6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Hand Me That Corpse Reviver #2
, October 22, 2004
I'm not in any way, shape or form a cocktail expert, unlike the two reviewers ahead of me, Messrs. Regan and Hess, and neither am I also a completely disinterested reviewer, as I'm part of the author's immense social circle. All that being so, however, let me say that this is a charming book--an ideal stocking stuffer for those doing early Christmas shopping (I'm buying several copies for several stockings) for many of one's friends.
The presentation of the drinks with handsome photographs (showing off the author's immense glassware collection as well as period paraphernalia) is nicely done. The recipes are, of course, wonderful and the history of each is explicated in a lively way. The brief "Drink Notes" section that follows many of the recipes is thoughtful. Best of all, the writing sounds so much like my friend talking that it conjures for the reader a literate, observant, sophisticated and eager to please companion with a weakness for showmanship--voila! the perfect drinking companion.
An example of this style is found on page 54 under the picture of an innocuous slightly frou-frou drink which Dr. Cocktail calls "The Secret Cocktail." This isn't really its name, which Cocktail tells us he is hiding until the recipe is given and some interesting historical background also presented. The cocktail which dares not speak its name is described thus: "Just so you know, the real name of this drink is not the Secret Cocktail. I will, eventually, reveal its rightful title, but be forewarned, it has two characteristics that scare people to death: again, [as discussed in a recipe given on the preceding page] the dreaded egg and the drink name--it is enough to send virtually all men and most women running away screaming. This is a forgotten cocktail in the truest sense, but it is cloaked in familiarity because you can walk into virtually any bar and order one, if you have a mind to, but they will all be wrong, incorrect, not even close. ALL of them."
The writing is so personable that a non-cocktailian such as myself (and presumably, most readers) can't help but feel interested and relaxed in this slightly arcane world. My only criticism is that the type is just a little small for my middle-aged eyes, but then, the photos are spectacular, so that's all right. This is a book that one can both read and use with distinct enjoyment.