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63 of 65 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Five stars for the content of this book-- minus one for numerous typos
The overall content of this book is excellent and is beautifully written. Even though one might not agree with the author on every point it is a very enjoyable read. Rather than just write a cocktail recipe book, Embury lays out his theories on the underlying principles of mixing a good drink and divides them into general categories. It is somewhat similar Gary Regan's...
Published on December 28, 2008 by K. Whisler

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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 2008 Reprint Full of Typos
It appears that the editor of the 2008 edition may have been sampling the recipes while on the job. I was shocked by the number of typos, which can make reading the book a rather frustrating endeavor. In some cases, words are replaced by similar-sounding words, and one must backtrack to make sense of things.

(I don't know exactly how books are published these...
Published on December 3, 2008 by Fabrizio Serra


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63 of 65 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Five stars for the content of this book-- minus one for numerous typos, December 28, 2008
By 
K. Whisler (CHICAGO, IL USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks (Hardcover)
The overall content of this book is excellent and is beautifully written. Even though one might not agree with the author on every point it is a very enjoyable read. Rather than just write a cocktail recipe book, Embury lays out his theories on the underlying principles of mixing a good drink and divides them into general categories. It is somewhat similar Gary Regan's excellent "Joy of Mixology" in that sense, but is in some ways more readable and is written from the standpoint of a passionate and gifted amateur rather than of a professional bartender, and I think more encouraging of personal experimentation. I already had Regan's book in my collection when I acquired this one, but I don't feel that one is a replacement for the other.

The book is also fun for the historical perspective it offers. Not only are Embury's observations on Prohibition interesting (he lived through it) some of his recommendations on how to do things are informative in comparison to how they are done today. For example, he suggests getting large cocktail glasses--"no less than 3 ounces"! A typical cocktail glass today is over twice that size, though some cocktail enthusiasts now recommend using smaller glasses for classic styles of cocktails.

As good as this book is, shame on the publisher of this edition for allowing it to go to press with so many typos! Some reviewers charitably suggest that the typos also appeared in the earlier editions. I doubt this; they are the sort of typos one gets from OCR and relying on a word processor to clean up the OCR output, and then not doing a final page proof before going to press. (E.g. missing punctuation, "sued" for "used," page references to page XXX.) But even if they were in earlier editions, this is not a facsimile reprint and the errors should have been corrected in this edition. Fortunately, none of the typos are of the sort that prevents the reader from understanding what the author is trying to impart. If the publisher does a second printing of this edition, I hope that the typos will be corrected.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 2008 Reprint Full of Typos, December 3, 2008
This review is from: The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks (Hardcover)
It appears that the editor of the 2008 edition may have been sampling the recipes while on the job. I was shocked by the number of typos, which can make reading the book a rather frustrating endeavor. In some cases, words are replaced by similar-sounding words, and one must backtrack to make sense of things.

(I don't know exactly how books are published these days, but I assume that a computer is involved and that it should be a simple exercise for a competent proofreader to make corrections using some form of text editor prior to publication. Of course, it is entirely possible that these errors were present in previous editions, but there is no reason why they shouldn't be corrected.)

Nonetheless, we should be grateful that this classic is now available as an affordable and otherwise finely executed reprint.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, informative, and droll, August 17, 2009
By 
Tom Mott (Culver City, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks (Hardcover)
Get this book! Read the other reviews: the only reason this book is getting 4 stars instead of 5 is because of the typos in this edition. Ignore them and get the book. It's a pleasure to read.

Embury is a wonderful writer with a dry wit. He clearly and methodically lays out cocktail basics so you can "roll your own." This isn't a book about chocolate martinis and sour apple martinis: it's old school, taking it cues from the pre-Prohibition era of bartending (1880s - 1920). While some of his own recipes are a bit boozy (like a 7-to-1 gin martini), he gives just not his recipes, but lists other "standard" recipes, critiques them, and then urges you to experiment and find what you like best. In the interest of completeness, he even lists cocktails he thinks are terrible ("... but boys will be boys.")

An aside: A recent web article about making the perfect sidecar found his sidecar to be much too boozy ... a problem they solved simply by adding 1 drop of orange bitters. I have a feeling Embury would fully approve of their meddling.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Back in print! :), January 9, 2009
By 
Gavin J. Chart (Worthing, West Sussex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks (Hardcover)
There are many books around about "bartending" or "cocktails", but Embury's TFAoMD (1948) is the definitive work when it comes to mixing drinks, and it was a delight to see that it is back in print. Don't bother with any other books on the subject. Original editions of this work, in good shape, sell for a couple of hundred dollars, if you can even find them!

Not only does Embury describe the principles of a mixed drink, and the equipment that is useful in its preparation, but he also describes each base ingredient, each mixer and how to mix to get the best result. He also provides recipes for six basic cocktails and the practical possibilities in making your own.

