GSN Book Review: Left Coast Libations

2010 will be remembered as a banner year for cocktail related publications.  Not least of these is the recent book by Ted Munat & Michael Lazar.  Focusing on cutting edge West Coast mixology, it sets a new standard for enthusiasts seeking to break out of the typical recipe mold.The five major cities featured in this beautifully illustrated volume are Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle and Vancouver; all trend setting cocktail areas.  Many familiar names have contributed recipes and “how-to’s” on creating homemade ingredients, including Eric Alperin, Chris Ojeda, Daniel Hyatt, Joel Baker, Neyah White, H. Joseph Ehrmann, Lance Mayhew, David Shenaut, Jeffrey Morgenthaler, Anu Apte, Jamie Boudreau, Murray Stenson and many, many others.  What I appreciate most about this book is the sense of community it creates.  There is no showmanship here, only sharing new techniques and discoveries.Each mixologist gives a brief introduction into his methodology, inspiration and creativity; then shares some of their favorite recipes. Many of them hearken back to the pre-prohibition style beverages. Others are amazingly forward thinking, dissecting and re-thinking methods that have been taken for granted for decades.Illustrated with dozens of gorgeous full color photographs of cocktails and bars taken by Jenn Farrington, my only disappointment is that there are no pictures of the mixologists themselves.  I find it helps my appreciation of a drink by putting a face to its creator.  The book itself is unusually small at only half the size of most hardcovers, but packed with so much information that it will take months to go through each cocktail.If this is the beginning of a renaissance in the cocktail publishing industry, then this volume alone sets a high bar for those to follow.

Good Spirits Rating: **** (Top Shelf)


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