A sweet and tasty little book that has loads of punches with relatively easy recipes and gThis review was originally published at Layers of Thought.
A sweet and tasty little book that has loads of punches with relatively easy recipes and great pictures.
A thing about trying and tasting punch recipes is that you either have to have a party, drink a whole punch bowl yourself, or break down the ingredients into smaller portions. To save my sanity and liver I resorted to the later - and regardless of the lack of a party I had fun doing so. How could you not, especially if the recipes are tasty?
I tried the authors’ versions of some classic drinks - Pimm’s Punch (a low-alcohol version of the Pimm’s Cup which I love and gives the drinker a taste of an English summer); the Old Fashioned Manhattan Punch (a delicious cross between the two classic cocktails which also uses orange juice as an ingredient); a Skinny Moscow Mule (a low-cal version of the Moscow Mule with diet ginger ale and vodka); and Jungle Juice (a variation on the potent College Punch that is a combo of six juices and four different kinds of booze). The last one really packed a punch (pun intended), but all of them were refreshing and delicious.
As for the book’s appearance and usability, it’s a hardcover and a small book so it’s easy to handle. It only has 112 pages. But it packs a wallop with 50 different punches. Almost every recipe has an additional corresponding page with a pretty idea-laden photograph of the punch. With each recipe there’s a short description, the ingredients listed logically, then simple yet specialized directions.The authors have also included tips for ice molds (which are suggestively and gorgeously pictured throughout the book) and directions on how to make the specialized simple syrups (a homemade water and sugar blend) needed for the punches. There is also a page that lists punches by types of alcohol and lastly an index that includes names of each punch as well as the individual ingredients so that you can find each punch by its name or content.
The recipes are broken down into Classic Cocktail-Inspired Punches (which includes the above punches that I tried), a section on wine called Sangrias and Champagne-Based Punches, Tropical and Exotic Drinks, Lazy Sundays (including a boozy iced tea called Palm Springs), Height of Summer (that has an interesting-sounding Spiked Spa Water), Fireside Cocktails (including Aztec Chocolate Punch which is a spicy hot chocolate drink with tequila), and Nonalcoholic Punches (which includes an orange juice and ice cream combo called Fifty-Fifty Punch) which are perfect for a children’s get-together.
As you can see that this is a fun book that I had a blast researching it. It’s a perfect gift for a host or hostess which can come in handy during the upcoming holidays or for any party or season. I give PUNCH BOWLS a 4-star rating.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. If you have a blog you can sign up too. ...more
Perfect for the recent cocktail renaissance, within this book you will find a fun and easy way of making 3Original review posted at Layers of Thought.
Perfect for the recent cocktail renaissance, within this book you will find a fun and easy way of making 32 different seasonal cocktails. And best yet it has lots of pictures!
Eric Prum and Josh Williams are best friends and have a design company called W & P Design in Brooklyn NY. And since they love cocktails and have created a cocktail shaker called the Mason Shaker (pictured on the book’s cover), it stands to reason that they would write a book on how to make cocktails too. But don’t worry, you don’t need to purchase one of their nice $30 shakers to make yourself cocktails - you can use a clean mayonnaise jar instead!
The duo has a premise on which they base their cocktail making - it should be “fun, simple, and social”. And the book is social since all the recipes are based on making a two-drink batch so that you can share. There are 8 cocktails for each of the four seasons, many using fresh local ingredients, so there are a lot of tasty ways that you can have fun. The book is also simple, broken down into the basics of cocktail crafting with fundamentals such as stocking your bar (where they suggest 12 different types of moderately priced booze); what types of glassware to choose; what types of ice and sugar to use; how to muddle; and, of course, techniques on how to “shake”. And since the book is mostly pictures it adds even more to the simple and fun feel.
