Cocktail Techniques Hardcover – May 3, 2010
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I mainly got it for some extra technique knowledge and because I'm a fan of Kazuo Uyeda.
Instructions aside, he describes his philosophy as a bartender and what one must keep in mind with each guest. From how one pours liquor to overall cleanliness, every action must be kept in mind to please individual guests. I suppose it could be seen as being a perfectionist, but his reasoning behind it made sense. If a bartender with a slovenly appearance makes a cocktail while accidentally spilling liquor in the process, would that not effect the guest's opinion of its taste even before the first sip? What is more important, the process or the end result?
The book contains only 61 cocktails, 30 traditional cocktails such as the Gimlet and Bellini and 31 original creations. This could be viewed as a slight complaint, but the limited size allows him to better focus on each cocktail. A standard recipe is shown at the end of each cocktail, along with his own variation with justifications for why each tweak is made. Uyeda goes so far as to suggest specific brands, thankfully citing affordable ones such as Smirnoff and Beefeater.
The section devoted to his original creations is prefaced with a few pages on color theory, some ingredients included only to effect the color. A majority of his creations are pastel colors, with a few pale hues thrown into the mix. The most interesting cocktails on presentation alone are the C&C Series, which features what he refers to as a Coral Garnish. Using a Champagne flute, dip the rim into a bowl containing Blue Curacao (or another ingredient, if the recipe calls for it) and without turning the glass upward press the rim into a seperate bowl containing salt. The end result is a beautiful garnish that accentuates the drink's color. My only complaint with these recipes is that several ingredients are hard to find outside of Japan if one doesn't know where to look, but given Uyeda's reputation I feel the search would be worth it.
All in all, at $30 this book is worth every penny. I highly recommend this title to anyone interested in the craft of bartending, and perhaps this may inspire others like it has myself.