What’s this all about?

Understanding Cocktails is for those of you who want to know a little bit more about what's going into that $15 drink you ordered last night. Perhaps you'd like to know what all the fussing behind the bar is about or maybe you'd like to be able to say something other than; "it's nice" when someone makes you a drink. Still not sure? Check the about section out for more details.

A great book find


A chance encounter at local bookstore followed by some gift lobbying found us in possession of great, and relatively recent new book: Cocktail Culture [amazon.com] by Mark Kingwell. Strangely enough it seems to go by the less intriguing name Classic Cocktails: A Modern Shake [amazon again] in the States.

There’s lot to like about this book – in particular his take on what we here call cocktail attitude. This book just drips it. In particular we have certain fondness for the literary linkages, the philosophic cocktail commentary, and the smug use of the first person plural. Anyone who describes vodka as “baltic potato moonshine” is alright with us.

For biographically obvious reasons we have to pardon Mr Kingwell’s canuck-ophile sensitivities (but really, his devotion to Canadian Club is worrying), we are never-the-less touched by his University of Toronto professor of philosophy background. It almost had us diving through our old course notes. Almost. As we all know, a degree in philosophy is good for working behind the bar and not much else.

The introduction contains a valuable lesson about writing and drinking cocktails. It should be about the fun. Taking leisure seriously becomes work – and that’s not what we are after. A lesson we’d all do well to remember.

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