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Craft Cocktails at Home: Offbeat Techniques, Contemporary Crowd-Pleasers, and Classics Hacked with Science Paperback – February 24, 2013

4.1 out of 5 stars 72 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"a fascinating read that answers many questions cocktail geeks have had over the years"
-Colleen Graham, About.com


"This gets my vote for best new cocktail book of 2013. A++" 
-Blair Frodelius, Good Spirits News


"demystifies the sometimes stuffy world of craft cocktails with science, bottle caps, and duct tape"
-Trey Hughes, Three Sheets Manufacturing


"So stuffed is this book with useful knowledge that I feel like I probably absorbed only a fraction of it during my cover-to-cover read."
-Cook In | Dine Out


"A few reviewers on Amazon complained that Craft Cocktails at Home was too quirky and quixotic, but for me that's actually a positive. I doubt there are many people who would find EVERYTHING in this book useful. But I promise you that any cocktail drinker, from a newbie to a professional mixologist, can find SOMETHING incredibly useful and interesting here."
Tasha Brandstatter, BookRiot.com

About the Author

Kevin Liu started writing about food and science online at ScienceFare.org in 2011. He doesn’t plan to stop anytime soon.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 254 pages
  • Publisher: Kevin Liu; 1 edition (February 24, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0615766382
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615766386
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #289,250 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Kevin Liu's informative and accessible Craft Cocktails at Home is the first cocktail book I'd recommend to those with a science or engineering background who want to get into the craft of mixing drinks. It's not necessarily the most essential (that would be Embury's Fine Art of Mixing Drinks), nor is it for everybody; those looking for the history and some of the romance of mixed drinks would be better served by Ted Haigh's Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails or one of David Wondrich's books, and those looking to understand cocktail genealogy and structure can do no better than Regan's Joy of Mixology. But for those who want to understand the scientific processes and principles underlying such basic cocktailing concepts as dilution, citrus freshness, infusion, and acidity, there's no better, or friendlier, place to start. Liu has amassed a huge body of knowledge through research and his own experiments, and he puts it across in a style that's witty, light, clear, and amusing, perked up by self-deprecating asides and the occasional Internet in-joke.

Liu directs the book as much at mixed drinks nerds as at novices, conducting a hybrid course that's both Introduction to Craft Cocktails and Special Topics in Frontier Mixology. As one of said nerds, I'm especially grateful for summaries of much of what bartenders and bloggers have discovered about topics such as iSi whipper-abetted fast infusions and alternative forms of acidity, as well as wonderful and clearly written recipes for such things as speedy allspice dram and an orgeat so simple that making it feels like cheating. There's recipes for unusual and exciting drinks from innovative and under-appreciated mixologists like Pip Hanson and Stephen Shellenberger.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is not a cocktail guide. Do not expect to find (many) recipes for cocktails here. Instead recipes for things like marvellous-tasting tap water, clear ice and methods for home made bitters are included, with explanations on the science behind that makes them work.

Ok, so I am an engineer, but I loved it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a professional bartender with a scientific grounding, I have always had to rely on food science writings such as Harold McGee's "On Food and Cooking" and scientific papers to obtain a deep understanding of what exactly I do behind the bar, and what I can do to enhance it.

Until now that is.

Kevin has kindly explained everything, from the physiology of flavour to how flavours interact with each other. He goes onto how to make clear ice and a sous-vide at home, and he introduces some truly incredible concepts in regards to preservation, infusions, consistency and increasing the overall sensory experience.

There is nothing quite like this on the market, and I am incredibly happy that it now exists. It is bound to shake up the industry for the better through offering new foundations for creativity.

Well done sir. Well done.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a niche book. It doesn't tread into the realm of recipes hardly at all, and it doesn't aim to educate you about how to make a tasty drink in 10 minutes with just a few ingredients. Those are probably better places to start, for which there are innumerable great texts (people will argue for ever about which ones are best. The truth is, they don't differ much in the basics. And you won't need them once you get past that. Or, if you're aiming to be a professional, you will end up buying them all. Either way, its not worth wasting time arguing over.)

Assuming that you already have those basics under your belt, and this is going to be sitting next to the other dozen or more books you have on "liquids" ;) , this is great. More than great, it is the best of its kind.

For knowledge which is both serious and straightforward, detailed yet accessible, (and not full of useless quasi-scientific jargon!), Liu takes you through everything you need to know about ice, mixing, the make of spirits and how they react to various factors, and so much more. (Check out the table of contents on search inside on amazon for all the info of whats inside).

It is reminiscent of one of the greatest books on food of all time, Harold McGee's masterpiece: http://www.amazon.com/Food-Cooking-Science-Lore-Kitchen/dp/0684800012/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1412734960&sr=8-1&keywords=harold+mcgee
Though this is not McGee level, it is a great pairing to it for this very specific context.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm giving this book 3.5 stars, here is why:

I am a professional bartender. I use fresh juice, and no premade mixes. Infusions are nothing new and I feel that I'm a pretty decent craft bartnder. Some of these concepts were a review for me, others were new, and others a bit unhelpful. Honestly I was looking more for a book that helped me apply these concepts into creating original cocktails.

I found all of this information crammed into a relatively small book to be overwhelming. However it is going to be a great reference and something that I can go back to, time and time again. The author provides excellent resources for further education and passages by well known bartenders who's recipes I already adore.

I feel for all the good information, it lacked a little. I felt each section needed to be a bit more in depth, meaning I needed more than a recipe to see these concepts in action. How can I apply this technique in real life? I did enjoy the book. I feel it could have been better. The Bar Book by Morgenthaler has been my favorite bartending book from the start and I feel his techniques are better as well. Both still have a place on my shelf
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