It’s always refreshing to see cutting edge cocktail books being published. This hasn’t always been the case, as I’ve found out by dozens of review copies sent to me filled with the same hundred or so regurgitated cocktail recipes that have been around since the noble experiment was repealed. But this summer, I weeded out two that I highly recommend for your permanent back bar library.
First, is the 7th annual Food & Wine Cocktail Guide for 2011. Small, concise, and helpfully paperback, this guide is full of practical, yet post-modern mixological advice and recipes. I’ve used these guides for years as an indicator of where cocktail trends are headed. The editors for the 2011 edition include Richard Boccato, Jackson Cannon, Kathy Casey, Jennifer Colliau, John Coltharp, Ryan Fitzgerald, Jim Meehan, Philip Ward and the inestimable Professor Dave Wondrich; so how can you go wrong? GSN Rating: Top Shelf ****
Secondly, I would like to recommend my readers pick up a copy of DIY Cocktails by Marcia Simmons & Jonas Halpren, the co-editors of Drinkoftheweek.com. An interesting book that takes the approach of creating your own cocktail recipes, rather than just following someone else’s carved in stone directions. What sets this book apart in my mind, is that rather than working with the usual American mindset of measuring everything in ounces, you work with parts. The ratio of 1-1-1 for a Negroni for instance, or a 3-1 classic gin martini. It retrains your brain to work with math instead of rote memory. Quite a handy feat when you are in the weeds and a customer says, “make me something new, but it has to have cognac, creme de violette and housemade grenadine”. By learning only ten ratios, you can create an endless supply of original cocktails for your guests. GSN Rating: Top Shelf ****