical order):

The Craft of the Cocktail by Dale DeGroff

The Essential Bartender's Guide by Robert Hess

The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks by David Embury

The Official Mixer's Manual by Patrick Gavin Duffy

Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails by Ted Haigh (that was true even when there was only the nearly-impossible-to-hold-open-while-making-a-drink first edition!)

There are many others that I have high praise for, but these are the ones that see the most use.


Mike

"The mixing of whiskey, bitters, and sugar represents a turning point, as decisive for American drinking habits as the discovery of three-point perspective was for Renaissance painting." -- William Grimes

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I don't have either of the DeGroff books (I know--shame on me). Is "Essential Cocktails" basically an update of the "Craft of the Cocktail"? Or are both worth having?


Todd A. Price aka "TAPrice"

Homepage and writings; A Frolic of My Own (personal blog)

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"Craft" is a beautiful book, but I rarely if ever find myself mixing out of it.


--

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I use "Craft" occasionally, typically when a guest asks for a mainstream drink I don't often make -- his recipes for things like piña coladas are generally spot-on -- but I rarely pull the other book off the shelf. It's worth owning and reading at least once, though.


John Rosevear

"Brown food tastes better." - Chris Schlesinger

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I don't have either of the DeGroff books (I know--shame on me). Is "Essential Cocktails" basically an update of the "Craft of the Cocktail"? Or are both worth having?

They are entirely different books, though there is a small amount of overlap. "Essential" is a prettier book and has a bit more background material on the drinks, but fewer total entries. However, of the two, I'd say "Craft" is more useful overall.


Mike

"The mixing of whiskey, bitters, and sugar represents a turning point, as decisive for American drinking habits as the discovery of three-point perspective was for Renaissance painting." -- William Grimes

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Interesting. I was going to suggest the opposite. I find Craft to be a "lite" version of Essential. Maybe it's just me, but Essential seems to be the full package with much more content (history and such). There may be fewer overall recipes but I don't think that's such a bad thing - if my memory serves me correctly, Craft has something like ten different Bloody Mary recipes.

Essential just feels more polished and up-to-date. The Craft of the Cocktail was written in 2002, versus 2008 for The Essential Cocktail. Considering how drastically cocktail culture has changed in that short span of time, I think Craft feels a little long in the tooth. Essential seems a little more classic. To me.


Pip Hanson | Marvel Bar

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You raise some good points, such as where recipes occur in both books, he's updated it a bit in the newer book, or added more information on its origins. This is particularly true of the tropical drinks. I guess it's just a case of YMMV. My comment was based on my own experience of turning to Craft a lot more than Essential. Many of the drinks in Essential seem unnecessarily complicated with the flavored foams and such. When I open a book to make a cocktail, it's because I want that cocktail today, preferably within the next few minutes.


Mike

"The mixing of whiskey, bitters, and sugar represents a turning point, as decisive for American drinking habits as the discovery of three-point perspective was for Renaissance painting." -- William Grimes

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Enh, yeah - there's one drink with a foam, and the recipe is provided. It is 2008. But then there are other drinks where he's actually improved the recipe this time around, either aesthetically or with regard to history. Take the Vesper - the gin/vodka in Craft is flipped, something he allows for and corrects in Essential. He's had some time to revise. And the recipes are on the left-hand page and the backstory on the right, so you can easily MTFD without steeping yourself in its beautiful history and heritage etc.etc.etc.


Pip Hanson | Marvel Bar

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I'm considering pre-ordering the PDT book. Anybody else curious about it?


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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The few PDT recipes I have tried (particularly the Bacon-Infused Bourbon Old Fashioned) have been very good, so yes, I am happy to see this book coming out.

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BTW, Jim Meehan of PDT and Joseph Schwartz of Little Branch, have collaborated on a Speakeasy Cocktails e-book available only on the iPad.

I've played with it a little and while the material probably seems a bit basic to us here, there's plenty of video demos, photo galleries, and original recipes (some from PDT). The focus is on technique, tools, and classic cocktails. The modern recipes are towards the back.

The official title is Speakeasy Cocktails: Learn from the Modern Mixologists. There's a video demo of the app here.


"I'll put anything in my mouth twice." -- Ulterior Epicure

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Sounds interesting but I don't have or want an iPad so I'm out of luck.


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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BTW, Jim Meehan of PDT and Joseph Schwartz of Little Branch, have collaborated on a Speakeasy Cocktails e-book available only on the iPad.

I've played with it a little and while the material probably seems a bit basic to us here, there's plenty of video demos, photo galleries, and original recipes (some from PDT). The focus is on technique, tools, and classic cocktails. The modern recipes are towards the back.

The official title is Speakeasy Cocktails: Learn from the Modern Mixologists. There's a video demo of the app here.

Does this e-book have the recipe for PDT's Mariner cocktail? I'm specifically looking for how they make their cardamom syrup.

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      V. Evaluation in Use

      I can say that not only does the Panasonic KY-MK3500 “work” with copper and aluminum pans, but that it works very well with them. Thermally, thick gauge conductive material pans perform in close emulation of the same pans on gas, even though there are no combustion gasses flowing up and around the pan. I found this startling.
       
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      A. Temperature Settings
       
      Unfortunately, with every pan I tried, the temperature settings were wildly inaccurate for measuring the temperature of the food. I heated 2 liters of peanut oil in a variety of pots, disk-base, enameled cast iron enameled steel, and copper. I thought it might be useful to see how close to 350F and 375F the settings were for deep frying. The oil in a Le Creuset 5.5Q Dutch oven set to 350F never made it past 285F, and it took 40:00 to get there. I kept bumping up the setting until I found that the setting for 420F will hold the oil at 346F. A disk-based pot didn’t hit 365F until the temperature setting was boosted to 400F. The only pan which came remotely close to being true to the settings was a 2mm silvered copper oven, which heated its oil to 327F when the Panasonic was set for 350F, and 380F when set for 410F.
       
      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

    • By umami5
      Has anyone come across a digital version of Practical Professional Cookery (revised 3rd edition) H.L. Cracknell & R.J. Kaufmann.
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    • By Mullinix18
      I have seen referenced in several places on the internet, including Wikipedia, a stat about escoffier recommending 40 minutes for scrambled eggs in a Bain Marie. I cant find where this number is from. On Wikipedia it refers to the book I currently own, the "Escoffier le guide culinaire" with forward by Heston Blumenthal by h. L. Cracknell...specificly page 157 for the 40 minute cooking time of scrambled eggs but it's not in my book on that page! Even tho there is the recipe for scrambled eggs on that page... I've seen the 1903 first edition online.. And it's not in there either.... Where is this number from?? Id like to know in case there is some even more complete book or something out there that I'm missing. Any help would be much appreciated. Thank you. 
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