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The Complete Book of Spirits: A Guide to Their History, Production, and Enjoyment (Drinking Guides) Hardcover – October 26, 2004

4.5 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Many bartending guides provide scant information about drink ingredients themselves. So a Mai Tai calls for rum—what kind? If you’re mixing a Vodka Tonic, how should the vodka smell? Why does a Bombay Sling require bitters? (And what are bitters, anyway?) Blue, who is Bon Appétit’s wine and spirits editor, intelligently answers these questions and others in this full analysis of libations other than beer and wine. He covers vodka, aquavit, gin, rum, tequila, scotch and Irish whiskey, North American whiskey, brandy, liqueurs and bitters, addressing what each spirit is made of, how it’s made, its history, the various flavors that exist and even the numerous brands available. Blue’s historical outlines of each spirit are fascinating; for example, in the chapter on vodka, he tells the saga of the Smirnov (later changed to Smirnoff) family and their exile from Russia to Paris. But with the history comes up-to-the-minute information on popular beverages like the mojito, a rum drink that’s currently "one of the hottest drinks on the club scene." Although the guide isn’t lighthearted, it’s casual enough to inspire page-flipping and informal perusal.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Anthony Dias Blue is the author of several books, including The Complete Book of Mixed Drinks and American Wine: A Comprehensive Guide. For twenty years he has been Wine and Spirits editor of Bon Appétit. His reviews have appeared in magazines and newspapers across the country, including Wine Spectator, Robb Report, epicurious.com, American Way, and Decanter. Mr. Blue's Lifestyle Minute is broadcast several times daily on CBS radio. He lives in California.

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Product Details

  • Series: Drinking Guides
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Cookbooks (October 26, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060542187
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060542184
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #75,986 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm a bartender (among other things) and spirits enthusiast. This book is the basic text for selecting the best possible value in spirits that are common enough to find in most mega-stores.

Dias Blue doesn't venture into esoteric selections that are insanely expensive and difficult to come by. This book is not for the pretentious mixologist. It will, however, be more than adequate for educating the working barman on the selections behind him. Nothing helps the upsell like knowing the rough differences in taste profiles and characteristics of the most commonly used spirits on the top-shelf.

Instead of using the most expensive as the yard-stick of measuring quality, I can now ask questions about my customers' taste and make solid recommendations that they'll enjoy (not to mention reasons why they should stray from the well). This keeps my customers spending more money on both their drinks and my tips, and it keeps my customers coming to me instead of my coworkers.

This book has also come in handy for building a versatile, inexpensive and high quality bar at home and given me lessons on how to organize verticle tastings of spirits I am unfamiliar with. This helps me trust my own palate instead of magazine reviews or tatted jackass mixologists with big belt-buckles and stupid haircuts that are only bartending because it pays the bills until they can find a job in finance.

If you're bartender: educate yourself and don't suck at your job, don't overpour, don't blindly recommend the most expensive selection and understand that the only people that respect the term "mixologist" are idiots.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Complete Book of Spirits by Anthony Dias Blue is a marvelous guide for a retail store. It is an easy read, incredibly informative, and can make you an instant expert on all spirits, even includes barware and glasses. I bought it for our liquor managers in each store and they have found it to be an excellent storehouse of knowledge from beginning to end about all types of spirits. I needed this 35 years ago when first became a liquor retailer. Awesome book!!!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Great book on spirits. Gives the history and distilling techniques used to make them, how to tell them apart, and even rates a lot of them at the end of each chapter. Very interesting and easy to read.
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Format: Hardcover
I was recently hired as spirit sales person and needed to learn more about the subject i was selling. This book was very useful for me and contains a lot of great information about the history of spirits and how they came about for today's consumption.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
has a wealth of information of production, history, tasting and products. I would strongly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in all things spirits
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book for my dad who owns a liquor store.. He read it from cover to cover and now uses it as a reference.. Tons of information!!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Purchased the book because I hope to purchase a package store in the very near future of course, one have to brush up on the types of spirits that are available. I find the book to be great only because I know little about liquors and want to know more. I understand Vodka and Rum because I drink these two products and the authors assessment are on the money. I will have to purchase many more books in the near future to do a lot more tasting. The other reviewers are in the liquor business and if they say the book is a must have than why not.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great price but other books have more information available today. This book was decent in helping me create more knowledge about the bar
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