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The Craft of the Cocktail: Everything You Need to Know to Be a Master Bartender, with 500 Recipes [Anglais] [Relié]

Dale DeGroff

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Description de l'ouvrage

15 octobre 2002
Cocktails are bigger than ever, and this is the first real cookbook for them, covering the entire breadth of this rich subject. The Craft of the Cocktail provides much more than merely the same old recipes: it delves into history, personalities, and anecdotes; it shows you how to set up a bar, master important techniques, and use tools correctly; and it delivers unique concoctions, many featuring Dale DeGroff’s signature use of fresh juices, as well as all the classics.

Debonair, a great raconteur, and an unparalleled authority, Dale DeGroff is the epitome of Perfect Bartender, universally acknowledged as the world’s premier mixologist. From Entertainment Weekly and USA Today to the Culinary Institute of America and the nation’s best restaurants, whenever anybody wants information or training on the bar, they turn to Dale for recipes, for history, for anecdotes, for fun—for cocktail-party conversation as well as for cocktails.

That’s what The Craft of the Cocktail is—the full party, conversation and all. It begins with the history of spirits, how they’re made (but without too much boring science), the development of the mixed drink, and the culture it created, all drawn from Dale’s vast library of vintage cocktail books. Then on to stocking the essential bar, choosing the right tools and ingredients, mastering key techniques—hints worthy of a pro, the same information that Dale shares with the bartenders he trains in seminars and through his videos. And then the meat of the matter: 500 recipes, including everything from tried-and-true classics to of-the-moment originals. Throughout are rich stories, vintage recipes, fast facts, and other entertaining asides. Beautiful color photographs and a striking design round out the cookbook approach to this subject, highlighting the difference between an under-the-bar handbook and a stylish, full-blown treatment. The Craft of the Cocktail is that treatment, destined to become the bible of the bar.

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Descriptions du produit



I learned abut cocktails much the same way I learned to tend bar. Certainly through research, but mainly through experience.

My fellow bartenders taught me how to treat people, my customers taught me about life, and most important, my mentor, the great restaurateur Joe Baum, taught me how little I knew. Joe sparked my curiosity to find out what makes a great cocktail.

The cocktail is, in a word, American. It's as American as jazz, apple pie, and baseball; and as diverse, colorful, and big as America itself. Indeed, it could even be argued that the cocktail is a metaphor for the American people: It is a composite beverage, and we are a composite people. Let's begin by looking at what preceded its invention.

The early days

Before Europeans settled in America, they had been cultivating beverage traditions for centuries. Southern Europeans, around the Mediterranean, produced wine and brandy, while distilled-grain spirits were part of the tradition and culture of the peoples who inhabited the northern tier of Europe, where it was too cold for wine grapes to grow. Interestingly, the distillates produced with fermented grape and grain mash were also revered for their "medicinal" qualities, and came be known as aqua vitae in Latin, eau-de-vie in French, usquebaugh in Gaelic, and "water of life" in English. Naturally, as the technology of distilled spirits from grain and grape advanced, water of life could be produced more cheaply and in greater quantities, and eventually it was used to produce flavored cordials and liqueurs.

Once the Europeans established themselves on this side of the Atlantic, they put to good use the beer- and wine-making skills they had brought with them from the Old World. They also brought the Old World opinion that drinking water was unwholesome, even dangerous. The early colonists were voracious experimenters, fermenting beverages from practically everything they could get their hands on: pumpkins, parsnips, turnips, rhubarbs, walnuts, elderberries, and more. They flavored their beer with birch, pine, spruce, and sassafras. They planted apple orchards everywhere from Virginia northward to produce cider and, more important, applejack, which provided the base for many early colonial drinks. Applejack was also popular because it could be made without the use of expensive distilling equipment. Fermented apple juice, or hard cider as it was called, was left out in the cold in late fall and early winter. As layers of ice formed on the surface of the cider, they were skimmed off, removing the water content and thus concentrating the alcohol in the remaining liquid.

