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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

* DRINK BOOK OF THE MONTH! * Waldorf Astoria Bar Book (Penguin)

1.THE WALDORF ASTORIA BAR BOOK (Penguin Books, 2016, 406 pages, ISBN 978-0-14-312480-1, $25 USD hard covers) is by Frank Caiafa, who became bar manager of Peacock Alley in the lobby of the Waldorf-Astoria in 2005. It is a significant book for both home-use and professional bar use, with huge chapters on creating bitters, syrups, juices and sours.
It is based on two books by Albert Stevens Crockett (Old Waldorf Bar Days from 1931, and The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book from 1934), with of course other preps from other books of that era. He has added the recipe's origin next to the title of each entry that did not originate from either of Crockett's books. So in general there is acknowledgment of origins. Lots has been modernized, and many contemporary cocktails have been added. The original 1934 book had 625 preps. The index shows that most of the recipes seem to be gin-based. Apart from the garnishes/setups, punches and hot drinks, the cocktail preps are arranged alphabetically by name, A – Z. Use the index for type of spirit. At the very end there is a chapter on cocktails very rarely seen anymore: is it time to bring them back?  Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: those looking for authenticity in the cocktail business, a history of cocktails and cocktail books.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: some drinks from Peacock Alley itself include  Arrivederci, Au Pear, Autumn Solstice, Cinful, Pie on the Sill (lovely name), Cole Porter, and Islands in the Stream.
The downside to this book: nothing really.
The upside to this book: just a handful of illustrations (keeps the book's price down).
Quality/Price Rating: 90.

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