The Boozehound’s Library: The Bar Guide, The Cocktail Compendium

You may be wondering where we get all our basic cocktail knowledge from. We are not bartenders, nor are we well-traveled explorers (in fact we’re in our twenties so we’re not even well-traveled drinkers).  No, our history lesson was well supplemented by a simple little book aptly named The Bar Guide. Look for this classy little hardcover in half-priced bookstores – likely many people got this for a present while it was still in wide circulation and foolishly sold it.

Don’t let the Williams-Sonoma brand fool you, there is no product placement. It is well written, researched, and illustrated. This is the place to start on your road to becoming a good host, a cocktail snob, or a generally knowledgeable boozehound. We keep it on our coffee table at all times – anytime the book gets put on the shelf it quickly finds its way free again. Want to know the proper ratio and ingredients for a real zombie? They got you covered. What glasses should you use to serve a Scotch Sling, Scotch Smash, or a Scotch Sour in? They got easy little illustrations AND they’ll give you a bit of history with it. Need to know a good “mocktail” for your non-alcoholic guests to drink? They got a list of fun drinks for you – Faux Bellinis all around!

An easy to find drink index breaks the art of mixing down by alphabetical order, category, liquor type, and special occasion without bombarding you with the strangely named modern drinks and shots you’ll find in many bar guides (not we usually have anything against those drinks, except when they end in -tini). Tips on how to layer drinks, common bartender measurements, and other handy how-tos bring you up to speed on the essentials of building a proper cocktail. A classy addition to your hip pad/house/rumpus room/home bar and you can find it for a steal and a half, much unlike most Williams-Sonoma products. My only criticism: they don’t include the Montmarte.

– Shanna

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