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Posts Tagged ‘dave broom’

Time for our autumnal round-up of some great new publications for the drinking enthusiast! This time around we have a selection of volumes focusing on everything from retro and platinum age cocktails to home brewing, from mixers to bitters, along with several books focused on drinking culture in specific locales.  Cheers!

Bay Area Cocktails: A History of Culture, Community and Craft (American Palate) by Shanna Farrell,  Jon Santer, Vaughan Glidden & Nando Alvarez-Perez (The History Press) An American invention, the cocktail fluctuated in popularity following Prohibition and had firmly taken root in the culinary landscape by the 1990s. The Bay Area played a significant role in reviving it–as much as New York and London. From the distillers who pioneered craft spirits and Alice Waters’ revolutionary take on simple, fresh food at Chez Panisse to the bartenders who cared enough to grow a dedicated cocktail community, this is the story of how the Bay Area shaped the art of elevated drinking in America. Through oral history interviews and recipes, author Shanna Farrell chronicles the narrative history of the modern cocktail renaissance.

New York Cocktails by Amanda Schuster (Cider Mill Press) With bars, lounges and pubs dotting almost every block in the city, the Big Apple has an unmatched and incomparable cocktail culture—and now you can travel straight to the epicenter of this trendsetting city with more than 100 creative, as well as classic, cocktail recipes. Take a virtual tour of iconic NYC establishments through breathtaking, full-color photography, scene-setting bar descriptions, and mixologist insights—and a plethora of party planning pointers, shopping tips, and must-visit hotspot suggestions make this the perfect guide to the cosmopolitan art of New York City cocktail crafting. With thirst-inducing, full-color photography throughout, and cocktails inspired by New York City movers and shakers, writers, and mixologists, New York Cocktails features unique libations shared by the best bartenders in the City That Never Sleeps, as well as signature new twists on the classics.

Road Soda: Recipes and techniques for making great cocktails, anywhere by Kara Newman (Dovetail) It’s often difficult for a cocktail enthusiast to find a decent drink on the road, especially when faced with the limited selection offered by hotel mini bars, airplane drinks carts and the great outdoors. Road Soda is the ultimate guide for on-the-go cocktail making, with tips and recipes from cocktail expert Kara Newman. Readers will learn how to become mini-bar mixologists; how to build portable cocktails in flasks, beverage cans and liquor bottles; how to make drinks for camping and tailgating, and more. Throughout the book, notable bartenders and drinks experts will offer tips for finding (and creating) the best drinking experiences no matter where readers’ travels take them.

Fever Tree: The Art of Mixing: Recipes from the world’s leading bars by Fever Tree (Mitchell Beazley) The first cocktail title to put the mixers center-stage. Rather than starting with the spirits, this book focuses on key mixers – including tonic, lemonade, ginger ale, ginger beer and cola – and provide 100 classic and contemporary cocktail recipes that make the most of the botanical partnerships. The book also explores the origins of key ingredients, including quinine, lemons and elderflower, revealing the role quinine has played in geo-politics, for example, and the impact different herbs have on taste. In the way that we increasingly want to know the source and production methods of the food we eat, so this guide allows you to understand more fully what we drink – and use that knowledge to create the most delicious cocktails.

Around the World in 80 Cocktails by Chad Parkhill & Alice Oehr (Hardie Grant) Around the World in 80 Cocktails celebrates the globetrotting history of the cocktail through eighty different iconic drinks – each of which has its own story to tell. Bartender and writer Chad Parkhill takes you on a whirlwind tour of the places that have shaped the history of the cocktail from its birth to the present day, with recipes so you can follow along at home. You’ll learn about the surprising military history behind the bubbly, vivacious Venetian Spritz; how the G&T moved from India to England (and why the best in the world are now made in Spain); and how France’s Burgundy region turned tragedy into triumph with the Kir. Accompanied by gorgeous vintage-style illustrations that evoke antique travel posters, these stories and recipes are an ode to the joys of travel, history, and drinking.

Canadian Whisky, Second Edition: The New Portable Expert by Davin de Kergommeau (Appetite by Random House) This fully updated and revised edition of the award-winning Canadian Whisky invites you on a journey across Canada and back through time to discover the story of this unique spirit. Independent whisky expert Davin de Kergommeaux weaves a compelling narrative, beginning with the substance of Canadian whisky—grains, water, and wood—and details the process of how it’s made and how to taste it. He traces the fascinating history of the country’s major distilleries and key visionaries, and introduces the present-day players—big and small—who are shaping the industry through both tradition and innovation. Newly designed, and now including a map of Canada’s whisky distilleries, over 100 up-to-date tasting notes, and a handy tasting checklist, Canadian Whisky reflects the latest research on flavour development and the science of taste. At once authoritative and captivating, this is a must-have resource for beginners, enthusiasts, and aficionados alike.