Conversely, as trade between the Old and New worlds increased, Europe in turn discovered the plants and botanicals that the colonists were well on their way to exploiting. As early as 1571, a Spanish doctor named Nicolas Monardes published a document describing plants and medicines from the Americas that were being assimilated into daily life all over Europe. In Italy and France, these plants eventually found their way into fortified and flavored wines, such as vermouth and other apéritif wines. Ironically, these products made their way full-circle across the Atlantic, where they later played a pivotal role in the growth of the cocktail tradition.

That cocktail tradition began with rum. Distilling spirits began commercially in the New World in 1640 when Wilhelm Kieft, the director-general of New Amsterdam (now Manhattan), erected the first still in which to distill gin and a tavern in which to sell it. When Manhattan fell into the hands of the English, the still was used to make rum, the first internationally accepted spirit of the New World. But truth be told, rum was sort of an accident. Christopher Columbus introduced sugarcane to our hemisphere on his second voyage for the purpose, of course, of making sugar. Rum was made by the ever-industrious colonists as a way to utilize the molasses left over from sugar production-that is, rum was a by-product of sugar. But by the end of the seventeenth century, rum production dwarfed sugar production to such an extent that the British enacted laws requiring that a certain proportion of all sugarcane crops must be used to make actual sugar. Rum had become the base for many colonial beverages, especially punches, and was produced throughout the Caribbean, South America, and to a great extent even in New England.

The production of rum fueled the growing economy. By 1733 it surpassed all other exports from the colonies. At the time, New England rum distillers were purchasing the molasses from the cheapest sources in the Caribbean, which were more often than not French and Portuguese. As a result, the British rum distillers who were sourcing their own molasses were losing a market share to the upstart colonial distillers and their cheaper molasses, and hence cheaper rum. In retribution, the British passed the Molasses Act of 1733 to control and tax the flow of molasses into the colonies. The Sugar Act followed, and then in 1765 the Stamp Act, which required the use of a tax stamp on all transactions. These acts led to the founding of the First Continental Congress, and eventually to the Revolutionary War. So, you see, it was rum, not tea, that precipitated our break from Great Britain. (Well, maybe there were a few other minor concerns, but this is a book about cocktails, not textiles.)

The American victory over the British left the new republic deep in debt. To the astonishment of most of his colleagues in the new government, Alexander Hamilton, our first Secretary of the Treasury, decided to pay our war debts quickly by way of a federal excise tax on rum and spirits, which was passed by the Congress in 1791 and signed into law by President George Washington. Thus began the tradition of paying for our wars by taxing our spirits. This would prove handy when, just twenty years later, the new nation found itself at war again with Great Britain in 1812. For the second time in the nation's brief history, the British blockaded our coastline, cutting off trade with molasses producers in the Caribbean and all but finishing the dwindling rum distilleries. This led to a tidal increase in the domestic production of grain spirits, and eventually to the birth of the second American spirit, bourbon, our all-American corn whiskey.

It was also during the period between these two wars that the word cocktail seems to have come into use. If you ambled into a colonial New England inn for a cold one, or just as likely a hot one, you'd probably order a ratafia, shrub, turnip wine, posset, pope, bishop, sack, flip, or an ale. Are any of these cocktails? Not really. But they were the progenitors of the cocktail, which made its official debut in print in 1806 in a publication called The Balance and Columbian Repository. In a letter to the editor, a reader had queried the meaning of a new word, cocktail. The editor wrote back:

"Cocktail is a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water and bitters. It is vulgarly called a bittered sling and is supposed to be an excellent electioneering potion, in as much as it renders the heart stout and bold, at the same time that it fuddles the head . . . It is said also, to be of great use to a Democratic candidate because, a person having swallowed a glass of it, is ready to swallow anything else."

