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How's Your Drink?: Cocktails, Culture, and the Art of Drinking Well Hardcover – November 28, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Agate Surrey; 1st edition (November 28, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781572840898
  • ISBN-13: 978-1572840898
  • ASIN: 1572840897
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 5.4 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,009,598 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

With authority and just a hint of snobbery, Wall Street Journal columnist Felten indulges the dedicated drinker with this unwavering, well-informed appreciation of the "secular communion" of a good drink. Chock-full of obscure and fascinating anecdotes, Felten's guide covers cocktail history, culture and craft, featuring appearances by the likes of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Ernest Hemingway (who "ranked 'dry' martini drinking somewhere between bullfighting and big-game hunting in his hierarchy of the manly arts"), Queen Elizabeth II and James Bond, along with a long list of notable bartenders and drink experts. Felten seamlessly interweaves drink recipes with their respective histories, detailing for instance the "culture wars" over the Bronx's paternity before divulging instructions for this near-forgotten gem, "robust enough to have spawned a slew of other solid cocktails" like the Income Tax Cocktail, the Maurice and the Smiler. Felden's wry, almost lyrical writing style is quickly absorbing, like bellying up next to a funny, friendly, knowledgeable career drinker. Quoting the New York Times, Felten asserts that "we should know mixed drinks if we care to be thought cultured"; if that's so, this fun read should turn any unrefined boozehound into a class act.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"It is a cultural study rather than a technical one, packed with great trivia and hilarious observations..."--Camper English"San Francisco Chronicle" (11/09/2007)

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 31 customer reviews
Not only is the book a great reference on how to make cocktails but is informative and fun to read.
Anthony Palmer
I was really bummed when I read that Eric Felten would no longer be writing his "How's Your Drink" column in the weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal.
John Coley
Felten has done a brilliant job of weaving together stories about cocktail culture into a wonderfully absorbing whole.
Dee

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Dee on November 23, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I've been reading and enjoying Felten's WSJ column since it began, so I was primed to enjoy this book. But I have to say that the book exceeded my already high expectations. Felten has done a brilliant job of weaving together stories about cocktail culture into a wonderfully absorbing whole. This is an even richer book--funnier, more thoughtful, more erudite--than you might think just from reading the WSJ columns. This is not only a great book about cocktails, but also a great book of American miscellanea seen, as the cool little half-dustjacket has it, through the prism of a glass.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Carlsson on October 30, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have read hundreds of books on Drink (and much to my wife's dismay, have most of them in my library). Every so often, you find a good book on mixing drinks, but most are soulless compendiums of recipes from other books and endlessly repetitive with little insight or inspiration. Other times, you find a good book on the history of one type of libation or another, other times again one finds a social history. Almost never does one find all these elements in one book in equal measure. This is that almost never book.
Eric Felten combines all these elements with style, prose, twists and a wry sense of humor and insight into almost every element (or should I say cocktail) and makes each one a delight in the immediate sense and food for thought and experimentation for later. Not only does it supply a wonderful palette of cocktail recipes, but great stories to go with them and clues for research after it - be it the book or a party, is all over.
A must read for any serious Cocktailian or student of drink.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Sachs on November 27, 2007
Format: Hardcover
As the cocktail enjoys a well deserved resurgence, this new generation is quite fortunate indeed to have a guide in Eric Felten, and a guide book that is as fascinating as it is informative.

Make no mistakes -- this is no dry reference manual. Felten has an easy writing style and a marked ability to elevate the mixed drink to the level of literature while at the same time making his smart insight approachable to all. Even teetotalers will enjoy reading this rich look at our cultural history that provides insight into the culture of prohibition as well as the modern aesthetic that gave birth to the Appletini.

How's Your Drink is a literary work that will surely impact the way in which the cocktail is appreciated. In a world polluted with Martini's that are nothing of the kind, and sugary concoctions designed more for shock value than taste, Felton's book offers a smart, witty, and incisive insight into the culture of the cocktail.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Brian Fisher on February 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I love this book. But then again, I am addicted to his WSJ column and it is for that reason alone that I still retain my subscription. For those of you who are regular readers of Mr Felten's WSJ column, rest assured there is a significant amount of new material in this book. Although it contains no new drink recipes, it appears to include everything that didn't make it past the WSJ editor. In other words, there are new stories and anecdotes for each cocktail supported by Mr Felten's extensive research. I have read the book several times and look forward to reading it several more. Well done Mr Felten.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By E. V. Giles on August 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Felten pens one of my favorite columns in the WSJ -- a column entitled "How's Your Drink". The book, taking its title from the column, carries through the theme of the columns which is to reintroduce the reader to the historical and culture heritage of cocktails.

Until recently a devout vodka drinker, I have, through Mr. Felten's writings, let go of my long held prejudice against gin and have instead come to favor it. At an earlier age my sisters and I were warned of the dangers of gin -- not alcohol, but gin specifically:"If you must drink anything don't drink gin... it will make you go blind!" Reading Mr. Felten's characterization of gin led me to risk going blind and give it a try.

Every chapter is filled with anecdotes and historical accounts of the origins of each drink mentioned in the book. For example, because of the Hollywood portrayal of James Bond, only those who have read Ian Fleming's novels or Mr. Feltens book would know that Bond drank anything other than a "vodka martini, shaken not stirred". In fact, Bond, like any true gentlemen, would select a drink appropriate for the occassion.

A book about cocktails wouldn't be complete without a few recipes. Each recipe is intend to best represent the cocktails presented. Felten does this, but also discusses some of the known variations, their origins and the relative merits or "challenges" of each. Two favorites I discovered in the book are the "Gin Rickey" and "The Bronx" cocktails.

Not all the recipes were to my liking, but that's to be expected. God bless the man who can make a palatable drink out of Campari -- The Americano Highball certainly doesn't fit the bill.

A cautionary note: I would encourage anyone reading this book to try making these recipes at home. Why?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Shuja Haider on November 17, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book does a relatively thorough job of going through the history of mixed drinks, with some sharp analysis of cultural origins and context. However, when Felten strays from the discussion of drinks themselves and their history, his writing suffers. His conclusion, for example, is both sentimental and rather empty. More significantly though, his treatment of non-liquid media that he considers relevant (which is to say, books and movies in which mixed drinks are a significant theme) is startlingly superficial. He does little more than summarize. This would be a mere annoyance, if not for the fact that one of these summaries includes a detailed spoiler of Raymond Chandler's The Long Goodbye. So, if you haven't read that, like I hadn't when I read this book, this book might piss you off.
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