Dr. Adam Elmegirab’s Book of Bitters: The bitter and twisted history of one of the cocktail world’s most fascinating ingredients by Adam Elmegirab (Dog n Bone) Bitters, those little bottles you will find in any bar worth its salt, are the unsung heroes of the cocktail world. Where would the Manhattan be without orange bitters? Cocktail historian and founder of his eponymous bitters company, Dr Adam Elmegirab presents the results of almost a decade of research into bitters, guiding you from the early days of snake-oil salesmen through to the birth of the cocktail, Prohibition, and the renaissance of bitters as an essential part of the contemporary bar scene. Adam outlines each of the key botanicals that go into different bitters and explains the science of flavor, describing how each characteristic can be deployed for maximum impact, and summarizes the key techniques for making great cocktails. Most importantly, Adam provides 50 cocktail recipes created by him and some of the world’s leading bartenders. These exceptional drinks showcase the different characteristic of bitters and how they can refine a cocktail in unique ways.

Meehan’s Bartender Manual by Jim Meehan (Ten Speed Press) Meehan’s Bartender Manual is acclaimed mixologist Jim Meehan’s magnum opus—and the first book to explain the ins and outs of the modern bar industry. This groundbreaking work chronicles Meehan’s storied career in the bar business through practical, enlightening chapters that mix history with professional insight. Meehan’s deep dive covers the essential topics, including the history of cocktails and bartending, service, hospitality, menu development, bar design, spirits production, drink mixing technique, and the tools you’ll need to create a well-stocked bar—all brought to life in over 150 black- and-white illustrations by artist Gianmarco Magnani. The book also includes recipes for 100 cocktail classics–including Meehan originals–plus insights as to why he makes them the way he does, offering unprecedented access to a top bartender’s creative process. Organized by spirit base, the recipes contain detailed annotations and are accompanied by fine art photographer Doron Gild’s breathtaking, full-color photos. Thoughtful contributions from more than 50 colleagues around the world who’ve greatly contributed to global cocktail culture further contextualize Meehan’s philosophy. Timeless black-and-white portraits of these industry experts round out this comprehensive tome. This densely informative, yet approachable manual is presented in an iconic package–featuring a textured cover with debossed type, rounded corners, and nearly 500 pages–making it an instant classic to be enjoyed now, and for years to come. Whether you’re a professional looking to take your career to the next level or an enthusiastic amateur interested in better understanding concepts like mise en place and the mechanics of drink making, Meehan’s Bartender Manual is the definitive modern guide.

Spirits and Cocktails of Upstate New York: A History by Donald Cazentre (The History Press) From the Hudson Valley to the Niagara River, Upstate New York has a long and grand history of spirits and cocktails. Early colonists distilled rum, and pioneering settlers made whiskey. In the 1800s, a fanciful story of a tavern keeper and a “cock’s tail” took root along the Niagara River, and the earliest definition of the “cocktail” appeared in a Hudson Valley paper. The area is home to its share of spirited times and liquid legends, and the recent surge in modern distilleries and cocktail bars only bolsters that tradition. Author Don Cazentre serves up these tales of Upstate New York along with more than fifty historic and modern cocktail recipes.

Straight Up: Where to drink & what to drink on every continent by Joel Harrison & Neil Ridley (Mitchell Beazley) How great would it be to have access to the world’s experts to help you choose the coolest and most interesting bars, wherever you find yourself in the world? Well, now you do. Straight Up is a carefully curated collection of insider tips that will allow you to discover the best drinking spots around the globe. From a 10-seat basement bar in Tokyo, to a glitzy rooftop palace in Toronto and a converted Ottoman bathhouse in Budapest, this book contains everything you need to drink in style, brought to you by the locals in the know. Spirits experts Joel Harrison and Neil Ridley have gathered a team of expert contributors among the world’s bartending community to nose out the most interesting and characterful experiences. Throughout the book you’ll also find features on signature cocktails, cocktail recipes, the low-down on star bartenders, and the inside track on what to drink where.

The Way of Whisky: A Journey Around Japanese Whisky by Dave Broom (Mitchell Beazley) Since 2002 (the year it appeared on export markets) Japanese whisky has been consistently winning major international spirits awards. As export production increases and export markets – the USA and France in particular – open up to embrace the quality of these fine malt whiskies, all eyes are on Japan. Award-winning author and internationally recognized whisky expert Dave Broom has visited Japan 25 times in the past 12 years, studying and learning about its whiskies. In this major new book he shares his personal journey around Japan’s whisky distilleries and the unique whisky culture of the country. Each chapter details the history of the distillery in question, its production and current whiskies (with tasting notes). Dave considers along the way why Japanese whisky is different, questions of tradition vs innovation, and how whisky links with many aspects of Japanese culture. Breathtaking photography from Kohei Take leads the reader deeper into the philosophy behind the drink, making this a must-have edition for any whisky lover, whisky drinker, whisky collector or Japanophile.

Project Extreme Brewing: An Enthusiast’s Guide to Extreme Brewing at Home by Sam Calagione, Todd Alstrom & Jason Alstrom (Quarry Books) Sam Calagione, founder of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, and Jason and Todd Alström, of Beer Advocate, offer an authoritative primer on extreme brewing. Project Extreme Brewing is the new required reading for any serious home brewer. Inside you’ll find the recipes for the most exciting and exotic beers around today. Recipes from breweries around the country are at your fingertips. You’ll see how brewing operations like Allagash, Lost Abbey, Shmaltz, and Beau’s All Natural make their glittering beverages. Following along is easy, even if you’re new to the home brewing scene, because all recipes come with step-by-step instructions and insider tips. Expand the definition of what great beer is. Show off to your friends and family members that you are the best source of home-brew, by learning to brew at home with the experts!

