54 of 57 people found the following review helpful
Excellent Reference for Home Bartenders,
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This review is from: The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique (Hardcover)
I recently set up a home bar and have been looking for guides that would show the ins and outs of preparing quality cocktails. There seem to be a lot of books out there with recipes, but none of them really get down to the fundamentals of technique. I have even looked into professional bar-tending classes, but they seem to inconvenient and I suspect they focus as much on customer issues and how to crank out the drinks. I typically only have one drink a night: I want it to be a good one!
This book truly delivers. It is beautiful with magnificent photos, it's the right size to sit on a bar shelf and, most importantly, it really gets down to the details of technique. A good example is the chapter on shaking...
About a week ago (before buying this book) I cracked the glass part of my Boston Shaker when trying to release it. It made me realize that I really had no idea how to deal with shaking a cocktail in general. Then along comes Morgenthaler's chapter on shaking. He starts by listing (in detail) the different shakers and how they can be used. He describes (in detail) the brands and qualities of the various shakers and what characteristics you should look for in each type (heavy gauge vs. light gauge steel for example). He then continues with how to grip the Boston Shaker (in detail - are you seeing a pattern yet?) and even how to practice shaking (he has his trainees use rice in the shaker).
In short, this is EXACTLY the sort of information I had been looking for. The book is all about the technique that creates a truly wonderful cocktail. Yes, it includes some great recipes (more can be found on the author's blog) and, yes, it has great pictures and the explanations are well written. But most of all it gets down to the details that you could probably only get if you had a pro working alongside you.
I suspect that there is a lot of great information in this book for even for professional bartenders, but it remains very accessible.
I can guarantee that the pages of my copy will soon be stained with various bitters, spirits and juices.