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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Format: Hardcover|Change
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VINE VOICEon 11 February 2012
As a cocktail guide this book has many virtues. It perhaps falls a little short of being the ultimate bar book, however.

Physically, the book is a small (5 1/2" x 7"), robustly packaged hardback with covers that spilt drinks should wipe off. Its size makes it easy to carry and find space for. However, it also means that the writing is necessarily small and the book tends to close easily rather than staying open - inconvient if you want to remind yourself of an ingredient whilst mixing.

The guide is very thorough. It is divided into sections by different types of drinks: beers & sakes, brandies, sparkling wines, ordinary wines, gins, liquers, rums, tequilas, vodkas and whiskies, along with a couple more, all get their own sections. Each section starts with a discussion of that particular drink, so the brandy section tells one about the different types of Cognac, the differences to Armagnac and other brandy-like styles from Calvados to Grappa to Pisco brandy. Whilst short, these sections are informative and useful. For those of us who aren't drinks experts there are likely to be a few interesting nuggets of information. Particularly apparent in these sections is the fact that the book is written from a U.S. perspective and availabilities of different drinks are bound to vary as a result.

Each section then moves onto the cocktails that can be made from the drink type under discussion. The guide has plenty of recipes: I can't see myself running out of new drinks to mix simply with this one guide any time soon. None of the recipes are complicated, some are rather more unusual than in other cocktail books.

Many of the cocktails come with a short description of origins of the drink mix; classic coctktails (such as the Martini, Sidecar, French 75, Daiquiri, Old Fashioned or Manhattan) get their own little sections spelling out something of the history of the drink as well as recipes and variations. These are much appreciated and lift the book from something more than a selection of recipes, giving the potent cococtions their sheen of glamour. Each cocktail also comes with a symbol showing the type of glass to use to serve it - a nice touch.

A disadvantage of this layout is that cocktails that contain more than one type of liquor consequently show up multiple times under each ingredient. Interestingly, the recipes given are often ever so slightly different. Also, whilst comprehensive in terms of recipes and ingredients, it does not look at cocktails in terms of the styles of mixing. The Bompas and Parr cocktail book, for instance, whilst nothing like as comprehensive, scores to some extent because it looks at styles of mixes as well the specific ingredients for each cocktail.

Other sections include a very thorough look at cocktail equipment and advice on 'Smooth Entertaining'. Personally, I'm not sure these add very much.

Recommended, then, for its comprehensive nature and easy to follow cocktail recipes.
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on 6 May 2010
Fantastic bar bible to have on hand. Contains tones of useful information from how to shake a cocktail, to making your own sugar syrup. It has all the classic cocktails and 100s more. Interesting history of all the major spirits. Cant praise this book enough. A must buy for anyone interested in making cocktails, from the aspiring cocktail barman to the professional mixologist.
I would recommend getting a multi measure jigger as the measurements are in oz, oz1/2 etc.
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on 16 January 2012
The quality of the book is lovely and has a good feel to it. It is meant to look oldy-worldy and good on your shelf.

They never tell you the dimensions of a book, mostly because it's irrelevant to the book itself. The book is very approximately 16cm (L) x 12cm (W) X 4/5cm (D), it's a chunky little thing.

However, if you're making a cocktail that needs BOTH hands, it's difficult to keep the page that you need open, measure and add the ingredients and stir/shake your cocktail at the same time. The text is also a bit small.

Also, quantities are in ounces.. We don't work in ounces, so we had to make rough guess-timations of quantities (so we ended up twice as drunk). There's a converter table in the front, but it doesn't tell you the equivalent of 1 ounce in ml. Quite irritating. If it is there, we probably missed it due to our impatience to make our cocktails..
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on 25 July 2010
This is a great book with fantastic range of cocktails, and the drinks are arranged in a way that you can find plenty of recipes based on what you have in the drinks cabinet, instead of trawling through hundreds of drinks you don't have the right spirits for. Another good feature is that classic cocktails - such as Martini's and Margarita's - are clearly marked to stand out and this makes it easy to pick out to the cocktails you'll most likely be making.
However, this book is lacking a few things as well. It would benefit from a few photographs to help illustrate the presentation side of cocktail making, and I wouldn't recommend this for use on a busy bar, the small size of the book and its tight binding (petty gripes I know) mean it isn't ideal for quick referencing.
Overall i'd say this is a great book to give as a gift or to keep on the shelf for you're own drinking needs!
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on 10 January 2012
Bought as a present for my brother for Christmas; ever since he got it he can't help but burst into my room and tell me random facts about cocktail making and associated crap. I personally bought it for the cover, it looks really damn cool.
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on 8 August 2013
I love this this "bible" which always comes up trumps, whether I already know what I want to make or if I'm looking for ideas. The sections and index help you navigate by name, by ingredients or by type - so if you're looking for ways to use up that obscure old liqueur in the cupboard this guide will prove invaluable.

Also some really helpful guidance on stocking a bar from scratch - from entry level to fully stocked - and on the types of equipment you need.

A great present with endless supplementary add-ons - equipment, mixers, glasses , etc, etc
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on 15 August 2012
so many cocktails i'd never come across and alot of the regulars, some brilliant receipes. so many drinks to try, its a great opportunity to increase your drinks cabinet and try out some new mixes. might also be worth getting a coctail mixer set to help with the work.
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on 14 January 2013
Really good comprehensive cocktail book. Bought it as a present but want one for myself now. No matter what you have in your drinks cabinet there will be several cocktails you can make from this book from the really simple to the more complex.
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on 23 January 2012
I gave this to my Dad for Christmas and he loved it! He has been trying out some of the recipes and they have all worked well and been delicious. There are loads to choose from and it is a really well organised book. The indices are helpful and I think it looks smart too. An excellent buy.
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on 1 April 2015
I use this a lot for cocktails.

Contains a lot of information on how to stock a bar, What glassware is needed and why and information on the various alcohol categories.

Must have for any budding cocktail maker!
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