There is something enticing about a cocktail, conjuring images of a Gatsby lifestyle or a two martini lunch, triggering a nostalgia for a world we are far too young to have known, and which probably didn’t exist anyway. However, a cocktail as an aperitif rather than a glass of white does make a nice change, and while a gin and tonic doesn’t really count as something complicated enough to actually be considered a cocktail, it’s nice to have a guide to some more esoteric drinks, and one might as well have something comprehensive.
The World’s Best Cocktails, by Tom Sandham, is certainly exhaustive and weighty tome with over 500 cocktail recipes in its 304 pages. Organisation is logically by spirit, with classic recipes followed by newer creations. Each chapter also as a short discussion on the history of it’s particular spirit, styles of the spirit and then classic and modern cocktails using it. Interspaced through the book is a guide to cocktail bars around the world, showcasing their speciality drinks – mixing at home is all very well, but a cocktail is really something that is better mixed for you; also, to show what’s happening at the cutting edge of cocktails, there are also contributions from a number of bartenders of (I have to assume, but I actually don’t know) renown.
Illustrated guides at the end of the book cover glassware, ingredients, garnishes and techniques – firstly shaking and throwing and then the -ings – stirring, muddling layering etc. Our only criticism is that some of the recipes are printed across photos and could be hard to read after a cocktail or two.
Cocktails, like food, are susceptible to the whims of fashion. In the same way that there’s really no such thing as a timeless cook book, I would think that every cocktail book betrays its era on every page. However, this is an excellent and comprehensive volume for cocktail lovers, those who want to learn more about drinks and spirits or to learn to make excellent cocktails at home.
Fuss Free Rating
World’s Best Cocktails by Tom Sandham: ****
World’s Best Cocktails is published by Jacqui Small, cover price £30
Fuss Free Flavours received a complimentary copy for review. All opinions are our own, we were not required to write a positive review