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Mr. Boston Official Bartender's Guide Hardcover – Special Edition, November 15, 2011
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This book is perfect for the home bar. The book is like having an unpretentious bartender friend come over to your house and give you mini lessons on what kind of bar equipment you need, how to stock your bar . . . and, most importantly, how to make drinks. By explaining the "nature" of different drinks, you get a feeling for why they work. Despite all the other useful and interesting info, the majority of the book is dedicated to drink recipes. None of them call for mixes -- there is a focus on using fresh lemon or lime juice, as well as instructions on how to make your own simple syrup. That said, you won't find a bunch of difficult or complex drinks that call for you to spend half an hour preparing ingredients like some of the newer fancy cocktail books appear. There are some newer recipes, but the book is mostly dedicated to classic drinks.
The size of perfect -- we can actually store it on top of the bar, but it would easily fit on a shelf or wherever you need it. The type is small but readable.
Overall, this book is a gem for the home bar.
It has an interesting introduction, telling about Leo Cotton, the `father' of the guide and also about the present state of cocktail consumption. There are about 150 new recipes, none using premixes. Some ways to make various syrups are included, attempting to make the cocktails more natural and flavorful. This is an enhancement, especially for cocktail connoisseurs.
The book is really a complete guide to making good cocktails and how you can have extensive bartending techniques. Tips are included on how to be a professional/good bartender. Equipment lists and glassware with tiny silhouettes are listed, also what the well-stocked bar should have; mixing, chilling, and serving as well as charts giving measures are incorporated in the pages.
Instructions to make classic cocktails, with some information about each, then drinks made with: brandy, rum, tequila, vodka, whiskies, cordials and liqueurs, shooters, frozen drinks, hot, eggnogs and punches, wine and beer in mixed drinks and nonalcoholic drinks are all described. It would be a pretty obscure drink, not to be recorded here.
Resources with web sites, a glossary and an index complete the multitude of information included in this compact book.
It is missing some basic recipes however... For example I could not find an apple martini recipe.
The pages are a little difficult to turn, making the book feel crammed.