Bar Book Reviews: How To Booze Exquisite Cocktails and Unsound Advice

Bar Book Reviews: How To Booze Exquisite Cocktails and Unsound Advice

How To Booze:
Exquisite Cocktails and Unsound Advice by Jordan Kaye and Marshall Atelier
Imagine you have a refined, sophisticated uncle.  He looks good in tweed, and sports some devastating pocket squares.  But what comes out of his mouth is anything but, as he proceeds to give you unsolicited and quite useless advice on how to stalk your ex, sleeping with an ugly member of the opposite sex, and bail out of an impending engagement.

There’s a charm to shamelessness, and there’s a charm to sophistication and refinement.  It’s not the same charm, but this book attempts to fuse them.  Jordan Kaye’s irreverent-young-lawyer-dragged-kicking-into-maturity makes for a rapacious, indulgent id.  While the super ego of Marshall Altier (a barman’s name if ever there was one), provides structure, and focus, and wisdom.  The magic is in the recipes.  And the narrative glue keeps the reader engaged.  There are few cocktail books I’ve finished in one sitting, and this is one of them.

When it works, as in when the stodgy old negroni is given new life by suggesting it to be apropos for a threesome, it works remarkably well.  When it falls flat (What does Dungeons and Dragons have to do with a Bobby Burns?!), the attempt is still commendable.

If the descriptive flavor text, which reads with the popcorn intensity of a magazine serial, is salacious, the drinks themselves are the soul of the conservative craft cocktail crowd.  Henry Craddock is quoted, vodka is politely de-emphasized, and shots are-somewhat shockingly-non existent. There are no slugs of bonded whiskey, or quick gasps of Fernet that mixologists adore slamming down, although the pickle back does make an appearance.
This is my go to gateway drink book.  If I have a buddy who reads Men’s Health, I know this will go a long way to making the conversion him from sweet and sour sludge, to storing small bottles of vermouth in the fridge, as enjoyable as possible.
My Three Favorite Recipes:
New Years Eve
Imperial Grand (Pleasantly surprised to find that Atelier himself came up with this one)
1 oz. Cognac
1 oz. Grand Marnier
1 oz. Blood Orange Juice
1 Dash Orange Bitters
Shake and strain into a champagne flue, top up with brut champagne.
El Diablo
1 1/2 oz. Reposado TEquila
1/2 oz. Creme de Cassis
1/2 oz. Lime Juice
Shake and strain into collins glass.  Top with ginger beer.
Drinking with the Ex
Old Cuban
1 1/2 oz. Amber Rum
3/4 oz. Lime Juice
3/4 oz. Simple Syrup
6 Mint Leaves
2 Dashes Angostura Bitters
Shake rum, lime, syrup, leaves, and bitters.  Strain into champagne flute and top up with brut champagne or prosecco.  Garnish with 2 leaves fresh mint.