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Good Spirits: Recipes, Revelations, Refreshments, and Romance, Shaken and Served with a Twist Hardcover – September 12, 2007
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About the Author
A. J. Rathbun is a freelance food and entertaining writer and the author of Champagne Cocktails, Wine Cocktails, Dark Spirits, Luscious Liqueurs, Party Drinks!, and the International Association of Culinary Professionals Award-winning Good Spirits. Rathbun earned his MFA in creative writing from Western Michigan University, and has worked variously as a buyer for Amazon.com, an usher at the Art Institute of Chicago, a rock band roadie, an envelope stuffer, a marketing assistant, the director of the Poetry After Hours program at the Seattle Art Museum, an online editor, a waiter, and of course, a bartender. In addition to his cookbooks, Rathbun is the editor of In Their Cups and the author of Want, two poetry collections. Rathbun has been a guest, talking about drinks, food, entertaining, and kitchen products, on numerous radio shows, including Martha Stewart's Everyday Food satellite radio program and USA Radio, has done interviews with a variety of publications, including the Seattle Times, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and the Arizona Republic, and has contributed to the magazines Every Day with Rachael Ray and Wine Enthusiast, among others. He is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals and the Museum of the American Cocktail. He teaches cocktail classes at the cooking school Dish It Up, one of which was recently profiled in the magazine Traditional Homes. Rathbun lives in Seattle, Washington. To learn more about him and his books, and to read his blog, Spiked Punch, and check out a few of his drink-making videos, visit his website at www.ajrathbun.com.
Top customer reviews
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This is more than a recipe book. Rathbun's guide is the next best thing to having your own personal bartender.
I've carried this book around since last December; packing it to my office, to friends' houses and to bars and restaurants. The results were mixed. Several friends asked me to bring the book along. A co-worker borrowed the book and returned the next day, asking me to buy her a copy on Amazon (I did). However, a waitress sneered at the book when I ordered a London Fog (page 114: two ounces gin, a half-ounce Pernod, served over ice in a rock glass). She came back to my table and informed me the bar was out of Pernod.
The book's one fault it is that too many recipes require ingredients you won't find stocked at an average bar. An entire chapter is dedicated to martinis (seriously, how many establishments stock alder-smoked, black peppercorn-crusted bacon for a "Bacontini"). Obviously, Rathbun frequents higher-end drinking establishments (I got the sense he's a regular at Scotch-and-brandy bars throughout Seattle).
In fairness, Rathbun never comes across as snobbish either. His tips are practical and easy to understand. For example, one of the few cold, hard rules he maintains throughout the book is the use of freshly squeezed juice.
Rathbun nicely balances trendy recipes with classics, crowd pleasers and some of my old-time favorites like the Rusty Nail, the Godfather and the Harvey Wallbanger, which are included in a chapter entitled "An Obscure Reliquary."
In summary, Good Spirits is an excellent resource for your home bar as well as an entertaining coffee table book filled with lucious photographs, anecdotes and lots of humor. Rating: Five stars.
I'm sure this would make a great gift for the bartender or homeowner in your life. Or the apartment dwelling bitters crafter, or the home brewer, or ... pretty much anyone who likes alcohol in any way :)
I love all the lists ("Five drinks to serve to the in-laws" "Six obscure facts to bring up at the bar"). I love that all the French I've seen so far is correct. Of course, I love that the Rebecca gets another shot at greatness. I love the index by primary alcohol. I love the list of specific gravities of different liqueurs so I can make fancy layered drinks. And ohmigoodness, I just love that there is an obscene number of recipes in this book--some for crowds, some for a twosome, some for summer, some for winter. It goes on and on and on.
I was going to have wine tonight, but that's out the window now. There's pineapple juice in the fridge--sounds like it's time for a French Martini!