August 17, 2012
Looking for the ultimate craft cocktail experience around the US or around the world, but not sure where to start? We just got our hands on Destination: Cocktails, a book by James Teitelbaum, that might just fit the bill. Teitelbaum traveled to dozens of cities around the world and sampled hundreds of cocktails in all kinds of bars, from dives to five-star hotels.
As we page through the book we see multiple examples of finely-crafted cocktails using top notch ingredients, as well as profiles and information on the bars themselves. Just a few pages was enough to make us want to pack up our bindles and travel the open roads from bar to bar, and we would like to thank the folks at Santa Monica Press for supplying us with this fine book.
Check it at Destination: Cocktails: The Traveler's Guide to Superior Libations
- we dare you to avoid contracting the travel bug too!
June 21, 2012
We picked up The Brewmaster's Table yesterday on a whim (well actually due to a new and pressing urge to be able to speak intelligently about the pairing of beer and food...more on that later), and we were up until 1 AM reading it. This book, written by Brooklyn Brewery's Garrett Oliver, is a treasure trove of information on beer styles, brands, and ways to pair brew with food.
We literally could not put it down until well after our bed time, and it's a must have for anyone interested in beer. The book is a few years old now (it was published in 2005), but even if some of the brands have gone away, the information about styles is still legit, from pale ales to sour beers.
The Brewmaster's Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food
June 18, 2012
In our experience, scotch whisky has long been the domain of men, with most of the women we know wrinkling their noses and opting for something that's not such a chore for them to drink. That's why it's refreshing to see this book, The Smart Guide to Single Malt Scotch Whisky, appear from author Elizabeth Riley Bell. Not only is she one of the first Americans to take a poke at making single malt scotch accessible, she's also one of the first women (though you probably figured that out by our use of the feminine pronoun).
According to our brothers from another mother at CocktailGoGo, Bell has "...been to over 100 distilleries over 25 summers to put together this compendium of Scotch knowledge." That's a lot of knowledge, and we're excited to check out her book.
Smart Guide To Single Malt Scotch Whisky
December 13, 2011
It may not come as a shock to you that we like to drink, but you may not know how much the Liquor Snob staff likes to read. We're only asking for books and booze this Christmas, and not in that order. That's why we dig the title of the book we just found - The Perfect Drink for Every Occasion. We like the way it just rolls off the tongue.
This book features 151 cocktail recipes, and claims its cocktails "complement every situation imaginable . . . and then some." We're doing our best to come up with 5 situations that probably aren't included in this book - though we suppose you'll have to buy it to find out if we're right. Here's our list we'd like to drink to, though we imagine we'd be on our own for pairing a cocktail:
- Toasting your grandma's marriage to her parole officer
- Remembering the first time you heard Wilfred Brimley say Diabeetus
- Eulogizing Mr. Ed
- Commemorating your narrow escape from those cannibals
- Celebrating a successful squirrel hunt
At The Perfect Drink for Every Occasion
December 12, 2011
If you're looking for the perfect gift for the cocktail nerd on your list, you could definitely do worse than a book on bitters. An ingredient in many cocktails - and some say a requirement for most - bitters is finally getting its time in the limelight. With the resurgence of cocktail culture over the past few years there's definitely been an uptick in interest, but we haven't seen such an in-depth treatise.
Gone are the days when a lonely bottle of Angostura bitters held court behind the bar. A cocktail renaissance has swept across the country, inspiring in bartenders and their thirsty patrons a new fascination with the ingredients, techniques, and traditions that make the American cocktail so special. And few ingredients have as rich a history or serve as fundamental a role in our beverage heritage as bitters.
This book has it all - history, curative applications, and even recipes to make your own bitters, including Apple, Coffee-Pecan and Root Beer varieties. There are even tips for cooking with bitters in both sweet and savory dishes.
