Saturday, November 19, 2016

A Proper Drink: The Untold Story of How a Band of Bartenders Saved the Civilized Drinking World

I received this book nearly two months ago, but just was able to finish it. This was not because I was busy, or didn't like the book, but more because Javaczuk, my ex-bartender husband, who lived in NYC for a bit, and who still holds a fascination for the art of spirits tucked it away to read. (To be fair, I knew he would, and as I had other books to occupy me, and a good bit of art as well, I was fine. My only qualm was that it delayed my thoughts on the book for Blogging for Books, and the publisher, from whom I got my copy.) This review is a combination of both our thoughts: the expert and the novice.

For both the mixologist and the lover of fine cocktails who knows nothing about making a proper drink, this was an interesting book. It is praiseworthy for its comprehensiveness, Simonson's ability to make the reader feel as if they are observing these pioneering mixologists with short, simple descriptions, and its ability to put the modern cocktail movement in historical context. From my point of view, I was happy it spurred Javaczuk on to try some of the recipes provided. It also was just plain interesting reading, introducing the novice (me) to some of the finer nuances in crafting a cocktail. The general index, and the index of people interviewed/corresponded with were also helpful, but made me realize this was essentially just one (plus a few outliers) city, which made me wonder who else was out there, in untapped regions. It also made me realize that my personal slap-dash method of making a drink would make most people shudder.

Only thing other thing that would have been nice to have seen would be some pictures of the bartenders and bars, as some of Simonson's media articles have done, but understand that there are cost considerations in publishing a book.

This certainly will hold a place of esteem (and be a point of reference) in our collection of Mixology books.To end with Javaczuk's thoughts, for he certainly knows far more on the subject than I do; "As far as I know, this is the best book existing on the subject. Brilliant piece of research.


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