The sarcastic last line of that reply addresses the practice of plying voters with alcohol, a tradition said to have begun with George Washington that did not end officially until Prohibition. The editor's reply also gives us for the first time a clear distinction between what constitutes a cocktail and separates it from all the concoctions that came before it: the addition of bitters. Bitters is a generic term for alcoholic beverages distilled or infused with plant or root extracts. Native Americans taught the early settlers how to use indigenous plants for flavorings in beverages and for medicinal purposes. Eventually, Old World plants were incorporated into these heady infusions, some of which included gentian root, colombo root, cinchona bark (quinine), ground ivy, horehound, cassia, wormwood, and angostura bark and root. Historically, these infusions were promoted as medicine to beat the tax on alcohol, though they did serve as effective digestifs. What they really did, however, was enhance the flavor of mixed drinks to which they were added.

The first commercially produced bitters was probably Peychaud's, made by Antoine Amédae Peychaud, a Creole immigrant to New Orleans who operated a pharmacy on the French Quarter's Royal Street from around 1793 through the 1830s. Peychaud himself made his bitters on a small scale but in 1840 the product was manufactured and sold nationally and internationally. With his background as an apothecary, Peychaud was a natural mixologist who delighted the friends who gathered for late-night revelry at his pharmacy. Peychaud would mix cognac and a dash of his secret bitters for his guests in a two-sided eggcup called a coquetier, pronounced "cock-tyay." Sound familiar? It is very likely that this word evolved into the word cocktail in English, but there are countless other tales with the same claim. Regardless of what Peychaud called his concoction, it evolved into the anise-scented Sazerac-sans absinthe, of course.

The transition from rum to whiskey was well under way long before the British again tried to choke off America's molasses supplies. The immigrants who fled the famines in the British Isles in the early eighteenth century found the New England states less than welcoming, and many of them settled along the frontier of western Pennsylvania. While the Quaker and Dutch colonists settled early on in Pennsylvania to escape the Puritan intolerance of New England, the hardy Scots pushed even farther west, opening up new wilderness and clearing lands for small farms. Naturally, many of them were schooled in the art of distilling whiskey from the old country, and brought small stills with them. Others simply built their own stil...

Biographie de l'auteur

DALE DeGROFF has been called “the Billy Graham of the holy spirits” by the London Tribune and “a master” by Martha Stewart, and is widely acknowledged to be the preeminent mixologist in the world. He’s been featured in dozens of magazines and newspapers, including The New York Times, The New Yorker, GQ, Entertainment Weekly, Penthouse, Food & Wine, and Forbes; his television appearances include Martha Stewart Living and Today. For twelve years, Dale ran the bar at New York City’s Rainbow Room and now serves as a consultant for such top restaurants as Balthazar. He has taught at the Culinary Institute of America (and stars in their bartending video) and the Institute for Culinary Education, among other venues. Dale grew up in Westerly, Rhode Island, and now lives on Long Island.

Visit Dale DeGroff at

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I learned about cocktails much the same way I learned to tend bar. Lire la première page
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Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Index | Quatrième de couverture
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.7 étoiles sur 5  78 commentaires
60 internautes sur 61 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 You won't find a better indroduction to spirits 2 septembre 2006
Par JEG - Publié sur

- Great looking book and great photography

- Detailed intro into all the main spirits

- Detailed info on bartending techniques and measurements

- Good intro into cocktail glasses

- Large number of recipes

- The author definately has command of the subject

- Lots of references of wher to buy items for your bar


- Inconsistant terminology. He uses different names for the same spirit in different pages of the book which leads to a bit of confusion

- No cross reference of recipes by main spirit. I wish the book would have broken down the recipes by main spirit. Recipes with vodka, recipes with tequila, and so on.

