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Dark Spirits: 200 Classy Concoctions Starring Bourbon, Brandy, Scotch, Whiskey, Rum and More Hardcover – October 17, 2009
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100 Books for a Lifetime of Eating & Drinking
If you want to make an authentic tagine, bake mouth-watering cakes, or vicariously experience the life of a chef, you’ll find the book for it on this list.
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In an era when countless glasses are burdened with mixtures that are light, bright, and bland, Rathbun fearlessly brings drinkers and their cocktail shakers over to the dark side. This whiskey- (and brandy- and rum-) fueled ride is witty, enlightening, and altogether delicious. --Paul Clarke, Imbibe contributing editor and proprietor of CocktailChronicles.com
About the Author
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Top Customer Reviews
Many people write recipe and bartending books. Rathbun presents a bartending buddy, knowledgably and engaging without being snobbish. The book itself is very attractive, replete with rich, full-color photographs, mixology trivia, wit and culture. The quality design makes the book useful in your kitchen and entertaining in your living room.
Like his earlier work, Rathbun fills "Dark Spirits" with anecdotes that run the gambit from classic literature to popular music references.
"O Whisky! soul o' plays an' pranks!
Accept a Bardie's gratefu' thanks!"
-- Robert Burns, "Scotch Drink"
On page 74, Rathbun offers "Who Let the Drinks Out: 5 Animal Drinks". The list includes "The Eagle" (page 282), "Polynesian Donkey (page 84), "Gaslight Tiger" (page 202), "Honey Bee" (page 154) and "Lion Tamer" (page 79).
"Dark Spirits" uses whiskey (Scotch, bourbon, rye), brandy (Cognac, Armagnac), and dark rum as bases to 200 recipes. So, do you need to purchase "Dark Spirits" if you already own "Good Spirits"? There is some recipe duplication but not enough to waive off this worthy addition to your bartending library.
I'm fond of the Rusty Nail, a drink I first learned of in my childhood. My father ordered two at a company Christmas party and arrived home in a never-before-seen jovial spirit. I inquired what had lightened his mood and he said, "A Rusty Nail, son!Read more ›
The book is beautiful. My hardbound copy is heavy and well made with good stock in both cover and page. The photographs are superb and the design is one of the best things about this book. Legible fonts with attractive layouts throughout help make this a pleasure to look through.
The writing style is fun and playful and this book is an enjoyable, light read.
Along with the standards, there are tons of drink recipes I'd never heard of and plenty of liquors that share that same attribute. The sections about each spirit are informative and useful knowledge, perhaps in barrooms or if you get a slot on Jeopardy.
Let's face it, this is basically a recipe book. Having the drink selections divided by whimsy was a bad idea. While there is an index in the back in which one can find each recipe by base spirit, it would be far more useful had the author divided them throughout the book in kind. One can only imagine after having a few of these delights that it would be quite difficult to find a recipe otherwise.
Even if he had divided them up by Standards, Fruity, Aperitif, Dessert,etc., the book would have made a better bar companion. As it stands, I doubt many will refer to this when mixing. It may have added to the cost, but dividers with tabs are a standard in most drink recipe books or reference guides.
Many of the drinks featured are far too obscure and/or fluffy for my tastes. I can only imagine that they were added to help build up bulk but I doubt many will actually go to the trouble of finding the rare ingredients it takes to make them.
Note: Some of the recipes are a bit complicated and should only be tried prior to imbibing.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is very useful and inspiring. I wanted a book by A.J. Rathbun, I saw some of his books in the library, just not this one. Big pictures and good instructions.Published 23 months ago by KWarner
Uncrate.com promoted this book to me so I decided to give it a shot. I do think it is worth the buy if you are looking for some good cocktails or whatever floats your boat.Published on January 20, 2014 by mike 67
A friend of mine gave me this book for Christmas, because she knows I love bourbon, and I've spent the next two months going through all the recipes. I love this book. Read morePublished on February 7, 2013 by Mullins, SR
Dark Spirits promises an entire volume devoted to barrel-aged distillates of all kinds. Sadly, Rathbun fails to deliver. Read morePublished on December 7, 2012 by Ian J. Parr
I've had this book for a while, but I didn't dive into it right away because I'm a fan of gin cocktails. Read morePublished on November 15, 2012 by Shelley Ryan
This book does have some interesting little historical tidbits in it, but I'd say that for it being basically a cocktail recipe book, it's a tad on the verbose side. Read morePublished on April 23, 2012 by Shane
Having recently taken a tour of a rum distillery, and having made my way through two other excellent books about spirits (Boozehound: On the Trail of the Rare, the Obscure, and the... Read morePublished on January 15, 2011 by Eric Sedensky
I already have about ten bar books, and this one is by far my favorite.
If you've ever enjoyed any kind of dark, aged, or expensive liquor, beer, or wine, then this book... Read more
I thought that this was going to be a drink recipe book with cool photography and witty text. In my opinion, it misses the mark on each one of those items. Read morePublished on December 8, 2010 by myoho guy