The Mezcal Experience: A Field Guide to the World’s Best Mezcals and Agave Spirits by Tom Bullock (Jacqui Small) The definitive guide to Mexico’s best kept secret; Mezcal. Unlike its infamous offspring tequila, until recently you would have had to take a trip to Mexico to try this intriguing spirit. But with ‘Mezcalerias’ popping up everywhere from New York City to London, Tokyo and beyond, and mezcal increasingly seen on the menus of the most discerning and hippest bars, the agave plant-based alcohol is the cool new drink taking the world by storm. Embark on a regional tour of Mexico and discover local mezcal gems in this illustrated guide to the best ‘mezcalerias’ (mezcal bars) in the world, then work your way through more than 30 cocktail recipes from the world’s best mezcal bartenders. From backyard heroes to big names, this is a comprehensive guide with over 100 varieties of mezcal, complete with a tasting wheel to help explain the subtleties of this intriguing drink and make you a connoisseur in no time.

 

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sd2891-my-book-club-drinks-tin-sign-reading-book-store-humor-bar-garage-funnyAnother new year, and time for new resolutions! One of mine is to do more reading and learn about the fascinating worlds of spirits and mixology.  Here are some GSN recommended titles to be on the lookout for in the next few months.

610bdum3xml-_sx311_bo1204203200_Empire of Booze by Henry Jeffreys (Random House UK) Empire of Booze is a loose history of Britain, cleverly and humorously told through its contributions to alcohol, charting the rise of British power from its small corner of Europe to global preeminence. Each chapter features a historical period and a drink—tracing its origins and examining its impact on British culture, literature, science, philosophy and religion. Learn about how the champagne we drink today is owed to British technology for making sparkling wine; rum and India Pale Ale were developed so they could withstand the long, hot journeys to Britain’s burgeoning overseas empire; whisky became the drink of choice for weary empire builders far from home; and how without alcohol, the pre-20th century global economy could not function. With drink recommendations offered throughout, you can booze while you read along. So raise a glass to Britain, the Empire of Booze, whose alcoholic innovations are some of its greatest, lasting gifts to the world.

51kg36gdxlDistilled in Oregon: A History & Guide with Cocktail Recipes by Scott Stursa (The History Press) Early Oregon fur traders concocted a type of distilled beverage known as “Blue Ruin,” used in commerce with local Native Americans. Drawn by the abundant summer harvests of the Willamette Valley, distillers put down roots in the nineteenth century. Because of Oregon’s early sunset on legal liquor production in 1916–four years before national Prohibition–hundreds of illicit stills popped up across the state. Residents of Portland remained well supplied, thanks to the infamous efforts of Mayor George Baker. The failed national experiment ended in 1933, and Hood River Distillers resurrected the sensible enterprise of turning surplus fruit into brandy in 1934. Thanks in part to the renowned Clear Creek Distillery triggering a craft distilling movement in 1985, the state now boasts seventy distilleries and counting. Author Scott Stursa leads a journey through the history of distilling in the Beaver State.

51sygfxonl-_sx373_bo1204203200_New Orleans Cocktails: Over 100 Drinks from the Sultry Streets and Balconies of the Big Easy by Sarah Baird (Cider Mill Press) Mix up more than 100 of the Big Easy’s most celebrated and innovative cocktails, and immerse yourself in the culture and history of the South’s most famous city with this gorgeous new drink recipe collection. New Orleans has a cocktail culture that goes way back—and for the first time ever, you can be transported to the heart of this trendsetting city with more than 100 creative and artful cocktail recipes. Tour the best bars in NOLA and around the world. Evocative photos, scene-setting bar descriptions, mixologist insights, party planning themes, and shopping tips make this the perfect guide to the art of New Orleans drinking. With gorgeous, full-color photography throughout, and cocktails inspired by Crescent City writers, musicians, and revolutionaries, New Orleans Cocktails features unique libations shared by the best bartenders in the Big Easy, as well as creative new twists on old classics.

515zqmazusl-_sx389_bo1204203200_Hennessy: A Toast to the World’s Preeminent Spirit by Glenn O’Brien & Jean-Philippe Delhomme (Rizzoli) Lavishly illustrated, this is the first book on the world’s most famous cognac producer. Considered a benchmark of excellence, its blends have become icons of refinement and luxury. In Pass the Henny, renowned writer Glenn O’Brien invites the reader to discover the history of cognac. The highly entertaining text, filled with extraordinary events and O’Brien’s irresistible humor, is married with classic cocktail recipes and evocative imagery that conveys the lifestyle of the Hennessy connoisseur through the ages, including the Mad Men of the 1960s and today’s stars of hip-hop. Featuring contributions from such cultural luminaries as Shepard Fairey, Nas, Futura, Fab 5 Freddy, and Todd Selby as well as never-before-seen images from the Hennessy archive, Pass the Henny is an informative and engaging account of the world’s most revered brandy and a book that belongs on every cognac enthusiast’s shelf.

