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American Bar: The Artistry of Mixing Drinks Hardcover – October 16, 1995


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 408 pages
  • Publisher: Abbeville Press (October 16, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558598537
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558598539
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #319,066 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: German

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Customer Reviews

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This is a most comprehensive guide for mixing drinks I have ever read.
Stephen H. Wahl
Just glancing over this thing, I'm actually having a hard time finding a drink that not only looks historically correct, but actually looks well made.
Alex O
This book exudes class, the maroon cover and the black binding make it worth having simply for the pose value.
Thomas Ridge

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 13, 1999
Format: Hardcover
The classy maroon cover, and black type on this little volume are quite fitting to the contents that it contains. Charles Schumann has done an execellent job at gathering a very impressive collection of recipes. The recipes are listed in alphabetical order, and with the inclusion of a very comprehensive cross index at the front of the book, it allows you to look up recipes for a variety of different purposes.
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.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Ridge on June 20, 2000
Format: Hardcover
If I wasn't a devouted Christian, Charles Schumann would be my God. This book exudes class, the maroon cover and the black binding make it worth having simply for the pose value. This book is an invaluable fountain of cocktail knowledge, interspersed with Schumann's own advice, for instance with the recipe for Long Island Iced Tea he wryly remarks "I personally never pour vodka and gin together"(funnier in print). If you like cocktails, or simply want to know about them (there is a comprehensive history of varoius alcohols), buy this book.
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22 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 1, 2003
Format: Hardcover
To some people the "American Bar" by Charles Schumann is their bible. Indeed it is beautifully printed, illustrated and presented. However, under closer scutiny this books claims of using original recipes is somewhat suspicious.
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.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 1, 1999
Format: Hardcover
For all those enjoying a good dinner party where cocktails and longdrinks are essential parts, this book gives you a most comprehensive guide in this category. A book giving simply the best of advice and tips in the field of mixing, shaking or blending drinks. Looks great too!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 3, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent book on cocktails, the philosophy of bartending, and the history of various alcohols. I have never seen a better single book for the home or professional bartender.
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?
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 22, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is a beautiful book. It is easy written and the recipes are well explained. The images, like the paintings help a lot to make a tasteful cocktail. It is the best written book I've read about this subject.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 21, 1996
Format: Hardcover
Herr Schumann's guide puts cocktail mixing on a rigorous,
scientific basis. Although some might complain that his
style is somewhat didactic, he succeeds in expounding a
philosophy of mixology deeper than simply pouring booze
together.

The drinks listed are numerous and varied enough for interest
and experimentation while avoiding exhaustive lists of
outdated drinks and variations on a theme.

Although not widely distributed, I would rank this as the
number one bar guide on the market. The only thing I've
seen that comes close is the Savoy Hotel guide from the
twenties although that book suffers from a relience on
Absinth as an ingredient is many of its drinks.

Buy, mix, drink, enjoy.
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