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Speakeasy: The Employees Only Guide to Classic Cocktails Reimagined Hardcover – 1 Nov 2010

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press (1 Nov. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 158008253X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580082532
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 1.8 x 23.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 282,137 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great cocktail book
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x986a3a98) out of 5 stars 101 reviews
45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x986d54f8) out of 5 stars Pretentious but solidly grounded walk-through of scores of cocktails 11 Oct. 2010
By Scott Schiefelbein - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"Speakeasy" comes to us at the height of the cocktail revival from people who believe they were largely responsible for that revival. According to the book's authors, the bartenders at Employees Only (a New York watering hole that seeks to recreate the atmosphere of Smart Drinking), America has entered the Platinum Age of the cocktail. Thanks in large part to their efforts and wisdom, Americans are re-learning how to drink and what makes a great cocktail.

This book is the product of much of their hard-won wisdom. On the good side, the book is a reasonably extensive how-to list for making dozens of different cocktails. Each cocktail receives its own write-up on a single page that has plenty of room for margin notes and recipe tweaks - and to their credit the authors encourage the reader to experiment. The authors know that while there are certain mechanics and rules to making good cocktails, mixing a good drink is an art that takes on the personality of the creator. And so we are encouraged to create variations off of these recipes.

Also on the good side - the book contains instructions for how to make your own mixes at home rather than buying the off-the-shelf stuff at the liquor store. This is a sterling addition to the book. Consider - if you're having a Mexican feast over at a friend's house, would you prefer it is he or she made his or own picante sauce or if instead you were handed a bottle of Pace? The same should hold true for such things as simple syrup, grenadine, and the like. True - if you take this book too seriously you're going to be spending an awful lot of time preparing your libations, but such is the price to pay for quality.

The book also provides some lessons on the bartending craft. The first few pages of the book include instructions for how to stir and shake cocktails as well as a primer on essential bar-ware. I would have liked to read about how to build the liquor portion of a home bar - what do these guys consider to be the essential building blocks of a good home bar and what should be left to the fringes? (This is one of the better tidbits that you can find in "Boozehound," for example.)

Unfortunately, "Speakeasy" is a bit on the pretentious side. The writers tell you that to properly stir a cocktail, you must keep the back of the spoon against the edge of the glass - really? Also, recipes can call for pretty ridiculous steps - such as "stir 40 times." Why 40 is a magic number is never explained. And the book is also laden with a self-satisfied tone that can be tedious after a while. It's interesting that when describing the birth of a certain drink, the authors credit some "obnoxious cocktail geeks" who entered the bar one night to challenge the bartenders - that description could equally apply to the authors themselves.

But that's fine - I don't want to hang out with these people - I just want to know their thoughts on making a good drink. And "Speakeasy" has plenty of those. Sure, there are omissions - there is not much at all in here about tequila. But let us not quibble - this is a good book that promises many happy toasts and groggy mornings.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x987756d8) out of 5 stars Classy, pleasant, informative cocktail recipe book 25 Aug. 2010
By Hugo D. Hackenbush - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
(NOTE: This review pertains to a softcover advance copy of the book, and not the final text)

Perfect for budding amateur bartenders, "Speakeasy: The Employees Only Guide to Classic Cocktails Reimagined" is a quality cocktail recipe book that (mostly) hits all the right notes, with a few caveats.

Within the book, you will find a classy, smart selection of alcoholic drink recipes that you may or may not be familiar with (e.g. Manhattans, cosmopolitans, sangrias, sidecars, whiskey sours, punches, gimlets, spritzes, Bloody Marys, etc.). Besides classic cocktails, there are recipes for aperitifs, long drinks, pick-me-ups, cordials, infusions, sangrias, punches, homemade syrups and other drink accompaniments.

Most of the timeless drinks included in this book (more than eighty of them) have been reworked with a modern spin, and mostly to good effect. The reworkings are generally respectful and smart, as they honor and (usually) enhance the included classic drink recipes, rather than distort them.

The prose of the book is simple, eloquent and lovingly written (admittedly, I did find the writing to be a bit pretentious at times, but endearingly so). There are lots of intriguing historical tidbits peppered throughout the book; in fact, every recipe in the book is accompanied by a passage that includes background info and other helpful descriptive notes specific to each drink. There is also an informative section in the book that gives helpful preparation tips on how to create the "perfect" cocktail, including general mixing techniques and proper choice of tools.

There are plenty of illustrations and photos contained within the book, always a plus with recipe books of any kind. Unfortunately, my advance review copy contained poorly-printed black and white photos; I am assuming that the final text will contain higher-quality photos, preferably in color.

Also on the debit side, the organization of the book is somewhat messy. Recipes are placed within sections designated by type, but within those sections, drink recipes are confusingly placed, unnecessarily making the search for specific recipes a minor chore. An alphabetized ordering, or at least an index of some kind, would definitely be helpful. Once again, I am presuming that this is an issue which will be corrected in the final text.

That being said, if you're in the market for a classy, fun and informative drink recipe book, this is well worth snapping up. Recommended.
52 of 63 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x986db324) out of 5 stars Not for your average drinker 19 Jan. 2011
By W. Dietrich - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I love to drink, some might say it is my hobby. I have a walk in closet in my family room that only has liquor with at least 75 bottles in it. I own muddlers, shakers, jiggers, strainers, make ice with distelled water in special ice trays. I have a beer fridge and a wine fridge, a margarita machine and blenders and an entire shelf of a book case with books on drink receipes. With that being said the Speakeasy was past my comfort level both in ingredients and the average cost of making a drink.

Old school cocktails are very much in vogue right now and I enjoy them very much. However, my local liquor store was missing several of the key ingredients for the cocktails that I wanted to try out. I would take a guess that the average consumer would have not have many of the key ingredients in stock. With that being said the drinks are creative and the few I tried were very tasty. As for as drink books go this one was very detailed and had nice pictures and the overall quality was much higher than I would have expected. My disappointment was that the ingredients were not easily available.

If you are the type of person who reads Gourment Magazine than you will love the book, however if you are the kind of person who gets their ideas from Rachel Ray magazine the Speakeasy may be out of your comfort level.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x986db240) out of 5 stars Awesome cocktail book for the budding cocktail aficionado 7 July 2015
By Richard Fearn - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you're a cocktail nerd/aficionado this book is excellent. It was written by the group at Employees Only in NYC, a trendy "speakeasy" style bar. While the bar is fun, its more fun to have their delicious cocktails in a setting that doesn't involve you bumping into 200 people all night. Buy the book, invite your friends and have your own bar for the night.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x986db228) out of 5 stars Beautifully photographed images 25 Oct. 2014
By Nashla - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Beautifully photographed images, nicely designed layout. I love learning a bit of history with each drink. Made several of these for a fancy cocktail party and they were all a hit! One of my particular favorites is the New York sour. Never thought about adding red wine to a whiskey drink...delicious!
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