51dmhdjqhkl-_sx331_bo1204203200_Where Bartenders Drink by Adrienne Stillman (Phaidon Press) Where Bartenders Drink is THE insider’s guide. The best 300 expert drink-makers share their secrets – 750 spots spread across 60 countries – revealing where they go for a drink throughout the world when they’re off-duty. Venues range from late-night establishments and legendary hotel bars to cozy neighborhood ‘locals’ – and in some surprising locales. The 750 expert recommendations come with insightful reviews, key information, specially commissioned maps, and an easy-to-navigate geographical organization. It’s the only guide you need to ensure that you get the best drinks in the most memorable global locations.

41csjvfotel-_sx357_bo1204203200_Rum: The Manual by Dave Broom (Mitchell Beazley) This is a book about how to drink rum of all kinds. It’s about classic rums and new-generation rums, about rhum agricole and about premium aged rums, about rums from all over the world. It’s about rum enjoyed with cola and ginger beer. About the best rum for a classic daiquiri. About rum cocktails that ooze style and personality. Above all, it’s about enjoying your rum in all kinds of ways. The days of rum being seen as a minor spirit are over. The category has been reborn in recent years with developments such as the rise of premium aged rums and spiced rums. The range of rums available has widened dramatically, with tiki bars in every major city globally. Add in cachaça – Brazil’s native cane spirit – and you have a hugely popular distillate. So there’s no surprise that the premium rum market is growing at an astonishing rate – from 23 percent per annum in the US to 74 percent per annum in France, for example. The mission of this book is to help drinkers appreciate this complex spirit, find the style they like and discover how this versatile spirit can best be enjoyed. It will help you to understand your rum – how it’s produced (whether from molasses, cane syrup or cane juice) and whether it’s dry, sweet, fresh or oaky. More than 100 different rums are featured and analysed, from rich, sweet mellow Guyana rums to the vegetal peppery rums of Martinique or Guadeloupe and contemporary spiced rums. Dave Broom provides a description and graded tasting notes for each brand, allowing you to create the perfect mix every time. Finally, a selection of classic and contemporary cocktails shows just how wonderfully versatile this spirit is.

51u4cjh748l-_sx328_bo1204203200_Pittsburgh Drinks: A History of Cocktails, Nightlife & Bartending Tradition by Cody McDevitt & Sean Enright (The History Press) Pittsburgh’s drinking culture is a story of its people: vibrant, hardworking and innovative. During Prohibition, the Hill District became a center of jazz, speakeasies and creative cocktails. In the following decades, a group of Cuban bartenders brought the nightlife of Havana to a robust café culture along Diamond Street. Disco clubs gripped the city in the 1970s, and a music-centered nightlife began to grow in Oakland with such clubs as the Electric Banana. Today, pioneering mixologists are forging a new and exciting bar revival in the South Side and throughout the city. Pull up a stool and join Cody McDevitt and Sean Enright as they trace the history of Steel City drinking, along with a host of delicious cocktail recipes.

51dbmlcapdlAbsinthe: The Exquisite Elixir by Betina J. Wittels & T.A. Breaux (Fulcrum Publishing) Take an intimate look into the contemporary world of absinthe. International in scope, Absinthe: The Exquisite Elixir is a visually rich journey into an alluring subculture. Filled with color reproductions of classic and current lithographs, posters, cartoons, as well as photos of antiques, glassware, and other tools of the absinthe drinker, this new and comprehensive guide explains and illustrates the history, culture, and mystique of the drink known as the Green Fairy. The authors provide insights into the controversy and effects of the Green Fairy through the stories of famous connoisseurs, including Vincent van Gogh, Oscar Wilde, Ernest Hemingway, and Pablo Picasso. In addition to a rich history, this detailed new guide includes recipes, reviews of existing Absinthe brands, and absinthe’s contemporary culture and ritual. Confirmed absinthe drinkers, neophytes, the curious, and collectors will all find this book equally intriguing and seductive.

 

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41s44RvQ3lL._AA160_Time once again for our seasonal review of books relating to cocktails, bartending and all thing spirituous! 

The World Atlas of Whiskey 2nd Edition by Dave Broom (Mitchell Beazley)  Ask most people what kinds of whiskies there are, and they list a handful.  Irish, Scotch, Rye (incorrectly called Canadian whiskey), and Bourbon.  That’s like saying there are less than a half dozen kinds of wine.  What author Dave Broom seeks to do with his revised version of the World Atlas of Whiskey is to give a broad and yet detailed view of just how many styles and flavors of whiskies there actually are.  For example, new distilleries have opened up in the Far East that include spirits that consistently win gold medals in competition with European brands that have been around for centuries.  Designed as an oversized coffee table book, every page is beautifully appointed with full color photographs of distilleries, bottle labels and maps.  I can guarantee that if you read this book cover to cover, you will gain a better of understanding that the flavors and blends of whiskey are as broad a category as are the worlds of beer and wine.  The only things lacking are samples of whiskey to try while you read.  GSN Rating: A