- Some spirits are undefined in the book. There are several recipes that have spirits that aren't defined anywhere on the book.
46 internautes sur 48 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Master Craftsman shares his wisdom 24 juin 2003
Par G. Roukas - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
I took a course with Dale and found out first hand what it takes to make a truly great cocktail--and found out how bad most cocktails in bars really are. This book not only tells how to create really memorable drinks for yourself and guests, it also delves into the history of the various spirits and how they've been combined by savvy bartenders to create classics old and new. I've read through it several times, lapping up classics like the sidecar and DeGroff signature drinks like the Ritz. If you like cocktails, this is an amazing book. Nobody cares about getting the best results like Dale.
51 internautes sur 56 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Great content poorly organized 18 août 2010
Par Robert C. Rogers - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
Try to imagine your favorite cookbook with the recipes arranged in alphabetical order. Bad. Now imagine all of the recipes had fanciful titles not directly related to their ingredients or method of production and THEN they were arranged in alphabetical order. Worse. Now imagine the book had a halfhearted attempt at any index. (Yes, there are a few alternate drink names in the index, but no attempt to, for instance, list drinks by base spirit, let alone minor ingredients.) Well that is DeGroff's Craft of The Cocktail. If you buy it, you pretty much have to read it cover to cover for it to be of use. If you just use it as a reference you will find excellent recipes of familiar drinks but miss all of the original drinks. (You don't know their names. They are originals. How are you going to be led to them in an alphabetical book?) I don't disagree with any of the positive things that people said about this book. (I did tell you to imagine your FAVORITE cookbook destroyed by disorganization.) But this book is a real disappointment and a missed opportunity.
24 internautes sur 25 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A must-have for any pretender or contender 17 juin 2003
Par "robert26874" - Publié sur
First of all, I am just a pretender, and I have no intention of ever becoming a professional bartender. With that said, this is definitely one of the best books I have picked up, and definitely the best bartender book I have ever seen. It contains vivid pictures of everything that Mr. Degroff is trying to explain and he gives great tips on everything from knowing what glassware and alcohols to have in your bar to unbelievable mix drink recipies. For those who do not drink, it even contains an unbelievable non-alcholic drink (the citrius cream). This book also makes a great coffee table book. Vistors that come by cannot keep their hands off of it! I would highly recommend this book to anyone who likes to bartend for fun or professionally.
46 internautes sur 52 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A fine cocktail book from one of the great bartenders. 24 août 2005
Par Amazon Customer - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
Dale DeGroff is to blame for setting me off on a quest for the perfect Sazerac.

While it lasted (and I can testify that its demise had nothing to do with the quality of the drink and food) DeGroff's Blackbird bar/restaurant in Manhattan was a place I enjoyed going when I could spare the time and cash. When you got DeGroff into the realm of the bitters-tinged cocktail, his subtly aromatic, complex, and a little bit dark and twisted drinks were a treat for the nose and tongue, even as his urbane presence and stylish economy of motion made it clear you were in the presence of a Real Bartender. I still remember the first Sazerac I had there, and the way it unfolded to my senses.

Although in the ensuing years, when it comes to that particular drink, I've developed a slight preference for the simpler perfection of the classic (just rye, Peychaud's Bitters, simple syrup, Herbsaint) Sazerac, I still enjoy the plot twists in the story told by DeGroff's fancified (half-and-half rye and cognac for the liquor, and half-and-half Peychaud's and regular old Angostura handling the bitters requirement) version, and I follow his glass-preparation instructions whichever version I make.

This is all an illustration of the true lesson to be learned about bartenders' references: there is no single book which will tell you everything there is to be learned about mixing drinks. You need to go out and taste what people are mixing, and you need to have several books on hand whose recipes you can read, compare, imagine, try, synthesize, extrapolate. DeGroff's The Craft of the Cocktail, despite having come out as recently as 2002, is clearly one of those essential references you need on your shelf. It's just a bonus (or perhaps, to some, an annoyance) that the book is so lavishly-produced that you could choose to leave it on the coffee table for guests to enjoy when you're not using it yourself.
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