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The Essential Bartender's Guide Spiral-bound – September 15, 2008


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Spiral-bound, September 15, 2008
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Frequently Bought Together

The Essential Bartender's Guide + The Joy of Mixology: The Consummate Guide to the Bartender's Craft + The Craft of the Cocktail: Everything You Need to Know to Be a Master Bartender, with 500 Recipes
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Product Details

  • Spiral-bound: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Mud Puddle Books, Inc. (September 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1603111506
  • ISBN-13: 978-1603111508
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.9 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #350,052 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 25 customer reviews
Love the book, nice photos, recipes, and explanations on history of cocktails.
Hope E. Moffitt
These sections offer very good general coverage of the subjects, and include some basic bartending tips (like using a boston shaker).
K. Hayman
It definitely has a place alongside Gary Regan's Joy of Mixology and Dale DeGroff's Craft of the Cocktail.
Lorelie

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Mark on January 2, 2009
It's better than that. It's an education on the classic methods, using fresh ingredients. Not one recipe in the book calls for 'sour mix', and even has a section of juices to let us know which juices are OK to pour from a bottle and which should only be used fresh from the fruit. Robert goes over glassware, the basics of distillation, nuances of bitters varietals, and a host of other topics. Enough that you are on page 99 of this 224 page book before you see the first drink recipe. Each recipe tells you what type of glass, what garnish, and even what order to do things in to get a proper looking and tasting cocktail. Along with that you get a ton of history and quite a few excellent photographs of prepared drinks.

One big bonus, the hardcover-over-spiral-binding lays flat on your counter while you read along and perfect your craft.

Overall, an excellent beginner's book for the basics, and some classic's like Trader Vic's original Mai Tai recipe from 1944 that I simply must procure the ingredients for that are sure to get some experienced pros away from the 'mixers' and back to making things right.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Lorelie on October 7, 2009
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Hess does a great job of presenting recipes for classic and common cocktails - everything from ingredients to mixing and garnishing procedures is clear and readable. He also presents a refreshing point of view for making cocktails, grounded in the history of mixology. The first half of the book lays out this groundwork well and interestingly, though there is some minor repetition. I also greatly appreciate that there is an index by liquor. Many a home bartender like myself doesn't necessarily know which recipes use Benedictine or Chartreuse, gin or applejack, for example.

My only disappointment was that some of the recipes in the book do not match those in his Cocktail Spirit series (on the Small Screen Network) - for example, in the Aviation cocktail he gives the recipe sans the Creme de Violette, though he does mention this ingredient in the preface to the recipe. In his Cocktail Spirit show, he gives the recipe with Creme de Violette. I wish he had left it in the recipe in the book and mentioned that the common variant was to use all Maraschino because Creme de Violette was so hard to find until recently. To leave it out seems rather contrary to the spirit of the book.

Also, I understand the author not wanting to recommend a basic bar set-up, suggesting instead that readers acquire spirits, bitters, and liqueurs based on the cocktails they like or want to try. It still would have been helpful to suggest some reasonable bottom and mid-shelf brand choices for at least the base spirits and often used liqueurs in his recipes. Obviously not necessary, but it may be helpful to folks who haven't got a bar stocked yet. Yeah, so someone wants to try some gin cocktails but doesn't really know anything about gin...
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Robert Hearne on March 9, 2009
I've been following the author's sage instruction, advice, and information at the DrinkBoy website for years. It's nice to have all that great information in one place and be able to tote it around as needed. Excellent information on all the things you need and need to know for all the classic cocktails.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By K. Hayman on March 22, 2012
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I like this book a lot. Robert Hess's site (drinkboy.com) was the first one I trusted for craft cocktail information and quality recommendations/recipes, and his book is beautiful. Fantastic photography, clear and intelligent writing with good basic information. I actually just bought a second copy for a friend.

As other reviewers have said, this is not the book you want to pick up if you're looking to be able to make any drink in the world someone might ask for. However, in my opinion, that's what the internet is for- if you want a manageable collection of good, balanced cocktails that have stood the test of time, though, this is your book. I largely trust Hess's recipes, and as a bonus you can watch him prepare a number of them on his Small Screen Network videos.

Aside from, of course, the recipes, the book has a brief history of the cocktail, summary of drink types, overview of barware and tools, and introduction to the basic spirits, liqueurs and mixers. These sections offer very good general coverage of the subjects, and include some basic bartending tips (like using a boston shaker). I personally think these sections could be a bit more detailed, but I understand the constraints of page limits etc. This is controversial, but I wouldn't mind seeing a brief summary of recommended brands for starting out (which he does have on his site as well, and of course available brands change over time) or even better, a guide for picking out brands yourself. (For example- which type of rum one should buy as a beginner; brands of liqueurs that are of acceptable quality (since as we all know, many of the lower end ones are riddled with caramel colors, "natural" flavors and other additives)).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By C. Burns on February 23, 2010
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This is not a compendium of a jillion drink recipes; there are other books that make that claim. But if I had to recomend one book for somebody to start out with it would be this book. It's priced reasonably and won't steer you wrong. I'd follow this book with Dale DeGroffs "The Essential Cocktail" 2008 and Ragen's "The Joy of Mixology". Then persue Wondrich and Embury to your hearts content. But start with this book.
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