41Z8ykNXabL._AA160_GQ Drinks by Paul Henderson (Mitchell Beazley)  Truly a cocktail book to make you jealous of British cocktail lovers, or go crazy trying to track down hard to find ingredients in the States; this is nonetheless a beautiful book for the advanced bartender.  Using a format similar to the Annual Food & Wine cocktail guides, sections are broken into spirit type with recipes chosen by some of England’s classiest bartenders including Simone Caporale, Ryan Chetiyawardana, Agostino Perrone and Milos Popovic just to name a few.  Each drink is given a full-page, artfully photographed and with background notes.  An introduction by the renowned Salvatore Calabrese, as well as a short section on supplies, techniques and sources round out this volume.  To get a picture of what’s happening in swinging London in the 21st century, you need look no further than GQ DrinksGSN Rating: B

51UN7ZkAfIL._AA160_The Bar Book by Jeffrey Morgenthaler (Chronicle Books)  As a mixologist, I first approached making cocktails from a purely historical interest.  I wanted to literally make cocktails chronologically, starting with the earliest examples from the mid-1800’s and work my way forward.  Once I had a handle on that, I decided expand my skills with cooking from scratch.  What was particularly eye opening for me was the realization that many of the techniques I’d learned making cocktails, also translated into cooking, and visa-versa.  So, it was that upon reading Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s treatise on cocktail techniques, I realized that it is in a very real sense, a cookbook.  Everything is covered here in very easy to understand and follow directions.  The usual shaking, stirring and straining info is obviously here, but Morgenthaler also provides time-tested recipes for making your own syrups, tinctures, sodas, purees, bitters and more.  You may want to invest in some quality bottles if you really get serious, but it’s also just plain fun to realize that cocktails can be more than the sum of store-bought ingredients.  Cocktails ultimately can be infused with a part of yourself.  GSN Rating: A+

bok_thomasjerd_0000_01e_web1How to Mix Drinks: The Bar Tenders Guide by Jerry Thomas (Cocktail Kingdom)  If this book looks or sounds familiar, it’s because its been around for over 150 years.  Hell, it even looks like an antique, as the publisher has gone through the extra expense to have it printed as an almost exact replica of the 1862 edition with gold ink along with deeply textured stamping of leaves on the covers and spine.  Sure, you can find loads of paperback copies of this book for sale on Amazon.com, but only this volume has the added benefit of recently uncovered insights by Prof. David Wondrich.  Having written the definitive biography of author Jerry Thomas several years ago (“Imbibe!”), Wondrich is well qualified to share what information he’s discovered since that volume was published.  New key facts about Thomas give additional insight into his life, his methodology and why his book was such a success when it was first published.  That alone should motivate you to buy this book, but if you’re still unconvinced to own perhaps yet your third of fourth copy of “How to Mix Drinks”, do it for the sheer joy of holding a book that feels so close to that first edition and you will probably never be able to afford.  GSN Rating: A

bok_bakercharlesh_0000_01e_web1The South American Gentleman’s Companion by Charles H. Baker Jr. (Cocktail Kingdom)  You don’t need to be from South America to appreciate the writing style and wry observations of this classic volume.  Expertly reprinted to match the original publication in every detail (including slipcase!), this is a real treat to read.  Charles H. Baker Jr. was a renaissance man in every sense of the word.  He hung out with Hemingway, literally traveled the world during the early era of flight, wrote a gothic southern novel, and even published his own magazine for a time.  But, in truth, he was the prototype of our current food & drink bloggers, collecting hundreds of recipes from around the globe and writing them down in prose.  It is this loose style of details on ratios, ingredients and brands that makes it frustrating to mixologists.  But, at the same time, it perfectly describes the customer’s point of view from the other side of the bar.  They may not know what you’re doing when you make a drink, but they know what makes for a great presentation and an interesting evening out.  Bolstered by two insightful articles by St. John Frizell (of NYC bar Fort Defiance), this is yet another wonderful addition to the ever-growing essential cocktail guide library published by Cocktail Kingdom.  GSN Rating: A

51SMGcFJFEL._AA160_Celebrity Cocktails by Brian van Flandern (Assouline)  This is the author’s third coffee table book published by Assouline.  Previous volumes have focused on vintage drinks and modern craft libations.  This one, pays tribute to Hollywood’s love affair with all things alcoholic.  Some of  the actor/cocktail associations are rather tenuous (Laurence Olivier & Snapdragon?), but others readily remind us of great films that have key drinking scenes and characters.  Many of the recipes are overly familiar drinks, but there are several originals as well as modern tributes to the great men and women of the silver screen.  Photographs by Harald Gottschalk are beautifully evocative and the many studio shots of famous actors imbibing are a treat.  GSN Rating: B-

41JRiTnrD7L._AA160_Death & Co. Modern Classic Cocktails by David Kaplan, Nick Fauchald & Alex Day (Ten Speed Press)  Just consider this: a bar opens in 2006, and eight years later they’ve created over 500 original cocktails.  Then contemplate that every time the season changes, this selfsame bar completely re-does their drinks menu.  Sound insane?  Yes, and at the same time, no.  It is one aspect of what has made NYC’s Death & Co. win accolades the world over.  The chapters in here are a textbook example of what to do right when running a bar.  Always pushing yourself into new creative vistas, yet at the same time avoiding disenfranchising your regular clientele.  In fact, several pages are devoted to the regulars who frequent the bar and have inspired the drinks.  Out of the hundreds of cocktail guides out there, this one more than any other makes you feel like you are right there working with the bartenders from opening to last call.  The cocktails are tremendous, the insights into what makes a successful bar even more so.  This book gets my vote for one of the top 10 cocktail books published in 2014.  GSN Rating: A++

