Book Review: Craft Cocktails by Brian Van Flandern


Craft Cocktails is a new book from Assouline which showcases the talents of Brian Van Flandern and celebrates the golden age of the cocktail. In addition to the many receipes created by Brian Van Flandern there are recipes from some of the best bartenders and cocktail bars in NYC if not the world including Death & Co and PDT.

The Good
The pictures perfectly capture each drinks essence. The drinks look alluring and leap from the page and you can just imagine the cold refreshment that awaits you. The cover is soft to the touch with an almost velvety feel. The font is large, playful, and easy to read. The drinks themselves are  good. While I did not try every single recipe in the book there were several that were of note including: Plymouth Rocks, Mezcal Mule, The Slope, and the Black Cherry Bittered Sling.

Although not necessarily a bad thing I would have preferred that the drinks creators were listed on the same page as the drink recipe in addition to the index, even if only for those not created by the author. Several recipes call for some truly exotic ingredients (dandelion-infused Cointreau anyone?), that maybe difficult to find or replicate depending on your location. There are also a couple of homemade ingredients that are listed in the recipe with no directions on how to make them, such as the Valrhona bitter chocolate syrup. What makes this strange is that for other ingredients like the chai-infused sweet vermouth he gives directions. For me this shows a lack of consistency which leaves the reader guessing on how to accurately replicate these drinks.

The Bottom Line
If you are just getting into experimenting with making your own cocktails at home this wouldn’t be the first book I would suggest. It’s much more important to have a firm grasp of the classics before moving on to the experimental phase. That being said if you are looking to expand your cocktail book collection and  try some drinks with exotic ingredients then I would definitely check it out.

Retails for around $45

Review sample provided by Assouline publishing.


4 thoughts on “Book Review: Craft Cocktails by Brian Van Flandern

  1. I bought this about 3 weeks ago. I had to buy it. It was wrapped in plastic and therefore…forbidden. it was pretty rad. like the type of book I’d want to write. but I’d just add a section based on spirit type to find the drinks easier.
    great review.

  2. Your critique is pretty spot on… As the author of this book, I want to go on record as stating that I ORIGINALLY had the creator of each recipes name on the same page as their drink but was overruled by the publisher for lack of space. With regard to certain recipes not having detailed instructions… same thing. The publisher was more interested in the aesthetic over function. Never the less, I think your review is dead-on accurate and I appreciate the positive (and constructive) feedback. Enjoy the book!! I hoped to make this a book that bridges the passion of the committed mixologist with the masses. CRAFT COCKTAILS to the people!!


    Brian Van Flandern

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s