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Organic, Shaken and Stirred: Hip Highballs, Modern Martinis, and Other Totally Green Cocktails Hardcover – October 17, 2009
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In the book ORGANIC SHAKEN AND STIRRED: HIP HIGHBALLS, MODERN MARTINIS, AND OTHER TOTALLY GREEN COCKTAILS, there are plenty of ideas to spin off of for me.
The first section is a nicely done section of what is best stocked in a more health oriented bar with explanations and information.
Organic Bourbon Wine and Scotch
Organic Wine and Champagne
Organic Spirits and Liqueurs
Organic Mixers, Sweeteners etc
In this first section there are recipes for simple syrup that you can make- most use organic sugar which I refuse to use. Substitutes can easily be drummed up if you are in any way creative in the kitchen.
There is also an explanation of tools to have such as
small measuring cup
Explanations of the types of glassware you might want to have for certain drinks is also in this first section. There is also information on how to best use ICE for cocktails.
The rest of the book is made up of recipes to stimulate your imagination for cocktails and other mixed drinks. They are broken up into sections
FRESH AND ZESTY
LUSH AND FRUITY
CLEAN AND CLASSIC
FROM THE GARDEN
PUNCH AND PITCHER
The recipes are all interesting and give some delightful ideas. There is one big problem that I have found, however, and that is the inclusion of titles of ingredients with no explanations at all of what it is and where to get it.
Here is an example:
Mysterious Stranger drink is made from
freshly squeezed organic lemon juice
10-15 rosemary leaves
1 1/2 oz organic ginger beer
The introduction speaks of how the sweet and sour flavor of the tamarind is nicely softened by the smooth sweetness of Brazilian cachaca but the rosemary really brings the drink together. It explains that you can find tamarind at Indian grocers, but never once does it explain WHAT Brazilian Cachaca is, where to find it and what it is made of.
If this book is designed to inform someone about new ways to make drinks, it would stand to reason that not everyone who reads it knows what all of this stuff is. When I re-read the book thoroughly, I found a mention of cachaca in the introduction of rums with a brief explanation of what is was and how it is related. However, there are a few other ingredients in this book that I could not find cross references for anywhere in the book.
Who has the time to go looking as much as I did for ingredients in lots of paragraph writing when they are busy trying to make a drink? I am thinking most people wouldn't.
What this book is missing is a glossary. If it had a glossary of every possible term used in the book that some people might not be familiar with, this book would be much better. Hence my rating of four stars.
Otherwise, the book has great photos, nice measurement equivalents, and lists of places online to find some of the alcohol and learn about brands and types.
This book also has wonderful ideas to spin off of for NON-ALCOHOLIC drinks. We have used the Mojito recipe to make a non- alcoholic drink that was wonderful without the alcohol, using a drop of rum flavoring instead of rum. Many recipes in this book lend themselves to this type of creativity too.
Each drink recipe has a small paragraph at the beginning with a bit of background, then right into the ingredients. In these lists of ingredients is my minor quibble. To be "organic" in tone, Abercrombie mostly just adds the word "organic" in the front of most of the ingredients. For example, is this very interesting recipe for the "jalisco flower" which calls for "freshly squeezed organic grapefruit juice", "elderflower liqueur", "organic reposado tequila", and "organic champagne". If "organic" is added to everything, then can't we just assume it at the beginning and leave it out of most every single ingredient description.
This isn't to say that Abercrombie just adds "organic" and that's all. The first 25 pages or so are focused on actually finding organic ingredients, with the most helpful being his sometimes specific suggestions as to brands and sources. An organic cucumber or orange might be easy to find. Where does one get organic tequila?
Honestly, I like this book more for his creative suggestions of delightful drinks, some classic and some fairly new (such as the "w.c.c. fizz" inspired by the LA Lakers conference championship in 2008).
It's a fun book because it's exotic and different in its suggestions. Not really great for mixing up new drinks with the more common bar ingredients, this is a book that likely will require you to go to a store or three to find just what you need. e has great suggestions for exotic flavors that make me want to go out to specialty shops to find these fascinating ingredients.
The pictures throughout aren't plentiful--not every ingredient has an image of its presentation. But those that are here are inviting and lush, calling the reader to be the drinker.
And to that I can only say, "Cheers".