51iDDyHR6NL._AA160_A Modern Guide to Sherry by Talia Baiocchi (Ten Speed Press)  The bartending world is always looking for something new to play with in cocktails.  Thanks to the ongoing efforts of Steve Olson of the outstanding B.A.R. and BarSmarts program, sherry is finally getting its due.  Ms. Baiocchi’s treatise on this oft misunderstood wine is a welcome addition to any serious bartenders library.  Spend a few hours reading the history behind one of Spain’s high points in winemaking, and you too will gain an understanding that sherry can be one of the most powerful tools in your cocktail arsenal.  If all you know about sherry is Harvey’s Bristol Cream, then this will be an eye-opener.  I appreciated the background on the many Bodegas where sherry is blended and aged.  Unlike the competitive wine making world, sherry crafters seem like a close family who support each other and know that they are keeping sherry alive and well in a world which until recently had forgotten the magic.  GSN Rating: A

41nNs068NJL._AA160_Proof by Adam Rogers (Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt)  Open up to the table of contents, and you get a perfectly succinct synopsis of how the alcohol in your bar is made from start to finish.  Yeast, sugar, fermentation, distillation and aging.  The last three chapters address the human effect.  Smell and taste, body and brain, and hangover.  I think that covers it all.  This book is for those who seek to understand why we drink what we drink and the science behind how it all comes together.  Nary a single cocktail recipe is to be found here, but a greater understanding of what it is that billions of people have enjoyed over the millennia.  If nothing else, a working bartender should be required to read this book just to gain an understanding of what the substance they dispense exactly is and does.  If you need proof that alcohol is just a bit magical, then you need to read ProofGSN Rating: A-

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indexAnother season, another shelves’ worth of books have arrived at the GSN offices.  Here’s a look at what we’ve been reading this summer.

Home Bar Basics and Not-So-Basics 2nd Edition by Dave Stolte (Wexler of California)  If you’re experiencing a sense of deja vu, you’re right.  I reviewed this book when it originally came out back in 2011.  However, this is the expanded and revised 2nd edition.  Is it worth the upgrade? I’ll leave that up to you, but there are some differences worth noting.  The book now has a spine covering the wire ringed binding, the inside cover has units of volume and info on the number of drinks you can safely consume per hour.  The introduction has been re-written to include a treatise on hospitality, and many of the sections have been overhauled and updated.  But, the most interesting aspect comes from several alternate illustrations and the addition of five new “not-so-basic” drinks.  So, yeah, it’s worth the price.  By the way, Dave’s book was a finalist for Best New Cocktail Book at the 6th Annual Spirited Awards in New Orleans this year.  GSN Rating: A-

indexSake Confidential by John Gauntner (Stone Bridge Press)  I really enjoy sipping good sake every so often, but many times I am left baffled by the relative lack of information on the bottle.  So, what should I look for and why?  This book seeks to answer 90% of the questions you may have about sake, and it does so in a very straightforward conversational style.  Each chapter is only a few pages long, but gives a better understanding of what styles are available, what makes a high quality sake versus one you should avoid, and the age-old question of whether to drink it hot or cold (the answer may surprise you).  In just a few minutes of reading this book I learned some valuable information which will help me make better informed decisions when picking up a bottle of sake at the liquor store.  GSN Rating: B+

indexThe Old-Fashioned by Robert Simonson and Daniel Krieger (Ten Speed Press)  Take one part David Wondrich and one part 21st century nouveau cocktail guide, gently stir and you have this entertaining volume.  For many cocktail lovers, the Old-Fashioned is the one drink by which a bartender (and often the bar itself) is judged.  There is a reason why this drink has never been forgotten, but rather has been rediscovered as a keystone in the cocktailian holy trinity of Manhattan, Martini and Old-Fashioned.  The first half of this colorful and artistic ode is dedicated to the story of how this simple drink gained popularity over 150 years and finally became an icon for the “Mad Men” age.  The latter half of the book is filled with original recipes crafted by a who’s who of bartenders who have been riffing on the drink for the last 15 years or so.  Tons of fun and educational to boot!  GSN Rating: A-

indexWhiskey The Manual by Dave Broom (Octopus Books)  If you’re thinking this is yet another book on the history of whiskey production, you’d only be partly right.  Certainly there is the usual dissemination on different styles (Irish, Scotch, Canadian, American, Asian) and the processes of distillation and aging, but that only takes up a small portion of this book.  Instead, well over 100 pages are given to dissecting brands of whiskies based on their character, flavor profile and most interestingly, mixability.  Generally, whiskey drinkers are in three camps: straight or with a bit of water or ice; mixed into a cocktail ala a Manhattan or an Old-Fashioned; and the “Jack and Coke” lover.  Author Broom gives recommendations on drinking each brand with either coconut water, cola, ginger ale, green tea or soda water.  Lastly, there are a few classic whiskey cocktail recipes along with a smattering of the sort that mixologists with a large backbar and access to obscure ingredients will love.  GSN Rating: B

