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Good Spirits: Recipes, Revelations, Refreshments, and Romance, Shaken and Served with a Twist Hardcover – September 12, 2007

4.7 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Common Press (September 12, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558323368
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558323360
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.6 x 10.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,206,701 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jared Castle VINE VOICE on March 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What makes this book so challenging to review is that author A.J. Rathbun expertly mixes recipes with wit and enough trivia to keep you entertained, educated and inspired through more than 450 pages of libations.

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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This enormous box just arrived from Amazon! It only had ONE book in it! This one! Wow! It's so beautiful, it's so heavy, it's so full of gorgeous pictures and even MORE gorgeous writing and recipes.

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!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is jam-packed with neat anecdotes and tasty recipes. Everything I've tried so far has been a winner. Instructions are easy to follow, there's a lot of good background information on each ingredient, and techniques are clearly laid out and easy to follow. I highly recommend this as a starter cocktail book for the novice, and it's great to have as a reference book if you're more experienced. I'm sure there's a surprise in here for even the most expert cocktail mixer out there!

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 :)
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a big fan of A.J. Rathbun's previous cocktail book, Party Drinks, I have to admit that I had high expectations for his comprehensive guide, Good Spirits. But as I cracked open the new book, I immediately knew that he had knocked this one out of the park. The recipes are easy to follow, and the descriptions make me want to shake, stir, and sip almost every drink in the book. (The mouthwatering photos in Good Spirits add to the attraction too!) But, most importantly, since this is a book about good times and good fun, A.J. has taken great care to make sure that the book itself is part of the joy of entertaining. Like the cocktails in the book, Good Spirits is perfectly mixed!
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Format: Hardcover
Three cheers for the Bacontini! This is just one of the many interesting drinks profiled in this enchanting book. Chock full of recipes and fun anecdotes, Good Spirits is indispensable when it comes to looking for the perfect drink to serve for just about any occasion. The only issue I had with it was getting distracted by the hilarious commentary when trying to quickly reference a recipe--it's just too good to put down! I have my cookbooks and cocktail books displayed in my kitchen and this one always gets commented on by guests because of its good looks. Beauty and brains--a great find! I bought several copies--for myself and as gifts since it makes a great coffee-table book too!
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Format: Hardcover
Basically I know how to make a "blank" and tonic so this is great book to have in my kitchen. Good Spirits not only gives recipes for more drinks than I ever knew existed, it also gives a bit of history or a short story for each cocktails, tells the reader what every home bar needs, gives tips on mixer prep and even some funny quotes. What I think I like most about this book is how it's organized. A.J. Rathburn has divided the recipes by theme rather than liquor type. This may seem counter-intuitive, but if you're like me (someone who hasn't ever gone to bartender school) so guidance in terms of what to serve when, ideas for drink that are more celebratory in nature, nice cocktails to have at a romantic dinner for two are really, REALLY helpful. All that, and the book is beautiful. The pictures are gorgeous and inspiring, the design is great and the layout lends itself to readability. I'm wondering if that will come handy at my next party when my friends and I try recipe after recipe.
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