At Bitters: A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-All
October 11, 2011
Hunter S. Thompson. Puerto Rico. Johnny Depp in underpants. Copious amounts of mini bottles. A mermaid from Connecticut. Those are the images we can dredge out of our booze-soaked brains about the trailer for upcoming film The Rum Diary. We do recall that the movie looked kickass, and we always love reading a good HST yarn, so we do believe we'll pick up the novel.
"Disgusting as he usually was," Hunter Thompson writes in this, his 1959 novel, "on rare occasions he showed flashes of a stagnant intelligence. But his brain was so rotted with drink and dissolute living that whenever he put it to work it behaved like an old engine that had gone haywire from being dipped in lard."
We always knew Mr. Thompson was magical, but it's kind of uncanny how he peered into the future to describe the entire Liquor Snob staff.
At The Rum Diary: A Novel
October 3, 2011
We've received a copy of a book entitled "The Happy Table of Eugene Walter: Southern Spirits in Food and Drink," and being the bourbon enthusiasts we are, we jumped at the chance to review it. If you're not familiar with Mr. Walter, he was, according to his Wikipedia page, a "screenwriter, poet, short-story author, actor, puppeteer, gourmet chef, cryptographer, translator, editor, costume designer and well-known raconteur." Sounds like someone we'd like to get to know.
As we page through the book, we find all kinds of recipes, from cocktails (including more variations on the Julep than you might know existed) to a wide variety of Southern-influenced foods. Not all of the recipes feature liquor, but the ones that don't are deep fried and bacon-inclusive enough to make even Paula Deen blush - and we're pretty sure she wears a Camelbak full of melted butter. From Caribbean Flank Steak to Pensacola Shrimp to Hangover Punch, there's a little something for everyone in the book.
The real appeal for us is the colorful way in which the commentary and recipes are written, making it a real treat compared to your typical recipe book. For example, the "Maryland Julep" recipe calls for you to "gather the mint while the dew is still on it" and gives very explicit instructions on how to handle it next. We think cocktail enthusiasts and gourmands alike will find something for them in in this book.
At The Happy Table of Eugene Walter: Southern Spirits in Food and Drink
March 14, 2011
"I'm not a heavy drinker. I can sometimes go for hours without touching a drop." - Noel Coward
We've always called alcohol our favorite social lubricant, that thing that untrips our tongues and helps free the witty social butterfly that lives inside us. There are some moments, however, where our wit fails us and we wish we had a reference to find out what some other drunk might have said. That's where The Quotable Drunkard book comes in.
Just think - you'll be able to pre-memorize multiple quotes for your next St. Patrick's Day toast, Best Man speech or parole hearing. We've been thumbing through the review copy we were sent and we've found quite a few good quotes, both short quips and longer passages, along with cocktail recipes and other tidbits.
The Quotable Drunkard: Words of Wit, Wisdom, and Philosophy From the Bottom of the Glass (Amazon)
January 6, 2011
Did that title get your attention? It certainly got ours when we saw it emblazoned across the cover of a book (the full title of which is Absinthe & Flamethrowers: Projects and Ruminations on the Art of Living Dangerously). Most of the books we cover feature cocktail recipes and other quasi-safe ideas but this one we love because it's DANGEROUS. We have a feeling you, our debonair yet thrill-seeking reader, will love it too.
Written for reasonable risk takers and suburbanites who want to add more excitement to their lives. This daring combination of science, history, and DIY projects explains why danger is good for you and details the art of living dangerously.
Absinthe & Flamethrowers: Projects and Ruminations on the Art of Living Dangerously [via Makezine]
December 16, 2010
We haven't read Darcy O'Neil's Fix the Pumps yet, but you can bet it's on our Christmas list now that it's on our radar. We're fans of Mr. O'Neil's Art of Drink website, and this book sounds like a fascinating account of how soda jerks were the ancestors of modern mixologists, and offers solid advice on how to integrate their techniques into your own bar.