Another thing I liked about the book is that it is a paperback with those nice cover flaps which makes it easy to save your place when browsing or making several cocktails at once. The index is also accessible and broken down by cocktail name, spirits, and key ingredient. Out of the thirty-two cocktails (several non-alcoholic) some examples are the Rosemary Bourbon Sour, Spiced Rum Old Fashioned, Pickleback Me (two shots – one pickle juice and one tequila), and the Flat Ditch. The Flat Ditch is my favorite so far out of the 10 or so that we have tried – it combines dark rum, lemon juice, fresh ginger, and strong ginger beer. Another plus is that most of the ingredients (or reasonable substitutions) can be found in your local grocery store and won’t tax your wallet too much.
It’s a book that I would consider for the newbie-cocktail-drinker, or for those looking to expand their drinking repertoire from the standard wine, beer, and basic store bought cocktail mixers. It’s an entertaining guide that I’d rate 4 out of 5 stars. I am looking forward to trying more of its cocktails and recreating favorites once again.
A complimentary book was received in exchange for an honest review from Blogging for Books. If you are a blogger you can get copies of books in exchange for reviews too. Just visit bloggingforbooks.org....more
Quick take: The story of Hughes’ rise to fame, descent into total drug addiction and eveOriginal review posted at Layers of Thought
2.5 stars actually
Quick take: The story of Hughes’ rise to fame, descent into total drug addiction and eventual recovery.
Description: Glen Hughes joined the English rock band Deep Purple when they were at their peak. He was a highly talented singer, songwriter and bassist and had previously spent six years in the band Trapeze, but as part of Deep Purple he immediately achieved worldwide fame. After two years Deep Purple split up and Hughes then went on to make a lot of music with a string of bands and as a solo artist, in addition to being a session musician on a long list of recordings by other artists.
The book tells the story of Hughes musical career and his relationships with many people in the music industry, both famous and not so famous. It also describes in some detail the lurid lifestyles led by many successful people in the industry. But the main focus on the book is on his introduction to drugs, his subsequent addiction, his chaotic descent into a personal (and professional) hell, and his eventual return to sobriety and relative normality. He pulls no punches in describing what it is like to be a drug addict and the impact it had on himself and all those around him.
The book is liberally laced with quotes from a great range of people who have come into contact with Hughes throughout his life and career.
John’s thoughts: I loved (and still do love) a lot Deep Purple’s music, so I was a very happy camper when Shellie presented me with this book. I read with great interest the content relating to music, musicians and bands. It was interesting to read about who he interacted with and to find out more about some key people in the music scene.
What wasn’t so interesting was the drug-related content. I soon tired of reading about drug dealers, users, addicts and the impact of addiction. It is obviously important content, and telling that story is no doubt one of the big reasons why Hughes created this book, but reading about someone totally screwing up their lives and often being a jerk while doing it just isn’t a lot of fun. Plaudits to Hughes for finally getting his act together, getting clean and recreating his life, and I admire his brutal honesty in telling the tale. I just lost a bit of interest half way through the book.
It didn’t help that the autobiography wasn’t very well put together. It jumped around a lot and contained loads of snippets that just seemed to be patched together. Things didn’t really flow smoothly.
I’d recommend this book for any big fans of Deep Purple or Hughes’ other music, and it would also be a good read for anyone wanting to learn more about the perils of drug use and the travails of an addict. Unfortunately it left me a little cold. I’d rate this book 2.5 stars. ...more
An easy to understand and listen to audio book. It will give newbies and experts alike the basics around distinguishing between, choosing, drinking, aAn easy to understand and listen to audio book. It will give newbies and experts alike the basics around distinguishing between, choosing, drinking, and then describing all sorts of different wines....more
John’s quick take:A fascinating book for anyone interested in World War II or military history; but alsoOriginal review posted at Layers of Thought.
John’s quick take:A fascinating book for anyone interested in World War II or military history; but also a terrific read for anyone who likes a good adventure story. This history book is full of both intriguing historical details and breathtakingly dangerous human exploits.
John’s description: As Hitler’s Germany prepared for war, it was determined to match the might of the British Navy. One result of this was the building of a huge battleship that was bigger, faster, better armed and more advanced than anything the world had seen. The Tirpitz, named after Grand Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz who was the architect of the German Imperial Navy, was supposedly unsinkable.
