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The Craft of the Cocktail: Everything You Need to Know to Be a Master Bartender, with 500 Recipes Hardcover – October 15, 2002
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From the Inside Flap
Debonair, a great raconteur, and an unparalleled authority, Dale DeGroff is the epitome of Perfect Bartender, universally acknowledged as the world's premier mixologist. From Entertainment Weekly and USA Today to the Culinary Institute of America and the nation's best restaurants, whenever anybody wants information or training on the bar, they turn to Dale for recipes, for history, for anecdotes, for fun--for cocktail-party conversation as well as for cocktails.
That's what The Craft of the Cocktail is--the full party, conversation and all. It begins with the history of spirits, how they're made (but without too much boring science), the development of the mixed drink, and the culture it created, all drawn from Dale's vast library of vintage cocktail books. Then on to stocking the essential bar, choosing the right tools and ingredients, mastering key techniques--hints worthy of a pro, the same information that Dale shares with the bartenders he trains in seminars and through his videos. And then the meat of the matter: 500 recipes, including everything from tried-and-true classics to of-the-moment originals. Throughout are rich stories, vintage recipes, fast facts, and other entertaining asides. Beautiful colorphotographs and a striking design round out the cookbook approach to this subject, highlighting the difference between an under-the-bar handbook and a stylish, full-blown treatment. The Craft of the Cocktail is that treatment, destined to become the bible of the bar.
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Top Customer Reviews
- Great looking book and great photography
- Detailed intro into all the main spirits
- Detailed info on bartending techniques and measurements
- Good intro into cocktail glasses
- Large number of recipes
- The author definately has command of the subject
- Lots of references of wher to buy items for your bar
- Inconsistant terminology. He uses different names for the same spirit in different pages of the book which leads to a bit of confusion
- No cross reference of recipes by main spirit. I wish the book would have broken down the recipes by main spirit. Recipes with vodka, recipes with tequila, and so on.
- Some spirits are undefined in the book. There are several recipes that have spirits that aren't defined anywhere on the book.
My only gripe is the index is not thorough enough to look up drinks by ingredient. For instance, you can't look up Benedictine and find all drink recipes containing that ingredient.
While it lasted (and I can testify that its demise had nothing to do with the quality of the drink and food) DeGroff's Blackbird bar/restaurant in Manhattan was a place I enjoyed going when I could spare the time and cash. When you got DeGroff into the realm of the bitters-tinged cocktail, his subtly aromatic, complex, and a little bit dark and twisted drinks were a treat for the nose and tongue, even as his urbane presence and stylish economy of motion made it clear you were in the presence of a Real Bartender. I still remember the first Sazerac I had there, and the way it unfolded to my senses.
Although in the ensuing years, when it comes to that particular drink, I've developed a slight preference for the simpler perfection of the classic (just rye, Peychaud's Bitters, simple syrup, Herbsaint) Sazerac, I still enjoy the plot twists in the story told by DeGroff's fancified (half-and-half rye and cognac for the liquor, and half-and-half Peychaud's and regular old Angostura handling the bitters requirement) version, and I follow his glass-preparation instructions whichever version I make.
This is all an illustration of the true lesson to be learned about bartenders' references: there is no single book which will tell you everything there is to be learned about mixing drinks. You need to go out and taste what people are mixing, and you need to have several books on hand whose recipes you can read, compare, imagine, try, synthesize, extrapolate. DeGroff's The Craft of the Cocktail, despite having come out as recently as 2002, is clearly one of those essential references you need on your shelf. It's just a bonus (or perhaps, to some, an annoyance) that the book is so lavishly-produced that you could choose to leave it on the coffee table for guests to enjoy when you're not using it yourself.
The only things to watch out for are a few of his recipe modifications. The most egregious & disgusting is his Sazerac. I wish to make it a crime from here on out to ever make Dale DeGroff's version of The Sazerac. It is a horrid combination of Cognac, Rye Peychaud & Angostura bitters and absinthe and too much simple syrup. Either Cognac or Rye, and no Angostura, please. There are a few others that I don't remember off the top of my head, but otherwise it is a great book. I also disagree with his implying that measuring is less of a talent than free-pouring. Free-pouring accurately is possible, but is in my opinion best left for the likes of Mr. DeGroff, and no one else. I've encountered far too many who are insulted at the suggestion they measure over demonstrating their total lack of accuracy at the free-pour. A measured cocktail will always be the same & is made no slower. There are quite a few drinks that are easily destroyed by lack of absolute accuracy. Stick to measuring.
The ingredients section could be a bit more in depth. For example, he doesn't really point out the differences among London Dry, Plymouth, Old Tom (it is indeed avaiable), and Genever or Holland Gin & what kind of cocktails they are used in.
Mr. DeGroff has a refreshingly democratic approach to cocktails.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have had this book for about 5 days now and I love it. I have tried three drink recipes, Apple Jack Cocktail, Absolutely Bananas (which I did tweak a little), and our current... Read morePublished 9 days ago by Benjamin M.
Bought as a gift, after recipient requested book, as research was done prior to.Published 2 months ago by Linda M
Great book!! We use this one all the time. Really good info with lots of recipes!Published 3 months ago by mike biro
It's no secret Dale DeGroff is a bartending legend. His book, The Craft of the Cocktail, is a testament to that. Read morePublished 3 months ago by jrnewport07