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 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.