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Esquire Drinks: An Opinionated & Irreverent Guide to Drinking With 250 Drink Recipes Hardcover – September 1, 2004

4.8 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

As a source for the origin of specific cocktails, nothing beats David Wondrich's esquire Drinks. In humorous yet informative prose, Wondrich outlines the history of both familiar and old-fashioned cocktails, such as the martini, sloe gin fizz, Moscow mule, sidecar, and between the sheets. Not only do these essays yield helpful answers to reference queries but Wondrich's authoritative cocktail recipes provide the bartender with guides to the original product and to possible variations. An opening essay on ingredients and techniques makes this a requisite volume for the serious mixologist. Mark Knoblauch
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Hearst (September 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1588162052
  • ISBN-13: 978-1588162052
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 8.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #917,393 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David Wondrich was born on the banks of the Monongahela and raised mostly in suburban New York City. After working as a house painter, a mattress stuffer, messenger, clerk and process server for a mob lawyer, bass player in more bands than he can count and a dozen other things, he settled down and earned a doctorate in Comparative Literature, specializing in Latin scientific poetry. That led to a job as an English professor, which he didn't like. What he did like was writing about jazz and ragtime for the Village Voice and the New York Times and about cocktails for Esquire, a job he began in 1999 and is still happily performing today. Imbibe, his 2007 tribute to Professor Jerry Thomas, has become an essential text for bartenders and cocktail geeks alike. It is the first cocktail book to win a James Beard award. Punch, his 2010 follow-up, has helped refill the flowing bowl around the world. At present he is hard at work on a big, thick reference book.

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Format: Hardcover
As titled, Esquire Drinks is INDEED a bar guide with pedigree. Every decade or two, Esquire Magazine takes a stab at the current state of drinks and soirees. As such, Esquire Drinks owes more in its lineage to the magazine of the 30s and 40s (and it's 1949 progenitor, Esquire's Handbook for Hosts) than what it would become later - especially in the 60s-80s. While the Esquire Drink Book of 1956 was essentially a revision of the earlier work, and the Esquire Party Book of 1965 was just plain awful, Esquire Drinks is an entirely new vision - as befits our newish millenium. That said, it maintains the wonderful haughty and judgemental Esquire "voice" of old. As such, it happily trashes much of the wrongheaded "Martini" headset of today whereby virtually all drinks are fruity and sweet with alcohol disguised. Author Wondrich trods imperiously where other guides oft fear to tread. If this sounds intimidating or pedantic, it really isn't. David Wondrich is a hell of a writer and instills great humor and panache in this lovely book. He also cares very deeply about all of the aspects heretofore touched upon... the history, the research, the Esquire connection, and the DRINKS. The drinks are old and new, and some are culled anew from Esquire magazines of the past, but all of the drinks carry the CHARACTER of classic cocktails and related libations. In other words, be prepared to experience subtle and sophisticated drinks and tippling at the hands of this book. Visually, Esquire Drinks owes much to advances in printing arts today. It is a carnival of color on coated stock and would certainly make for pleasant perusal on any cocktail table - providing inspiration and impetus for many an evening's advancement.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a fairly serious student of mixology (not to be confused with an actual mixologist). I have become interested in great-but-bygone cocktails. This book is a very funny look at just these. It is not, to quote [...], a "Wad-o-Drinks" book (that would be the Bartender's Best Friend by Mardee Reagen--also a really good book). But since most of those drinks are quite undrinkable, that's okay. It is also perhaps not as comprehensive as some the historical cocktail books (e.g. the Waldorf Astoria & Savoy cocktail books), but it more than makes up for this in being an entertaining read.

Remember "Rule 313: Never order a drink named after a part of the anatomy normally covered by underwear".
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There's a lot to admire about this book. Not only the beautiful photography and layout, or the history and analysis accompanying the recipes for a wide variety of drinks, but also (as befits a men's magazine like "Esquire") a commitment to adult, manly drinking: solid rum or whisky-based drinks, for example, instead of the colorful fruit-infused or hypersweet collations available in trendy bars and restaurants. All of that makes "Esquire Drinks" a great book to read end-to-end, as well as to use as a reference for particular recipes.

What really made this volume enjoyable and memorable for me -- so much so that I hastened to buy a copy once I had to return my borrowed one -- is the distinctive editorial voice in which the book is written. A lot of the credit, of course, is due to author David Wondrich. But this sort of hard-boiled, slangy, intelligent-but-not-full-of-itself prose has a long history on the pages of Esquire: compare, if you can find a copy, the captions accompanying the classic menswear illustrations in Woody Hochswender's essential "Men In Style." It really reinforces the idea that drinking can be a pleasure for the adult male, worlds away from the excesses of frat house or party bar. Plus, copy that good is always entertaining to read. That makes "Esquire Drinks" worth reading even if none of the drinks it describes ever cross your lips.
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