There is also a chapter concerning "The Use and Abuse of Liquor", so you could argue that this is even a moral work.

TFAoMD is educational, entertaining, practical and an essential addition to the library of the serious mixologist. Moreover, it is beautifully written. What more could you ask for...?
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25 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Master Bartender Approves, November 9, 2003
By 
Casey C. Taylor (San Angelo, Texas) - See all my reviews
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As a certified Master Bartender and (purist), I am honored to recommend Mr. Embury's book, and recommend it indeed on several levels. The details and attitude are all there. This is basic and pure mixology. I have used this book as text to train over forty bartenders, some I'm sure have served you well. I have three copies and will probably buy what more I can find, only to give them away and share in the invaluable knowledge therein.
Read this book, and may you never more suffer an intolorable, insipid cocktail again.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's surely time this book was reissued, December 9, 2000
We have a lot for which to thank David Embury in this very entertaining book. With its help we managed not to make mistakes with our purchases of spirits. Embury introduced us to one of the most enjoyable of all long drinks--the Collins family. Who wants a gin and tonic (though I must admit I still enjoy these) when you can have a Tom Collins?
And Embury is so right to include "tons of ice" in each recipe. It's amazing the difference plenty of ice makes to a drink. I always swirled an ice cube in the alcohol (and then discarded the ice cube) before mixing the drink. The mixer used also makes a lot of difference. So many of these (tonic water and ginger ales in particular) are far too sweet. (Anyone would think they were aimed at children!) Certainly nobody will want to mix a bottled lemonade with gin (or any other alcohol) after trying Embury's Collins recipes.
When we moved house four years ago and were sorting through our books, we found that our copy of this book was literally falling apart. There wasn't one page attached to another--though the book still had its cover. My husband wanted to throw it away (we didn't have money to spare for alcohol these days anyway) but I said "No". He's recently started brewing his own spirits. They're not the equal of anything recommended by Embury, but they're nowhere near as bad as I'd feared. The brandy he produced for my Christmas pudding and Christmas mince pies certainly tasted like brandy and was even reasonably drinkable on its own. It will, he declared, improve with age. Certainly I've tasted commercially produced brandies a LOT harsher.
But I wonder what Embury would think of all this home distilled liquor? Maybe if his publisher decides to reissue the book Embury could update it to include home distilling kits.
Guess who is glad we didn't throw away this book? :-)
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best cocktail guide ever written, December 2, 2001
By 
Harry Squires (Southern California) - See all my reviews
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Judging by Mr. Embury's prose, he would be a load of fun to sit down and have a drink with. Or better yet, have him do the mixing. This book is entertaining, comprehensive, and clearly written. It tells how to mix drinks, the history of the cocktail, descriptions of various liquors, liquers, mixers; and contains literally hundreds of recipes. Best of all, it shows you a few basic prinicples so you can "roll your own," as the author suggests, and frees you to experiment.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First, A Confession . . . ., January 10, 2014
By 
Raven (New Hampshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks (Hardcover)
Okay, before I talk about the book I'll fess up that my grandfather wrote it (minus all the typos, of course; those were evidently added for the reprint). That said, it's still one of the most definitive and informative books on the market. No, you won't likely find the brands of Cuban rum and Russian vodka he recommends, and there aren't any recipes for drinks that came into vogue after 1947: But Grand-dad was a perfectionist, and if you want a guide to the basics of how drinks are put together, I don't think you'll find anything better ~ and, besides, there are plenty of good Mojito recipes on the internet.

I'm very pleased this has been reprinted, as copies of the original are hard to find, and very expensive.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A perennial favorite, February 9, 2002
By A Customer
I first encounered this book when I worked in a retail bookstore and would spend slow evenings reading it. I first used it to find useful information and was quickly lured by it's wonderful prose and erudite descriptions of alchoholic beverages and their uses.
I use it constantly now, in my own kitchen, whenever I need to look up any alcoholic beverage's history, attributes and recipes. I delight in Mr. Embury's writing and in the wonderful tidbits he imparts on every page. Bravo! I am now buying it for my children, who are grown, so they too will be able to know more about the finer things in life!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Enduring Classic, August 3, 2001
By 
Charles L Fremont (Webster Groves, MO USA) - See all my reviews
This book is nothing short of wonderful. My 1961 Dolphin Handbook edition is a perennial delight to read, its nearly 400 pages crammed with fascinating and sometimes hilarious information about what Embury calls a fine art. I love a writer with an opinion who knows what he's talking about, and Embury delivers not only the "how" but the "why" -- not only the recipes but also the basic principals of this art. Forty years have passed and an updated version or re-release of the book would be welcome. In the meantime I'll treasure the copy I have.
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The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks
The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks by Audrey Saunders (Hardcover - October 1, 2008)
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