Well, this is right on trend. Cocktails have become the cornerstone of every restaurant bar, and we want to try our hands at barista-ing at home. Most of the fixin’s are available to civilians and with little equipment some delicious and beautiful cocktails can be ours.
Craft Spirits is a comprehensive glossary of worldwide spirits and those are the foundations of cocktails. The book has categories covering everything from Absinthe to Whisky and includes some beverage newcomers – at least they are new to the West. Japanese Sake and Shochu, Chinese Baijiu, and Cachaças from Brazil are here as well.
We all have them, those bottles of spirits we picked up at the airport, but now we can actually do something with them, and Craft Spirits even shows us how they are made. Eric Grossman introduces us to Bitters and shows us how to make a Simple Syrup.
Why glasses are a particular shape
There is glass etiquette associated with cocktail serving so there is a section devoted to glassware. There are indeed logical reasons why glasses are a particular shape – ideal for appreciating aromas, for drinks with lots of ice, etc. You will never present a martini in an Old-Fashioned glass again!
One can easily make infused spirits. Craft Spirits offers advice on how to produce these unique flavoured vodkas and gins, and I am considering an infusion of ginger which would be a winner on cold winter evenings. Citrus works well and so do berries.
If we are bar professionals we will likely appreciate the detailed descriptions of each bottle. There are paragraphs on the distillery, the philosophy, the spirit and the taste. But for us mortals we will be turning to the pages offering cocktail recipes. Pomegranate Gin Sling has me riveted. Blackberry Mint Julep will be a welcome cooler after a few hours’ fruit-picking on the common. I am a Gimlet enthusiast and the Grapefruit Vodka Gimlet is outstanding, with a decent amount of alcohol and a good hit of refreshing citrus.
Craft Spirits is a veritable bar handbook. It educates and tempts in equal measure and it’s great value for money.
Author: Eric Grossman
Publisher: DK Publishing
Drinks book review by Chrissie Walker © 2018