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Monday, January 4, 2016

DRINK BOOK OF THE MONTH: THE SPIRITS (Square Peg, 2015, 320 pages, $35.99 CAN is by Richard Godwin

1.THE SPIRITS (Square Peg, 2015, 320 pages, ISBN 978-0-22410118-9 $35.99 CAN hard covers) is by Richard Godwin, a UK newspaper features editor with a blog called The Spirits. It is a very nifty book about the life of "cocktailing", citing F. Scott Fitzgerald's use of "to cocktail" as a verb in 1928. Like many such cocktail books, there are classic preps, contemporary preps, and classic-with-contemporary-spin preps. What sets this book apart is his writing style and adamant feeling that the ability to make a good cocktail will never be a waste of time. He tears apart the champagne cocktail (and rightly so: "no classic is quite so poorly designed as this"). After the classics, it is all arranged by technique: the stirred, the shaken, the long, the occasional, the invented. He also covers hangovers, hosting, and ingredients for the bar. Preparations have their ingredients listed in metric measurements, but there is no table of equivalents. Very handy are the ten basic ratios for making your own cocktails. There is an index to all major drinks and their variants.
Audience and level of use: those looking for a stylish cocktail manual.
Some interesting or unusual facts: he presents the cocktailing day, beginning at 7AM with corpse reviver #2, 8 AM's English breakfast martini, the 9 AM bloody mary, the 10 AM sherry cobbler, and so on through to the 11 PM sazerac and the midnight champagne cocktail. If you are up all night, the nuclear daiquiri at 2 AM might be good, or the espresso martini at 4 AM. Anyway, he's got a drink for every hour.
The downside to this book: some people may not appreciate the fact that there is not a single photo of any drink, and the generic line drawings are just that. But I don't care – it is some relief that they are not there.
The upside to this book: there is a chapter on the 25 classics: at number 20 is the Gin & It.
Quality/Price Rating: 90.

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