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The Essential Cocktail features only those drinks that stand out for their flavor, interesting formula, or distinctive technique. These are the very ones every amateur and professional bartender must know, the martinis, sours, highballs, tropicals, punches, sweets, and classics, both old and new, that form the core of a connoisseur's repertoire. Throughout the book are DeGroff's personal twists, such as a tangy Grapefruit Julep or a refreshing Yuzu Gimlet.
To complement the tantalizing photographs of each essential cocktail, DeGroff also regales readers with the fascinating lore behind a drink's genesis and instructs us on using the right ingredients, techniques, glasses, and garnishes. As Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking was the classic compendium for home chefs and gourmands, so The Essential Cocktail will be the go-to book for serious mixologists and cocktail enthusiasts.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 155.
- Review Date: 2008-07-21
- Reviewer: Staff
Degroff (The Craft of the Cocktail) likes to be referred to as the “King of Cocktails,” and it is hard to argue the point. During his stint as bartender at Manhattan’s Rainbow Room, he shunned packaged mixes and ushered in the use of fresh ingredients for classic drinks as well as potables of his own device. In this book, he offers 100 popular whistle-wetters and 100 variations thereof—martinis, sours, highballs and punches are all well represented. A Bloody Mary is never shaken, but rather “rolled back and forth,” while a Bloody Bull adds beef broth to the recipe and can stand up to a vigorous shake. There’s the lowly Long Island Iced Tea, mated with a variation called a Full Monte, which calls for Champagne instead of cola. And a basic Daiquiri (rum, simple syrup, lime juice) is out-boxed by Dale’s Hemingway Daiquiri, which adds Maraschino liqueur and grapefruit juice to the mix. 150 full-color photos help sweeten the deal, and historical asides provide fine fodder for party chit-chat. The Tequila Sunrise, it turns out, was created south of the border during Prohibition and included fresh lemonade and French cassis. But when the drink traveled north, inexperienced bartenders dumbed it down to today’s mix of OJ and grenadine. Where was a cocktail king when we needed one? (Oct.)