Duck Duck Book

29 – craft of the cocktail
01.18.2006, 12:02 am
Filed under: technology

The craft of the cocktail : everything you need to know to be a master bartender, with 500 recipes / Dale DeGroff ; photographs by George Erml.
New York : Clarkson Potter/Publishers, c2002.
[MCL call number: 641.874 D321c 2002; five copies, no holds]

Dale DeGroff presents a suave figure, like someone freshly released from the celluloid of a glamorous 1950s Hollywood film. The introduction to this volume of cocktail how-to explains how DeGroff climbed the heights of bartenderdom when he created the menu at the Promenade Bar at the Rainbow Room. Everything in this book (and, presumably, behind DeGroff’s bar) is classy — excellent spirits beautifully matched with fresh herbs and juices, and definitely no pre-made mixes. In fact, it goes so far as to convey a sense that while drinking does induce drunkenness, it is really only a very controlled, charming sort of drunkenness entirely compatible with the wearing of cufflinks, high heels, or custom-made silk suits.

The Craft of the Cocktail begins with a brief introduction to the history of drinking, preaches a bit about DeGroff’s approach to cocktails, and then provides a detailed account of what you need to make a great drink and how to get it, from equipment to liquor to glasses to juices. This is followed by 140 pages of drink recipes, a bibliography of cocktail resources, a measurements conversion chart, a few basic recipes for things like simple syrup and homemade grenadine, a glossary, and an index.

There are a lot of glossy coffee table cocktail books in print now, and it’s hard to know whether they’re mediocre underneath the lovely photographs. The Craft of the Cocktail is just as lovely to look at as the others, and it is worth reading for its completeness, for its recipes, and for the bit of history it presents.


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