‘Tis the season for holiday parties! It’s that time of year when your calendar fills up and it seems like all you do is eat sweets and drink cocktails — well, at least that’s how my December usually goes. This reality makes my choice for December’s cookbook pick really easy: The Bar Book is written by renowned bartender and cocktail blogger Jeffrey Morgenthaler. Since 2009 he’s been at the helm of the bar at Portland’s Clyde Common. If you get the chance, you really should check that place out. The brunch is fantastic! Ditto the cheese board.
The Bar Book is packed with so many recipes and techniques that it’s a hard one to put down. Jeffrey gives you step-by-step directions to making the perfect purée, helps you decipher what ice to use in what cocktail, and even clearly lays out the necessary bar tools for you to stock your home bar.
What I found most interesting was how he dives into why bartenders do what they do. For example, have you ever wondered why some cocktails are stirred and not shaken? When stirring a cocktail, the goal is clarity and an absence of any fizz or foam. An example of that would be a Martini. (Sorry, James Bond, but you’ve been ordering them incorrectly all these years.) You shake a cocktail that you want to be light and aerated — almost fluffy — like a Sidecar, which is made with cognac, Cointreau, lemon juice and simple syrup.
I could go on and on about the cool things I picked up from this book. It’s an essential for any home bartender, and a timely gift for the cocktail lover in your life. I know I’ll be using it quite a bit this holiday season. Cheers!
Latest posts by Melissa Gaeto (see all)
- December Cookbook Pick: The Bar Book - December 1, 2015
- November Cookbook Pick: Happy Cooking by Giada De Laurentiis - November 6, 2015
- October Cookbook Pick: Jacques Pépin Heart & Soul in the Kitchen - October 6, 2015