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The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique Hardcover – June 3, 2014


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"An accessible but sophisticated primer that could render the rest of the cocktail library obsolete." - Library Journal

"Jeffrey Morgenthaler is our kind of guy; an obsessive practitiioner of lost arts and an inventor in his own right." - from Playboy

"...my favorite drinks book of the year is The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique. Mr. Morgenthaler, a well-regarded Portland, Ore.-based bartender and blogger, notes that a great cocktail requires a combination of three elements: recipe, ingredient and technique. He admits that the first two have been well-plumbed in existing books, then lasers in on the third. Just learning how to make his ingenious but simple "MacGyver Centrifuge" with cheesecloth and a salad spinner to filter fruit juices is nearly worth the cover price." - Wayne Curtis, The Wall Street Journal

About the Author

Jeffrey Morgenthaler is an award-winning bartender and blogger who manages the bar at Clyde Common in Portland, Oregon.

Martha Holmberg is the author of Modern Sauces and Crêpes.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books; 1 edition (June 3, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 145211384X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1452113845
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,051 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Must have book if you're gonna make cocktails at bar or home.
Eric
Takes you through the mechanics, tools, techniques with very easy to follow instructions and good explanations on why certain methods work and others do not.
Bobby W.
I'll cut him some slack on this simply because I like that he talks in his book how I would expect him to talk in real life.
Andrew

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

94 of 101 people found the following review helpful By Philip Duff on June 7, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There's "Setting the Table" by Danny Meyer, to learn about being truly hospitable. There's "The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks" by David Embury, to learn about the theory and practise of mixology. And now there is "Bar Book" by Jeffrey Morgenthaler*.
I've trained about 60,000 bartenders in 60-odd (sometimes very odd) countries in the last 15 years. I've founded Europe's largest bar school as well as an award-winning craft cocktail bar, and if I could go back in time I would give Jeffrey's book to each and every student I've ever had. As it is, I will give it to every student I have from now on.
Jeffrey's research, insight and experience have resulted in a book that will shave years off the time needed to master drink making, leaving more time for professionals to concentrate on creativity and hospitality, and for interested Cocktailians** to concentrate on seducing your neighbours' wives (and husbands) at the excellent cocktail parties you will henceforth be able to effortlessly throw.

This is where you click "buy now". Now!

* Disclosure: Jeffrey is a friend and contemporary of mine, but such a cheap, thoughtless bastard that not only did he not think to offer me a financial inducement in return for a positive review, I even had to buy my own copy of this annoyingly excellent book.

** Cocktailian = cocktail equivalent of a foodie.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By David Sohigian on June 5, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I recently set up a home bar and have been looking for guides that would show the ins and outs of preparing quality cocktails. There seem to be a lot of books out there with recipes, but none of them really get down to the fundamentals of technique. I have even looked into professional bar-tending classes, but they seem to inconvenient and I suspect they focus as much on customer issues and how to crank out the drinks. I typically only have one drink a night: I want it to be a good one!

This book truly delivers. It is beautiful with magnificent photos, it's the right size to sit on a bar shelf and, most importantly, it really gets down to the details of technique. A good example is the chapter on shaking...

About a week ago (before buying this book) I cracked the glass part of my Boston Shaker when trying to release it. It made me realize that I really had no idea how to deal with shaking a cocktail in general. Then along comes Morgenthaler's chapter on shaking. He starts by listing (in detail) the different shakers and how they can be used. He describes (in detail) the brands and qualities of the various shakers and what characteristics you should look for in each type (heavy gauge vs. light gauge steel for example). He then continues with how to grip the Boston Shaker (in detail - are you seeing a pattern yet?) and even how to practice shaking (he has his trainees use rice in the shaker).

In short, this is EXACTLY the sort of information I had been looking for. The book is all about the technique that creates a truly wonderful cocktail. Yes, it includes some great recipes (more can be found on the author's blog) and, yes, it has great pictures and the explanations are well written.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Roochak on June 14, 2014
Format: Hardcover
When Jeffrey Morgenthaler states that the difference between art and craft is the difference between creating something unique and recreating the same thing, flawlessly, over and over again, you begin to understand his approach to bartending. It's "aiming for the unattainable goal of pure perfection...[T]o those of us who enjoy that sort of thing, it's a Zen practice."

The three elements of cocktails are recipes, ingredients, and technique. This book is entirely about technique: making your drinks look better and taste better, and developing your flair for showmanship behind the bar. Not the Tom Cruise bottle-flipping, poetry-spouting kind of showmanship, but the proper ways of stirring, shaking, zesting, and juicing; of making, storing, and handling ice; making syrups and infusions, arranging garnishes. As you can imagine, this is a pretty daunting course of study, and I haven't even mentioned the section on measurements: speed pouring, free pouring, batching drinks for multiple guests, and -- gasp -- blind pouring exact measures.

Morgenthaler is such a lively, engaging writer that he makes this technical manual interesting even to casual cocktail enthusiasts; if you're planning on mixing drinks for a living, this book just became part of the syllabus.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By George on June 6, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you like to mix a nice drink for yourself or guests, but haven't spent a lot of time in really good bars closely studying the world's best bartenders, you will want this book. I have never seen anything even close regarding such "nuts-and-bolts" details of building a fine cocktail and am enjoying it immensely. My compliments to the author for an absolutely brilliant compendium, beautifully illustrated and engagingly written. The range and depth of the information presented (including background, theory, techniques, options, recommendations) is just right for the home mixologist looking either to get started or to take his/her game to the next level. I imagine a professional bartender looking to broaden the scope of his/her practice would find it very useful as well. Very, very useful!
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The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique
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