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Jigger, Beaker and Glass: Drinking Around the World Format Kindle
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If you are expecting the same old "wad-o-drinks" type of book here, then you will be quite surprised in what you find. Mr. Baker has a dry wit, as well as a cunning charm about him. And he exercises it well as he relates to his readers the various drinks that he has collected through his travels and adventures. The recipes often consist of more prose then raw ingredients, which makes them both more interesting to browse through but at the same time slightly more difficult to work from.
For a taste of his style, here is just one of the drink recipes from this book:
SANTIAGO NIGHTCAP, from a STAY in SANTIAGO de CUBA,
in the EARLY SPRING of 1930
------This is another favour passed along to this field
representative and wine tester by the late Senor Facuno
Bacardi, it being his primary thought to donate something
to woo sleep and restore the slightly frayed physical
assembly. It is a simple drink, and would also make a
fine picker-upper. . . . Take 1 1/2 jiggers of Gold
Seal Bacardi rum, add 1 pony of orange curaco and the
yolk of 1 egg. Shake hard with cracked ice and strain
into a large saucer champagne glass.
While the formatting of these recipes may make it a bit more difficult to glean direct recipes from them, they do present a provocative and insightfull snapshot of the cocktail world of those days. Few books, before or since, have even approached this wonderfully eclectic performance.
I highly recommend this book for anybody who has an interest in classic cocktails.
The previous person to review this book makes a good point, too. This is not simply a formula book of recipes, but THAT is exactly what makes it a great read. Another perfect example of this is "Cocktail Recipes from the Nineteenth Century - The Flowing Bowl", by Spencer (another recent reprint of a rare old cocktail book.)
I picked up the original many years ago looking for some older style cocktails. What I wasn't expecting was the narrative that filled the book. Most cocktail books will give you just recipes. Others will give some preface to the "martini" chapter or the "rum" chapter. This has a story for almost every drink it contains. He brings you with him through his descriptions of the people, surroundings, and way in which the drink is concocted.
Sometimes the recipe gets lost in the story and you have to go back and re-read it to find the directions. And they're not laid out as nicely as in modern cocktail books, again, you have to read the tale to figure out what you need and how its made. I don't mind this but some may find this a little annoying.
Yes, some of the ingredients are not so easy to find anymore, but classic cocktails are having a resurgence and there are plenty of sites online where you can possibly find ways to make your own ingredients. My fridge is stocked with all sorts of syrups and additives that I've made and they surpass many mass produced products.
To finish this review, I will leave you with my grenadine recipe. It's a richer color and full of flavor than what you'll find in your typical selection of mixers.
In a quart pot, bring a quart of 100% pomegranate juice to a simmer. Reduce it by 1/4 to 1/3. Remove from heat. Add about 1oz dried hibiscus flowers. Cover and let steep for about an hour. Strain and discard the flowers. Taste. It will have a slightly sour taste. Some people like this, I add just enough sugar to lessen the sour but not make it super sweet.
However, I'm enjoying every page and won't be disappointed if he'd misled me and it's not there. The bartender gave me the recipe.
I've already used Baker's recipe for Athol Brose for a Scottish Christmas party. That one was delicious and is now tucked up my sleeve for the next opportunity to introduce others to it.
The book is a conceit, but a fascinating window on another era.
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