indexRestaurant & Bar Design (Taschen)  As with all Taschen books, this is a lovely coffee-table style tome.  Filled with over 400 pages of full color photographs, this will definitely get your creative juices flowing when thinking about bar design.  Broken into five sections including The Americas, Asia, Australia, Europe and the Middle East, each section focuses on visually engaging and stylistically impressive venues.  None of the locales I’ve ever been to are represented, as the focus is on architectural design rather than the cocktail or food menu.  But, just looking at the empty bar stools makes me thirsty.  In the end, this book makes you realize that drinking is not just about enjoying alcohol and sustenance; but as with a cocktail, garnish and presentation are equally important as the taste.  GSN Rating: B+

indexFood & Wine Cocktails 2014 (Food & Wine)  For their 10th anniversary (has it been ten years already?) the staff at Food & Wine decided to go with a retrospective of 150 previously published cocktails that will always be classics, or should be.  As in all the earlier volumes, there are sections on spirits, barware, bar snacks, and a list of the current best bars in the U.S.  Perhaps the most interesting aspects of this edition, are the sections on bar and cocktail trends that have taken place over the last decade.  It makes you realize how far the cocktail industry has truly come.  I have to take a few points off for repetition, but if you just want a “best of” collection then this anniversary edition is for you.  GSN Rating: B+

indexAlchemy in a Glass: The Essential Guide to Handcrafted Cocktails by Greg Seider (Rizzoli)  A true cocktail guide with lots of lovely photographs of seductive libations, this book is a testament to the tenacity and vision of one of NYC’s great bartenders.  I would say “Mixologist”, but the author would probably take umbrage with that title.  In any case, Greg writes his cocktailian autobiography here through recipes which have permeated his consciousness over the years, and inspired altogether new creations.  His modus operandi is much the same as mine.  Start with a classic recipe, and then use it as the foundation to make something entirely new.  Many of his original recipes call for bespoke syrups, infusions and bitters, but he generously shares all the necessary information on how to recreate them at home.  The book is rounded out with a list of recommended spirits and a bit on mixing technique.  If nothing else, this book is a snapshot of how cocktails can rise above simply being a means of delivering alcohol to a thirsty customer.  GSN Rating: A-

indexMagic in a Shaker: A Year of Spirited Libations by Marvin Allen (Pelican Publishing)  I first met Marvin back in 2010 while my wife and I were visiting New Orleans and checking out the dozens of iconic bars in the French Quarter.  He was working on a slow afternoon behind the Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone, and took the time to chat us up.  We learned a lot about the history of the bar as well as the locals who frequent it.  On subsequent visits over the years, he’s always been one of the most outgoing and professional bartenders I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting.  So, it’s no surprise that he decided to compile a book of favored recipes.  The book is broken into chapters devoted to the months of the year and appropriate cocktails to enjoy in each.  Some insight or background is offered for most of the recipes, but there are very few photographs, and those that are included are in black & white. What makes this book especially noteworthy is the sense of history and locale.  Most of the drinks date prior to 1933 and many are local to New Orleans.   The book is very approachable and offers everyone a chance to taste the kind of drinks that Marvin would serve you as you lazily drank your way around the hotel’s rotating circular bar.  GSN Rating: B-

indexThe 12 Bottle Bar: A Dozen Bottles. Hundreds of Cocktails. A New Way to Drink. by David Solmonson and Lesley Jacobs Solmonson (Workman Publishing Company) A logical and persuasive argument that you need only a dozen bottles behind the bar to make enough cocktails to last you a lifetime.  Those twelve bottles may not be what you would expect however.  For instance, of all the styles of whiskey available, only rye is mentioned.  As well, tequila is missing entirely, but genever has a whole chapter.  What gives?  Well, without giving the whole premise away, the basic idea is to slowly build your bar with stock that will allow you to make drinks as they developed over the past few centuries.  Limited to only seven spirits, one liqueur, two vermouths and two styles of bitters, you will indeed have a collection that in many ways will exceed most typical bars around the country.  Lest you think this is all a rehash of other cocktail guides, there are plenty of new cocktails and recipes for ingredients to keep you busy for years.  There is a surprising amount of practical information here, despite the limitation on ingredients.  GSN Rating: A-

indexTiki Pop by Sven A. Kirsten (Taschen)  Whatever your feelings about tiki or “faux tropical” drinks, you have to admit that they carried more weight culturally than many other cocktail trends.  The exotic was everywhere in the late 1940’s through the 1960’s with popular Polynesian restaurants like Trader Vic’s, Don the Beachcomber’s and the Mai Kai and songs by Arthur Lyman and Martin Denny being played on top 40 radio. The very fact that there is an ongoing recognition and revival of tiki culture and beverages in 2014 bears testament to the appeal and longevity of drinks served in grotesque mugs with custom swizzle sticks.  Tiki Pop is Sven Kirsten’s latest testament to the endurance of what was originally a post WWII fad designed to appeal to ex-servicemen who had served in tropical climes.  This gigantic (read: heavy) coffee table book is a love letter to all things tiki.  If you are a fan of Jeff “Beachbum” Berry’s books, consider this the next logical step in your tropical adventure.  No cocktail recipes, but plenty of vintage photos of bars, mugs, glassware, swizzles and cocktail menus.  GSN Rating: A

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 It’s a few weeks into spring already, but it’s never too late to pick up some new cocktail guides!  The following books arrived at the GSN headquarters since the beginning of the year.

