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- Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle
Kevin Liu's informative and accessible Craft Cocktails at Home is the first cocktail book I'd recommend to those with a science or engineering background who want to get into the craft of mixing drinks. It's not necessarily the most essential (that would be Embury's Fine Art of Mixing Drinks), nor is it for everybody; those looking for the history and some of the romance of mixed drinks would be better served by Ted Haigh's Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails or one of David Wondrich's books, and those looking to understand cocktail genealogy and structure can do no better than Regan's Joy of Mixology. But for those who want to understand the scientific processes and principles underlying such basic cocktailing concepts as dilution, citrus freshness, infusion, and acidity, there's no better, or friendlier, place to start. Liu has amassed a huge body of knowledge through research and his own experiments, and he puts it across in a style that's witty, light, clear, and amusing, perked up by self-deprecating asides and the occasional Internet in-joke.
Liu directs the book as much at mixed drinks nerds as at novices, conducting a hybrid course that's both Introduction to Craft Cocktails and Special Topics in Frontier Mixology. As one of said nerds, I'm especially grateful for summaries of much of what bartenders and bloggers have discovered about topics such as iSi whipper-abetted fast infusions and alternative forms of acidity, as well as wonderful and clearly written recipes for such things as speedy allspice dram and an orgeat so simple that making it feels like cheating. There's recipes for unusual and exciting drinks from innovative and under-appreciated mixologists like Pip Hanson and Stephen Shellenberger. There's even a chapter in which Liu drinks and offers notes on straight cocktail bitters, a project I'm glad he undertook so I don't have to. (I say this as someone who agrees with Liu that straight Angostura is delicious, if palate-demolishing.) Of use to both upstarts and old hands, there's a thoughtful and practical guide to crafting cocktails to convert cocktail novices (craft strawberry daiquiri!), including the ones reading the book.
I do have two complaints, one with the content and one with the Kindle edition. The first is that many of the chapters feel more like jumping-off points for further discussion than complete overviews of given subjects; but, as this book is annexed to a lively and interactive blog that promises to expand on many ideas in the future, and as this blog is just one star in an ever-growing and active constellation of cocktail blogs tinkering with and writing on these topics, that's okay. As long as you understand this book to be the first word on these topics and not the last, you'll be fine. (The Last Word, incidentally, is a delicious drink.) The second and more serious complaint is with Amazon's Kindle for iPhone app, which completely mangles the book's frequent and useful graphs, rendering them unreadable. They display fine on the Kindle's desktop browser version, but good luck reading them on your phone on the go. Happily, when I mentioned this on a cocktail forum, Kevin Liu contacted me to let me know he'll be putting the graphs on the blog eventually. He also offered to email them directly to me, which doesn't just show that he's a thoughtful and awesome guy, but exemplifies the kind of direct back-and-forth with readers that the blog will hopefully allow. So be warned: if you buy the Kindle version but don't own a Kindle, you may have some trouble reading the book as it's formatted.
Overall, this is a light and fun read that packs the latest and most useful information on some of the most exciting topics in the field in a style that's friendly to noobs and pros alike. Highly recommended.