Book Review: The Ultimate Book of Cocktails

March 18, 2011

Some years ago, I bought The Ultimate Book of Cocktails by Stuart Walton. It was written in 2003, but what attracted me to this book was that it has three distinct parts. The  second part is bartending techniques and the third part is cocktail recipes, which one could find any number of books on the topics, even websites like The Webtender. What drew me to this book was that the front section where it talks about types of drinks. It is from this book that I learned the difference between a spirit and a liqueur.

The introduction covers the history of alcohol and distilling. It then talks about spirits, breaking it down into gin, vodka, rum, whisky, tequila, brandy, bitters, calvados, eau de vie, kirsch, slivovitz, marc, arak, aquavit, and mescal. Each section varies a little bit, but there is usually a history lesson, types, how it is made, what it is good with, and how to serve. There are usually pictures of bottles, and it will talk about well-known brands. This organization is applied to the liqueurs section, which includes over 40 liqueur entries such as Cointreau, Grand Marnier, and crème liqueurs to name a few. It does talk a little bit about the taste and creation of wines, champagne, fortified wines, beer, and cider.

Like I said, I keep this book around as a reference, not for the cocktail recipes. I think it is interesting book to learn from.

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