  4d0276f176a6987fa38983241f0ddf88dc64416b_600The Dead Rabbit Mixed Drinks List (2nd Edition)  If you think it’s crazy to buy a cocktail menu that doesn’t contain any actual recipes, you’d be dead wrong.  This completely new volume indeed highlights many of the featured cocktails you can order at NYC’s triple Spirited Award winning bar.  But, it’s oh so much more than that.  You get a short graphic novel about the life of John Morrissey, the original leader of Ireland’s Dead Rabbit gang, and an alcoholic history lesson.  Entirely two-thirds of the book is devoted to the amazing success story of Irish Whiskey written by award-winning spirits author, Dave Broom.  Lastly, and the icing on the cake as it were, is an essay by Barry Crockett, master distiller of Midleton Distillery where many of the fine whiskies are made today.  GSN Rating: A- Buy a copy here.

  indexgaz regan’s Annual Manual for Bartenders 2013 by Gary Regan (Mixellany)  The third in an ongoing series of books dedicated to helping the working bartender.  Again, with this volume there are not a lot of cocktail recipes (see below for gaz’s other annual series 101 Best New Cocktails for those).  The 2013 manual does not disappoint, and in my opinion is the best of the bunch as gaz has collected dozens of down-to-earth and thought-provoking interviews from both bartenders and bar backs from around the globe.  gaz of course, has his say as well in his choice of editorial direction.  This year he focuses on Mindful Bartending (a favorite of his), women in the industry and detailed studies of some often overlooked ingredients in cocktails.  This book makes for easy and breezy reading, but is filled with invaluable tricks of the trade.   GSN Rating: A- Purchase here.

indexgaz regan’s 101 Best New Cocktails Volume III by Gary Regan (Mixellany)  The third in an ongoing series devoted to cutting edge cocktails from around the globe.  gaz has a tough job.  Every bartender with a dream of stardom sending him their best recipes hoping that he will choose theirs for inclusion.  I asked him once how he manages to taste them all.  He told me that he doesn’t.  First he reads the recipes and sees if they sound interesting.  He then tries the ones that tickle his fancy.  This latest volume includes full color photographs of each drink, along with the recipe and notes by both the creators and gaz himself.  If you want to check the pulse of what’s happening in the cocktail world, look no further than this concise and approachable volume.  GSN Rating: A  Buy a copy here.

  20131001_102455_138330149557Beachbum Berry’s Potions of the Caribbean by Jeff Berry (Cocktail Kingdom)  Jeff Berry has a talent for giving his readers history lessons that are both educational and entertaining.  With his latest 300+ page volume, he has totally outdone everything he’s ever done before.  Literally every page is dripping with amazing discoveries, photographs and recipes that you will find it hard to put down.  It’s almost as if you are watching the history of what are collectively known as “tiki drinks” unfold in a “Mad Men” type way.  If you have any interest in either rum, punch, tropical libations or even just the history of alcoholic commerce, you need this book.  Oh, and there are 35 previously unpublished recipes in here for those of you (like myself) who need to try everything.  GSN Rating: A++ Pick up a copy here.

indexForgotten Drinks of Colonial New England by Corin Hirsch (American Palate)  This fascinating book is almost a prelude to David Wondrich’s “Imbibe!”, filling the reader in on the drinking customs and recipes of early Americans.  The fact that no one has written a book like this before is of note.  Perhaps it has to do with both the American Revolution and the desire to lose the traditions of England, along with the sense of American ingenuity in creating new things to drink.  That being said, any bartender worth his salt would do well to read this book in order to understand the flavor profiles of what were in a real sense proto-cocktails.  The names of these drinks themselves are a mouthful: Calibogus, Ebulum, Syllabub, and my personal favorite, Whistle-Belly Vengeance.  Granted, some of these recipes don’t sound that great, but luckily for us, many of them have been modernized so they are palatable.  A healthy dose of historical data is also of benefit for those of us who desire to know the evolution of our country’s libations.  GSN Rating: A-  Purloin your own tome here.

indexThe Art of the Shim: Low-Alcohol Cocktails to Keep You Level by Dinah Sanders (Sanders & Gratz)  Where has this book been all my life?  For those of us who love to sample as many cocktails as we can when visiting a new bar, unfortunately there comes a point where the alcohol wins. With this well researched and beautifully produced hardcover, not only do you get an array of fantastic recipes from 21st century world-class bartenders, but a salient selection of recipes from the annals of cocktailian history.  Each page portrays the drink in an artfully shot photograph along with where the recipe hails from and notes on suggested brands of ingredients.  A particularly helpful inclusion are sections on cocktails defined by mood, kind, era, and ingredients.  If nothing else, this book will help save your liver.  GSN Rating: A+  Get a copy here.

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