Here's a description from Ed Hamilton over at Ministry of Rum:
Fix the Pumps peers into the history of the American soda fountain and the fascinating connections it had with bars and cocktails, including raising the ire of the Temperance League. Many of the unique ingredients and techniques, employed by the pharmacists, are explored in-depth including production of in-house seltzer water, soda acidulents and 450 pre-prohibition soda recipes.
The thing that really caught our eye was this query we found over at Art of Drink - "What happened in 1885 that made the cocktail go from being the preferred morning bracer to an evening nightcap?" Inquiring minds want to know.
Buy Fix the Pumps
December 15, 2010
We've made no secret of the fact we enjoy getting a little punchy during the holidays, and we're always going online to look for punch recipes. Cocktail luminary David Wondrich has released a whole book on the subject, and you can get it just in time for Christmas - or your next holiday party. We haven't read it yet, but you can expect we will.
Acclaimed cocktail expert and historian David Wondrich takes readers on a raucous guided tour of all things punch-a tour that starts with some very lonely British sailors and swells to include a cast of lords and ladies, admirals, kings, presidents, poets, pirates, novelists, spies, and other inimitable characters. And of course, authentic recipes appear throughout, with notes for the modern punch-maker.
Buy Punch: The Delights (and Dangers) of the Flowing Bowl
December 14, 2010
Our Editor-in-Chief is continuing on his DiY kick, and he just picked up a book called Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers: The Secrets of Ancient Fermentation. Most of the book is just as new agey as you might expect, but there are some hidden gems in there we really want to try to make. From discussions of historical beer ingredients and the history of brewing to recipes for all kinds of meads and beers, this book has plenty of information to feed your inner beer nerd.
One chapter that might be especially interesting to our readers is the one entitled "Psychotropic and Highly Inebriating Beers." In it you will find recipes for ales containing everything from wormwood to rosemary to sage to something called "gruit." One thing we found interesting about this book is that many of the recipes will send you to your grocery store (or more likely health food store) rather than your local brew shop.
On top of everything else, this book posits that beer can actually be healing and sacred, rather than just a social lubricant and sorrow-drowner, as our society often treats it. Kickass!
At Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers: The Secrets of Ancient Fermentation
December 9, 2010
If there are two things we're obsessed with around here, they're booze and hard-boiled fiction. That's why we spend most of our days pretending to work, feet up on our desks, smoking cigarettes and making "private eye coffee," which as you know is 3 parts rye whiskey, 2 parts milk and sugar, and 1 part coffee. We haven't read this book, but we plan to.
The hard-bitten PI with a bottle of bourbon in his desk drawer--it's an image as old as the genre of hard-boiled detective fiction itself. Alcohol has long been an important element of detective fiction, but it is no mere prop. Rather, the treatment of alcohol within the works informs and illustrates the detective's moral code, and casts light upon the society's attitudes towards drink.
At Booze and the Private Eye: Alcohol in the Hard-Boiled Novel
November 24, 2010
One of our favorite things about the holidays is it's an opportunity to not just drink more booze, but a nice way to figure out other ways to consume it too. We usually put it in our desserts, but you can find creative ways to get liquors into just about anything. That's why we're bummed we just discovered The Gourmet's Guide to Cooking with Liquors and Spirits. It just came out in September, and it's chock full of all kinds of boozy treats for every course:
Try one of these recipes tonight!
Lump Crab Cakes with Basil and Kaffir Lime Vodka Aioli
White Chicken Chile with Cilantro and Whiskey
Beef Tenderloin Steaks with Blackberry Brandy Sauce
Grilled Vegetables with Anisette and Balsamic Vinegar
Curaçao Rum Cake
Irish Crème Pudding with Candied Cashews
At The Gourmet's Guide to Cooking with Liquors and Spirits: Extraordinary Recipes Made with Vodka, Rum, Whiskey, and More!
(Also available in a Kindle version