As the war developed, the main role of the ship was to cause havoc with the Atlantic convoys that were both the lifeline of besieged Britain and an important source of allied arms being supplied to Russia. The Germans based Tirpitz on the Norwegian coast, so it could also serve as a deterrent to a possible allied invasion of that country. Hitler had something close to paranoia about the threat of the allies rescuing Norway from its German occupiers.
As it turned out, by far the biggest impact that the Tirpitz had on the war was the threat of what it might do, rather than anything it actually did do. The allied forces were terrified of the ship’s capabilities and went to enormous lengths to protect their convoys and to avoid a direct confrontation, thereby tying up enormous amounts of military assets; meanwhile the Germans, and Hitler in particular, were terrified of losing the ship and were amazingly cautious about using it in anger, despite its reputed invincibility. But Hitler was not the only wartime leader who played a major personal role in the Tirpitz story; Churchill was almost obsessed with the Tirpitz, and relentlessly pushed his forces to attack the ship, even after it should have become obvious that its threat was overstated.
The result was that over a three-year period the British launched no less than 36 operations designed specifically to sink the ship. As Tirpitz was moored in well-protected Norwegian fjords, beyond the range of traditional British-based bombers, many of the British operations were innovative or desperately risky, bordering on suicidal. Among other things the British tried to use human torpedoes, midget submarines, aircraft carrier-based dive bombers, and specially designed mines. Some of the operations used special services groups, supported by undercover agents in Norway, and much of the intelligence about the ship’s movements and plans was the result of the British decrypting top-secret German Enigma communications.
The operation involving newly designed midget submarines was particularly unusual and daring. After perilous training and a fraught journey across the North Sea, just three of the ten craft made it beyond the ship’s defenses, one of which was then sunk by gunfire and depth charges. But two of the tiny submarines did manage to lay mines which did quite a bit of damage to Tirpitz, and put it out of action for almost six months. However, the ship was repaired and once again became a thorn in the sides of the British.
Eventually the job of sinking Tirpitz was handed over to the Royal Air Force, which now had access to Lancaster bombers which had just about enough range to reach the Tirpitz. The attacks by the bombers stretched the limits of both human endurance and available technology, and the losses were high. But using highly innovative and terrifying new “earthquake bombs”, the RAF finally scored two direct hits on the ship causing it to capsize within minutes; of the 1,700 sailors on board at the time of the bombing, it is estimated that almost 1,000 died as a result of the attack.
John’s thoughts: I found this a tremendously interesting read. It could have been just a dry, historical account of events, but throughout the book, Bishop uses personal diaries, memoirs and interviews with families of survivors to bring the history to life. In large parts the story is told through the eyes of people who were involved.
And what a story this is. If a Hollywood movie had used a plot like this, many would accuse it of being far-fetched and unbelievable. In here we have arms races, technology being pushed to the absolute limits, powerful nations battling for survival, spies, decrypted secret messages, audacious plans and quite stunning acts of bravery in the face of overwhelming odds. It is the latter which I found most amazing. Throughout the book there are seemingly normal people that are willing to volunteer for missions or to do things which are absurdly dangerous. Heroes indeed.
Apart from all of that, I also found it an educational book. I’m old enough that World War II was very real to my parents and grandparents, and I’ve always been fascinated by the period. I learnt a lot from this read and it wasn’t just about the facts and the stories immediately surrounding the Tirpitz. It was also an education to find out more about the people – from how the personalities of Hitler and Churchill had a direct impact on events, to the stories of the daring pilots and sailors who undertook the raids, to the impact of German occupation on Norwegians, to the lives of the sailors on board the Tirpitz. Something else gave me great pause for thought. The Tirpitz never did attack allied ships and essentially the only time it caused any damage was when it was defending itself against attack; yet it had a major influence on events during the war. The threat of a weapon turned out to be much more damaging than the weapon itself. Intriguing, and you can’t help but draw some parallels with the cold war that followed World War II.
I’d rate this book four stars and thoroughly recommend it to anyone interested in World War II or military history; but also to anyone who enjoys reading about real-life adventure. ...more