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Book Review: Old Man Drinks

Book Review: Old Man Drinks


So I have been fighting a new addiction lately, more powerful than even Demon Rum. It’s called Twitter. (If you aren’t following me yet, shame on you. Click herenow!) Up until a week ago, I’d have called Twitter completely useless fun, but now I only call it mostly useless fun. Someone’s retweet brought to my attention a little book called Old Man Drinks: Recipes, Advice, and Barstool Wisdom. I thought it might be good for a laugh, so I punched Amazon’s Buy Now button.
Not only was I not disappointed in Old Man Drinks, I was pleased way beyond my expectations.
What I expected was a book full of funny quotes from geezer barflies, illustrated with pictures of said geezers. The book certainly delivers on the quotes, such as:

I’ve taken an involuntary vow of celibacy.
—Pablo, 69, janitor

and

A little booze’ll make you charming, a little more will make you an ass. I hope to ride that line tonight.
—John, 68, painter

There are many better one’s in the book, but I chose those two since the author already shared them via the book’s own Twitter feed.
Many of the photographs are charming and show that age can be a beautiful, if sometimes haunting thing. The layout is very well done as well. For just these things, Old Man Drinks would be worth the fifteen dollar cover price (ten bucks on Amazon). But what really surprised me are the recipes to be found inside.
I’m not sure what I was expecting to find, but I guess I was looking for Boilermakers, hard shots, with perhaps the Martini and Manhattan presented as drinks for old Fancy Dans.
Instead, you find in Old Man Drinks as wonderful collection of classic cocktails, the kind of drinks we cocktail geeks love to rediscover and riff upon. Yes, there’s the Arnie Palmer, but the next page has the Aviation (Modern Bar version). For every Cuba Libré, you will find several Ward Eights. Ol’ Harv is there, but so are the Pisco Sour and the Sazerac. There is even a drink called the Grumpy Old Man.
Each recipe is presented with a chatty discussion about the drink, or its history, or it origin.
It is not a comprehensive collection of drinks, but one generally well suited to the theme. A few may not seem on the surface to be Old Man suitable, and the case made for these drinks can be somewhat tortured. I still do not understand why Queen Elizabeth II’s fondness should make the Dubonnet Cocktail an Old Man drink….
The author, Robert Schnakenberg, claims on his website, Schnakworld, to be America’s Most Beloved Author and Raconteur.

Now that’s just silly, Doug!
You are America’s most beloved Raconteur!

Apparently, modesty is a vice both Robert and I have bravely fought off.
The exact extent to which Schnakenberg has been taken to America’s bosom aside, he has a very rich and varied oeuvre. Along with a bunch of youth sports books, some pop histories, and Old Man Drinks, he has titles such as Sci-Fi Baby Names. If that is not enough for the Sci-Fi fans out there, try what must surely be the ultimate compendium of all things awesome: The Encyclopedia Shatnerica: An A to Z Guide to the Man and His Universe

Old Man Drinks is a fun read for any of my readers, but more importantly a great gift/gateway book to give to that guy you know who thinks he’s a beer or wine guy, but you are sure would make a great cocktailian. It is a fun and engaging read that ought to give plenty of incentive to a neophyte mixer to try some of the classics resting therein.


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  1. Great review, one of the best write-up I checked out so far. I am want to know, had you ever read any professional business photography publication by Allworth Press? Possibly you could publish a review for this, this looks like a good publication to read.

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