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How to Booze: Exquisite Cocktails and Unsound Advice Paperback – May 18, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (May 18, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061963305
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061963308
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #456,142 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In their introduction, experienced barhands Altier and Kaye state that a "good drink, when it's put together right and is suited to the occasion, transforms you into a better version of yourself," setting the tone for this sharp guide to drinks for every conceivable occasion. Buoyed by wit as bracing as a gin martini, the duo lead a tour through dozens of cocktails, offering suggestions for the end of a long unlucky streak (a Gin Rickey) and when sitting next to a movie star (the rum and fruit-juicy Mary Pickford) as well as more commonplace events like meeting the in-laws (the gin-based Fine and Dandy), a high school reunion (a Rusty Nail), or flying coach (a Madras). Rather than devolving into sheer novelty, misogyny or mean-spiritedness, the authors deftly walk the line (rare exceptions include "last drink before AA"), offering cogent information on a drink's creation and characteristics, along with sharp commentary such as "your sexual orientation is at best a self-fulfilling prophecy, and not a very interesting one at that" in the entry for sexual experimentation (calling for a rye-and-maraschino liqueur Fancy Free). The duo, veteran New York drink-slingers both (Altier currently runs a Manhattan bar), keep a canny balance between the educational and the irreverent, making for a terrifically entertaining guide to informed imbibing.

From Booklist

This book’s gimmick—half bartender’s guide, half advice column—is a good one, and reading it is like getting a talking-to from a bartender who’s seen it all. Not only does he know that people never change, he also has no vested interest in getting you to stop drinking, either. He is good, however, at helping you find the right drink in which to drown your sorrows. Kaye, a lawyer who has worked as a bartender and sommelier, and Altier, a bartender and drinks consultant, keep the patter snappy as they cover proper drink pairings for the times of your life, from first date to last rites, with entertaining entries for such unique crises as “Drowning Out the Ticking of Your Biological Clock” and “Realizing Your Child Is a Fucking Idiot.” The writing, while funny, veers toward lad-mag territory and so, like any bartender’s guide, you won’t want to read this in one sitting. Fortunately, the drinks advice is remarkably good, from empowering explanations of cocktail fundamentals to variations on classics that are well worth trying. --Keir Graff

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Customer Reviews

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This is the funniest cocktail book you'll ever find.
Jim Stark
The authors of this book are quite accomplished in that field and the book is written with a quick wit.
Tugboat
The prose in the book is absolutely hilarious as long as you can appreciate some bawdy or crude humor.
Jared C. Boschen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By your neighborhood librarian on May 20, 2010
Format: Paperback
This one went with me everywhere until I finished it - in my pocketbook, to dismissal time at the elementary school, along for the ride any time my husband was driving, and most importantly, to the liquor store to buy new bottles of dark rum, gin, bitters, maraschino liqueur, and absinthe (I already had the Lillet Blanc and the elderflower liqueur).

Now we live in a heaven of Friday afternoon cocktails, interesting, complex, delicious things like the rum daisy, the Sazerac, and the Perfect Manhattan. And while we drink them, I read aloud from this extremely funny book.

The authors - a bartender and a lawyer, and if that doesn't sound like the setup for a ribald joke I do not know what does - conjure the perfect situations for drinking their favorite cocktails. Revenge adultery? The French 75 (gin, lemon juice, champagne, mmm). Threesome? The Negroni (to which I say HEY! That's MY cocktail, and I am NOT that kind of girl). Looking for a fight? Start drinking Bobby Burns cocktails after work and by seven pm you will be bloody and grinning.

Offensive, oh yes. Marvelously so. But so inspiring, to wit:

Your Neighborhood Librarian's Nightmare in Pink
2 measures Hendricks gin
1/2 measure Lillet Blanc
splash Campari
Shake vigorously over ice, strain into a cocktail glass.
Variation: The Daydream in Pink: same cocktail, half and half with grapefruit juice.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By boozymcboozerton on July 8, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love this book. It brings me great joy every time I pick it up and read a section or two. So much so that I am posting my first amazon review ever. My favorite part: "Stalking your ex." The first, oh, ten times I read that chapter I laughed so hard that tears streamed down my face. My roommate and I read portions of this book aloud to one another, like bedtime stories, only different. I highly recommend it, also as a gift. I got one for my Mom for a late Mother's Day present (OK, I know that's ridiculous, but she liked it! She likes to drink, too, though, so, yeah, take that into consideration.) All in all, the book's an absolute steal at under $10!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ali on June 16, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love this book. I love the bawdy anecdotes, the great classic recipes, and information on liquors, cordials, bitters, etc. Mr Kaye and Mr Altier have transformed this 32 year old lady into a dame that drinks like an 85 year old man. My husband and I read this aloud while drinking Sidecars with our new favorite bar staple, Benedictine.

With all the ridiculously specific scenarios for each cocktail (Drinking with people you despise, Realizing your kid is dumb, etc) perhaps they should start a liquor-related advice column....How about a suggestion for drinking to forget the recession, fellas?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Goldilocks on December 10, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Thanks, Mr. Kaye, for providing the ultimate gift for the irreverent boozer. This book is fabulous--hilarious and informative (you know it's good when they kick off with dark and stormies and one night stands). I'm buying out my favorite local Spokane bookstore's copies for the holidays!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jim Stark on September 26, 2010
Format: Paperback
This is the funniest cocktail book you'll ever find. The co-authors create a stimulating blend between Jordan Kaye's sardonic wit and mixologist Marshall Altier's informative and accessible cocktail recipes. Each recipe is accompanied by a few paragraphs of lurid prose - picture if Hemmingway, Martin Amos, and Henry Miller sat down to write a cocktail book. The book details various life situations that would drive you to drink ("Striking Up Conversations With Strangers," "Company Barbecue," "Stalking Your Ex") and the perfect drink for that occasion (Tom Collins, Brown Derby, and Tequila Sour, respectively).

Along the way, the book provides a lot of genuinely useful information; everything from the distinction between Bourbon and Whiskey to the rules for when a Martini should be shaken vs. stirred (it turns out James Bond was technically incorrect). And finally, the book represents all the new mixology trends emerging in Manhattan, and a return to the bitters and exotic flavors of the 1930's - when alcohol was consumed for flavor and pleasure and not just to get shnookered.

Though the humor is often a little scandalous, this is a fun book that will make you better at entertaining at home, and more creative and discerning when ordering at the bar.
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