Some new cocktail guides and spirits related publications have found their way onto my bookshelf and iPhone this Spring. Read on to find out more!
The most interesting and exciting item is gaz regan’s Annual Manual for Bartenders 2011 (Mixellany Books) , the first in a series of planned annuals by the former Gary Regan. A cocktail manual for adventurous bartenders, it includes 101 new cocktails from top notch mixologists across the globe, as well as sections on some of the foremost spirit artists themselves. As an added bonus, gaz has included a section on his latest bent, “The Mindful Bartender” and the first two chapters of his autobiography charmingly entitled “My First 17 Years on God’s Green Earth”. I guess, he’ll be adding a chapter or two with each successive volume to keep us buying the manuals on a yearly basis. Rating: A
Next up is Cocktail Town San Francisco (Cocktailtown.com) A beautifully produced coffee table (shouldn’t that be cocktail tray?) book which highlights over two dozen of the best bars and lounges in the city by the bay. Each entry consists of full color pictures of each bar, their resident mixologists, and a custom recipe with a mouthwatering photo of the drink to entice you to visit or try making one yourself. Short on words, but a great snapshot of why SF is still one of the top cocktail towns in the world. Rating: B+
The Woodford Reserve Culinary Cocktail Tour (Brown Foreman) is another gorgeous volume that I was lucky enough to win in this year’s Woodford Reserve Manhattan Contest. Published in 2005, but well worth tracking down in 2011 for the mouthwatering recipes of not only cocktails, but everything foodie from appetizers to desserts each made with bourbon. This book is a feast for the eyes. Lovely photos of the people who work at the distillery along with master chefs from Kentucky and their culinary creations are sprinkled liberally throughout the text. Of course, the recipes are the real treat here. This is a cookbook that you’ll refer to time and again when planning a Southern inspired spirited dinner for your friends and family. Rating: A
Drinking Japan (Tuttle Books) is the first book of its kind, and as such, an invaluable tool for anyone visiting the country. A softcover guidebook similar to those published by Fodor or Frommer, it fits easily in a backpack or travel bag. Extremely detailed reviews of almost 125 bars in Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, Hiroshima and other outlying areas are accompanied by full color photographs. Each bar is noted for it’s particular specialty including sake, shochu, awamori, beers, wines and single-malt whiskies. Along with all of this information are sections on Japanese drinking culture and maps and directions on how to get where you want to go for the evening. Rating A
Liquor Hub (www.proof66.com) is an app for your iPhone or iPod which allows you to quickly look up information on on over 4,000 liquors. You can search by ingredient or category, scan bar codes to instantly pull up information on a particular spirit, as well as read and upload your own reviews. The navigation is somewhat unintuitive, but the wealth of information garnered is well worth the effort when faced with shelf after shelf spirits at your local liquor store. Rating: B+