1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VERY good book for starting to understand mixology,
This review is from: Speakeasy: The Employees Only Guide to Classic Cocktails Reimagined (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I got this book for free, and am darn glad I did, I would certainly buy it!
Once you get past page three and the authors New York centric view of the cocktail world, you will find a quite good book that can take you on the first big step from reading recipes to understanding recipes.
Containing many sound principles - use fresh juices, buy or make high quality syrups, understand the original goal of a (classic) recipe before exploring, search for balance among the different flavors - and aspects - of a drink: taste, body, texture, finish, sweet/sour balance, showcasing the spirit(s). I like the ongoing emphasis on understanding - "to break the rules, first you must know what they are."
The book contains an interesting assortment of recipes - divided into aperitifs; long drinks & fancy cocktails; eye-openers and pick-me-ups; pitchers, punches and sangrias; homemade syrups, cordials, and infusions. I'm familiar with more than half the classics they start with, and to my mind they are good choices. They mostly give recommendations for specific bottlings or brands of liquor - which can be extremely helpful- only omitting a few - the proseccos, the ruby port. Most of the recommendations are brands with excellent price-performance, and for a few recipes they say "here, in this one (only) use the expensive stuff."
I only disagree with the authors on a few points - sorry, but 6 to 10 seconds is not long enough to shake - google "science of shaking". Aside from that the rest is minor: I understand but do not agree with freehand pouring, they do not mention dry shaking with egg whites (and omit the entire salmonella controversy), and they don't add any vodka to their simple syrups for shelf stability - irrelevant for a bar but a big point for an amateur. And they are a little heavy on the elderflower - the 'duct tape of mixology'. I also thought it funny that the text states clearly that you need two hands for a good shake (with which I agree) and then shows a photo of a one handed shake. Oops!
I was impressed with the section on punches, and syrups and infusions. I don't know if I'll ever make my own Vermouths (they add certain herbs to named brands of vermouth), but I'm quite impressed that they tried. Boy, they like Dolin Vermouths!
The recipes look good - worth exploring - the thinking looks good - looks sound. With each recipe they describe the dominant flavors, body, dryness, complexity, flavors & finish - like a welcome elaboration to the ratings in Harrington's 1998 book. And the book doesn't suffer from "the burden" of farm-to-glass that affects so many contemporary California recipes (sometimes it seems like all California recipes must be complex, use expensive highly perishable ingredients, be time consuming to make, but mostly result in otherwise unmemorable drinks.)
Overall, one of the best of the new books on Cocktails, even if it was written New York <joke> And published in California (Berkeley).