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The Essential Cocktail: The Art of Mixing Perfect Drinks
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The Essential Cocktail: The Art of Mixing Perfect Drinks

4.38 of 5 stars 4.38  ·  rating details  ·  104 ratings  ·  13 reviews
Dale DeGroff is widely regarded as the world’s foremost mixologist. Hailed by the New York Times as “single-handedly responsible for what’s been called the cocktail renaissance,” he earned this reputation during his twelve years at the fashionable Promenade Bar in New York City’s Rainbow Room. It was there in 1987 that he not only reintroduced the cocktail menu to the coun ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published October 28th 2008 by Clarkson Potter
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Walt Falconer

Beautifully done in both material and layout,this is bound to be a must have classic tome on mixology.While it covers only about 500 recipes,it covers 500 worthwhile or essential(hence the title)cocktails, all well worthy of inclusion in a cocktail reference book - not just a compendium of every drink ever concocted (for better or worse). Almost every drink is given a short but interesting history/intro, then ingredients, directions, and photographs of the finished drink.
Larger fo
Pair with The Craft of the Cocktail; neither is complete unto itself. There is also some repetition between the two books, but I am OK with that. This one is slicker. The publishers got someone to organize it better than the first one, and present the material with lots of pretty pictures, but I think the first one stands a better chance of becoming an ageless reference book. This one already seems dated, with the emphasis on "foam" and name brand ingredients that he throws in because he gets hi ...more
Interesting history, easy to follow recipes, good background information, and a very comprehensive set of drinks including many variants. A very useful book.
Aaron Bond
Great book, but be ready to head to the store to get all the fixins...lots of unique/hard to find ingredients on a lot of the recipes.
Mar 11, 2013 Amy rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: cooking
I struggled with this book. On one hand there are excellent basics in it, especially the appendices. On the other it's so full of "I invented this variation for such-and-such event/company/place" that it's off putting to me. I am especially irked by the disappearing page numbers. It's next to impossible to use the index since the layout doesn't have page numbers on about 75% of the pages.

End result is that I'll probably photocopy several things before I take it back to the library, but few of th
Kristen Northrup
Beautiful book. And I really enjoyed all the history mixed throughout. Not many recipes call for hard-to-find ingredients, and anyone picking up a $35 cocktail book is probably interested in going exotic anyway. The one part that bothered me throughout is that he kept modernizing recipes but not including the original. Updating drinks for contemporary tastes is a great service, but it would have been neat to just see the original for comparison.
Aug 16, 2010 Loree marked it as to-read
Recommended to Loree by: Dale's Uncle
I haven't read this book yet, but this weekend I had the pure luck of sharing a breakfast table with a charming elderly man who is related to Dale DeGroff... our breakfast conversation covered everything from Navy Pier in Chicago, WWII, the start of TV broadcasting, to the Rainbow Room, cocktails and family. I was so charmed... I figured I best find a copy of this book and explore it myself...
After discovering the “Blood and Sand” (equal parts blended scotch, cherry Heering, sweet vermouth, and orange juice) on a trip to visit friends in Canada, I knew I had to get this book. It’s a great mix of recipes and history and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves classic cocktails.
100 essentials + variations, plus a little backstory on the drinks' history - if you enjoy reading cookbooks and are an aspiring mixologist, this book is a good one to turn to.
Excellent book on all levels--photography, drink recipes, writing, research, history. The index could use some work, but otherwise I'd highly recommend this one.
Avis Black
He has a something missing from many books about drinks, information about pre-Prohibition Era drinks, which was interesting to read.
The recipes are excellent but it's the history and lore that Degroff throws in that really makes this book. Cheers!
The most useful cocktail book I have.
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