Friday, March 18, 2011

A Liquor Library


Sure, with mixology as your hobby, you’re always focused on keeping a plentiful supply of various spirits in your liquor cabinet. Of course, you’ve already made sure that you’ve got the essential barware items like a shaker, strainer, jiggers, etc. But does keeping many spirits mean that you’re well stocked? And for that matter, does having the major accessories mean you’ve got all the necessary barware? The answer to both questions is, “Not necessarily!” – at least, not if you don’t keep some books among your barware. That’s why this blog post will be about what you might call Barware Books – or your Liquor Library, if you prefer.





First and foremost, I would highly recommend Mr. Boston: Official Bartender's and Party Guide – something that has long been my go-to guide for cocktail mixing. This book contains recipes for almost all of the classic cocktails you’ve heard of – and maybe even a few of the classic cocktails you’ve never heard of! But if you limit your use of this book to simply recipes alone, then it will be greatly under-utilized. That’s because Mr. Boston contains a great deal of useful information about barware and glassware as well as many beneficial tips, especially for the novice home bartender.





Are you a fan of The King Of All Cocktails? Then an essential guide for you would probably be The Little Black Book of Martinis ! This is another one of my favorite books and again, not just for the recipes because it contains quite a good deal of background about this classic – not to mention whether to shake or stir. As far as the recipes themselves are concerned, you can certainly find some very basic martinis (dry or not so much) but also a wide array of variations. But be careful, fellas! You might just wind up mixing yourself a Girltini!





In the mood to mix a cocktail just because it’s got some kind of a crazy name? Then howzabout using Sex on the Beach and Other Wild Drinks! as your bartending bible when your mood gets silly? Whether you’re looking for full-blown cocktails for sipping or shots that you can down in a single gulp, this book is full of unusually named drinks that might be fun to try with guests at your next party.


Feeling experimental? Or might you be more of the adventurous type? If you’re at a point where you’ve gotten past the basic cocktails and have developed more of a sophisticated palate, then I strongly suggest a book titled Food and Wine Cocktails 2011 as your blueprint. About four years ago, a good friend of mine gave me the 2007 guide and it was one of the best gifts I’ve ever gotten. The reason I say this is because of the way the book is organized – it not only includes chapters by spirit, but also, by type of drink as well: aperitifs (your pre-dinner cocktail), digestifs (or dessert drinks) and drinks you can make by the pitcher.

Of course, just as there are classic cocktails, there are also classic cocktail books. Not long ago, I read an article called What's a Good Cocktail Book? which I encourage you to check out in order to get a better idea of some of the classic cocktail books that are available.

Are there any cocktail related books that you like but weren’t mentioned in this blog post? If so, then by all means, please leave a comment and share them with the rest of us!



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