Food & Wine Magazine releases a cocktail annual almanac each year. I’ve bought a couple of them over the years, and only just got around to picking up a copy of Cocktails 2010 today from a display at my local grocery store where I had gone to pick up yard-long straws for use in Scorpion Bowls (but that’s another post). I had not even intended to review it at all, as the series is well-known already. But the PeguWife noticed an absolutely killer feature in this edition that would merit a full post in and of itself.
I’ll detail said feature last, after I mention a few things about the book otherwise. There are over 160 recipes, ranging from some standards, to forgotten drinks, to updated old recipes, to new creations. They are broken up into sections, each introduced with a profile of a famous mixologist. Jeff Berry (natch) introduces the rum chapter for instance, and a host of other All-Stars have at least an original recipe included. It’s a good format that thinks a little outside the box. In general, it works effectively, but I confess I cannot understand the inclusion of genever and aquavit in the vodka section….
There is a section of pretty good-looking mocktails, and of course some delicious recipes too. Most of the recipes would make good hors d’oeuvres, but a few are full on entrees or other dishes more suited to the table than a cocktail party. This threw me for a loop at first, but it actually makes sense. Since cocktails are becoming more readily acceptable with dinner (as opposed to just before and after), it makes sense to look at meals that complement them as well.
But the killer feature, the feature that should be found in every damn illustrated cocktail book published, is this: The model and maker of every glass used in every picture is detailed right on the page. I love collecting beautiful glasses, and reading most cocktail books is at least a partial exercise is frustrated covetousness. I hate seeing gorgeous glasses that I can’t find. With the simple addition of a caption, Food & Wine lets you at least find the glasses they use in the pictures. They even let you know what the wallpaper is you can see in the background of some shots.
Whether my finances will allow me to buy the glasses in the book that I like most is another matter. The Iittala Ultima Thule Highball, shown here containing a Jalisco Sling, goes for 52 bucks a pair on Amazon. I haven’t pushed the One Click button yet, but I may.
The Bamboo Tumbler (by Roost) showcasing the Sugar Hill Punch has already been ordered (not from Amazon, alas) because it is only $17.
Without this feature of glass brand and model information, Cocktails 2010 would be a good buy. Its inclusion makes this attractive little book a super one.