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The Essential Cocktail: The Art of Mixing Perfect Drinks Hardcover – October 28, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
More About the Author
"... I fell in love with bars because of the uninhibited, disordered and surprising way life unfolds at the bar. The only logical progression in my life has been the wealth of characters that crossed my path, leaving their sweet, sour, strong, and weak for me to ponder. I dedicate this book to all the friends and strangers who took a moment to tell a great story and send me on my way".
Over the next several years I learned the ethics of the barroom, what to drink, and when to drink it and why. How to treat the bartender and how I should be treated in turn. And of course how to tip. But the most important thing learned was how to listen and enjoy the life of the bar.
In 1959, in New York City, Joe Baum, a genius of the restaurant business and the president of the newly formed Restaurant Associates Company opened two restaurants that would change the way we eat and drink over the next 40 years. Both restaurants were located in brand new glass towers. The Four Seasons Restaurant was located in the Seagram's Building on Park Avenue. The Seagram's Building is the architectural achievement of two of the 20th century's most celebrated architects, Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe and Philip Johnson. The second restaurant La Fonda Del Sol was located on 6th Avenue in the not so celebrated Time Life building.
The Four Seasons, still operating today, celebrated a return to fresh and regional ingredients prepared with culinary techniques from around the world, while La Fonda Del Sol celebrated the cuisine of the Latin Americas' from Mexico to the tip of South America. La Fonda's cocktail menu boasted the Pisco Sour and Mojito Criollo ... indeed Joe was way out front of the pack!
All this in the 1950's world of bland unchanging menus based on meat and potatoes when the most exciting greens on the plate were iceberg and Romaine lettuce. I went to work for Joe in 1985 and he demanded that I recreate the 19th and early 20th century cocktail bar based on fresh ingredients and classic recipes. Over the next 15 years with Joe, most of them at the Famous Promenade Bar in the Rainbow Room, I celebrated the American cocktail.
Today as founding president of The Museum of the American Cocktail in New Orleans, I along with curator and author Ted Haigh and the other founding members of the museum continue to celebrate the great American culinary institution the cocktail. We are a non-profit Museum and you can visit for a virtual tour at www.museumoftheamericancocktail.org.
and shut the lights when you leave
Top Customer Reviews
Would I rather have it over his earlier Craft of the Cocktail? For most people, no. That book covers the basics for the average home mixologist, whereas this sequel tends to discuss more advanced techniques, like certain foam toppings.
Mr. DeGroff continues to share great anecdotes about the cocktail hour in the Essential Cocktail and certainly isn't a dry writer. I also like how many of these recipes prescribe a particular brand of spirit to be used in each cocktail. This specificity is an improvement over the Craft of the Cocktail.
If I do have to criticize the book, it is that I don't always feel that the pictures jive with the recipes. Specifically, many pictures have these peel garnishes hanging off of the glass. It was my understanding that this style is not really Mr. DeGroff's, especially for those recipes calling for flamed peels. There is even a section in the book entitled "Garnishes" that advocates a style in direct contradiction to the pictures. However, I have not had the pleasure and privilege of Mr. DeGroff's live performances. Perhaps I'm wrong, but based on some of the videos I've seen of his, these drinks don't look like they've been made in the style of Mr. DeGroff. In Craft, many of the pictures features DeGroff's hands as he makes the drink. So, unfortunately I get the sense that Mr. DeGroff wrote a great book but then had Potter Publishers provide some generic pictures. A minor issue of trusting what I see that detracts from the sense that this book is all about Dale DeGroff.
The reason it's a 4-star and not a 5-star is that ultimately it's really just another recipe book--though a very good one. Ultimately, I hope for reference books, whether they are cookbooks, cocktail books, or plumbing repair books, to tell me WHY I'm doing something and not just WHAT to do. If you're already very familiar with cocktails and are looking for some new ideas, you'll probably enjoy this book just fine. However, if you're looking for an in-depth overview of cocktails which will give you more of a sophisticated understanding of the subject, I would recommend The Joy of Mixology: The Consummate Guide to the Bartender's Craft. At the very least I would recommend you check out both books before buying.
Larger format (quarto or about 10 1/2" Tall and 8" wide)with a rarely seen (in drinks books past or present) decent binding so it stays open nicely with tasteful graphics,easy to read type fonts,and even a nicely retro cover (under the more modern dust jacket),it combines the practical and the high art both in its content and production. A lot of thought must have gone into not only the contents of the books but also the practical aspects of it.Built not only to please the eye and palette it works well on a counter,(or better yet behind one of those clear plastic book holders),laying flat, easy to read/consult,easy to wipe pages,and logically organized with a fine array of carefully chosen drinks.
While not as exhaustive as Dales other classicThe Craft of the Cocktail: Everything You Need to Know to Make 500 of the World's Best Drinks and Host Legendary Parties It is a precis on how to do the included cocktails properly and artfully.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Absolutely fabulous. Not only how to make Essential Cocktails but the history behind them and if not history the lore. This is a great book for any ones' book club!!!Published 29 days ago by David Lowe
If you are beginning the trade or even if you are a seasonal mixologist. DALE DeGRoFF is a name that a true Bartender should not only know, but recognize. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Artizahn
What do you get when you take a book like the wonderful Craft of the Cocktail, build a useful index, use 20% of the recipes, and replace the tiny gray font for side stories? Read morePublished 4 months ago by mav1
I purchased this book as a bar manager and use it daily, at work and in my personal life!Published 6 months ago by Jennifer Edwards
Great book for people who know ALMOST nothing about cocktails, or nothing I guess. But if your looking to expand your knowledge on classics, this is not the book for you.Published 15 months ago by cdg25