Book Review

The Twelve Bottle Bar Book

I received an advance copy from the publisher of The Twelve Bottle Bar, a new book by the David Solmonson and Leslie Jacobs Solmonson, authors of the Twelve Bottle Bar blog. Let me first be up front about a few things. I had heard of the blog before the review copy of the book came my way, but I hadn’t looked at it in depth. Furthermore, this book is firmly geared toward the novice cocktail enthusiast, which I am definitely not.

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Contest now over. 7 copies of Bitter Drink by F. G. Haghenbeck were won!

A cocktail-infused crime novel

Set in tropical Puerto Vallarta during the filming of John Huston's The Night of the Iguana, beatnik detective Sunny Pascal attracts criminals and cocktails with equal affinity. He's been hired by the film's producer to keep the stars (Richard Burton, Liz Taylor, Ava Gardner) out trouble. Or at least out of jail. And yet that's exactly where they seem to want to go.

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Beta Cocktails by Maks Pazuniak and Kirk Estopinal

Are you a bartender that wants to find that one drink to add to your menu to make your local cocktail nerd swoon? Or maybe you're the jaded home mixer who's tried so many Manhattan variations you are sure they are running out of areas of New York? Behold: Beta Cocktails. Originally published in 2009 as Rogue Cocktails, the book is a collaboration between Maks Pasuniak and Kirk Estopinal, who met while tending bar in New Orleans.

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The PDT Cocktail Book by Jim Meehan

As cocktail historian David Wondrich alludes to in his introduction to the book, Jim Meehan's The PDT Cocktail Book is aiming to be the Savoy Cocktail Book of today. This is no small task: The Savoy Cocktail Book, written by exiled American Harry Craddock while tending bar in London during Prohibition, is a unique look at the state of the cocktail circa 1930 and arguably the most famous cocktail book in history. Apart from mimicking the title, Meehan similarly includes vibrant illustrations* and devotes the bulk of the book to a massive list of recipes.

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All The Gin Joints by Michael Turback

New Spins on Gin from America’s Best Bars

I enjoyed reading an advance copy of Michael Turback’s All The Gin Joints: New Spins on Gin from America’s Best Bars (ISBN 978-1466282988), a book celebrating gin with “101 artisanal cocktails.” Mr. Turback writes in a light, engaging style, weaving quotes from Casablanca through the prologue and the brief history of gin that front the cocktail recipes.

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Vintage Spirts and Forgotten Cocktails by Ted Haigh

From the Alamagoozlum to the Zombie and Beyond, 100 Rediscovered Recipes and the Stories Behind them

Buy this book. What Ted Haigh lacks in title conciseness, he gives in content quality. The book leads off with a brief history of cocktails. This background provides a context in which to understand the slew of previously little-known cocktails that he selected from the prohibition era and before. These old-and-new-again classics have been adapted as needed for modern tastes and ingredients. Many of the recipes have an interesting history which my guests uniformly enjoy.

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