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American Bar: The Artistry of Mixing Drinks Hardcover – October 16, 1995
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Original Language: German
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Top Customer Reviews
Scattered within the recipes in the first half of the book are several of his own design, with the "Fallen Leaves" being one of my personal favorites. The second half of the book contains a great collection of information about different cocktail categories, sprits, liqueurs, as well as a review of mixology tools, terms, and processes in general.
However, I do take issue with several of the recipes he provides. He describes both the Old Fashioned and Sazerac as being filled with water or soda as the final step, neither of which is correct. He also indicates Triple Sec as the proper ingredient for a Sidecar, when it should be Cointreau, and the proportions he provides for this don't result in what I feel are a properly balanced drink.
A number of reviewers have already expressed their enthusiasm for this great book, but some have qualified their admiration by quibbling with Schumann over a recipe or two, claiming that the master has "got it wrong" and that they know the "correct" way that a particular drink should be prepared. These reviewers are entitled to their opinions, but I think potential readers of Schumann's book would do well to note that there is no definitive recipe for any sufficiently well-established cocktail, just as no two chefs will agree on the recipe for a perfect omelette. Schumann offers elegant, minimalist versions of almost all of the great cocktails -- what more do you want?
At this present time, there is a renaissance going on in cocktail making, and historical study of recipes. That may sound pompous, but it is true. And due to this on-going renaissance, glaring holes are being exposed in Herr Schumann's book.
Here are the ones that I found, the fact that they are extremely well known recipes makes it even worse.
Bellini (lemon juice. why?),
Caipirinha (lime wedge. no whole lime?),
Kamikaze (rose's lime "juice". why?),
Long Island Iced Tea (orange juice. why?),
Mai Tai (rose's lime "juice". why?),
Mojito (crushed ice. why?),
Old Fashioned ("fill with soda or water". why?),
Rob Roy (dry AND sweet vermouth. why?),
Sazerac (1. bourbon, instead of American Rye, 2. "fill with water". both Why?),
Scotch Sour (powdered sugar AND sugar syrup. Why?),
Sidecar (no sugar rim. why?),
There are no explanations as to why the recipes are so unorthodox, they are just stated as fact. Blindly following these recipes leads to bartenders who think they know it all, because they are using Schumann's recipe, but not having any indepth knowledge of the history of the cocktail.
If you are a bartender, or want to be, then you will probably end up buying this book anyway, just to see what the fuss is about. Do yourself a favour and make sure you buy plenty of other books, so you can compare them.
As someone who has been a bar manager, and head bartender, I wouldn't hire someone who insisted on making cocktails to Schumann's specifications.
There is some sound advice in the back of the book, but the recipes themselves are not worth buying the book for.
Buy this book, and lots of others to compare it to.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An easy-to-use guide to mixology, but also includes the history of various spirits and offers a distinctly midcentury aesthetic. Like Alfred Hitchcok films? Read morePublished 10 months ago by T. Browning
another book on mixing drinks. There are many like this that will teach you a multitude of cocktails. good for the collectionPublished 18 months ago by mike 67
We noticed this title on another site in a leather bound version with monogramming, and purchased this item to preview the content before committing to the leather bound... Read morePublished on January 23, 2013 by Steph B
This book is a relic from the pre-cocktail renaissance days of the '90s, though as someone pointed out, it's out-dated nature goes back to the days of the '70s. Read morePublished on December 21, 2012 by Alex O
This is a most comprehensive guide for mixing drinks I have ever read. Its recipes are traditional and its descriptions of spirits of all varieties are reliable. Read morePublished on July 13, 2010 by Stephen H. Wahl
I bought this book approx 7 years ago when I was learning to bartend. It makes a great presentation in my "library". But no recipes for Cosmopolitans(? Read morePublished on March 26, 2008 by P. D. Mallett