one hundred cocktails

drinking with a purpose

Off to the Races

17 Jan 2011

I am a collector. I have aspirations of being a completionist. My bookshelves full of unfinished novels give some hint as to how well I am doing thus far. I am ever searching for new hobbies and projects that will never be fully realized. Like many, I was inspired by efforts such as Carol Blymire’s French Laundry at Home. Taking a challenging cookbook and working through it cover to cover in a blog is innovative, but it’s a hell of an undertaking, too. I have several cookbooks ranging from interesting to mundane; I started getting some crazy ideas. The good news is that I realized that The Joy of Cooking has thousands of recipes before I started a project that was sure to end in failure.

I forgot about any such foolish notions until stumbling upon Tim Haigh’s Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails: From the Alamagoozlum to the Zombie 100 Rediscovered Recipes and the Stories Behind Them. I decided without knowing what I was getting myself into that I would drink my way through this book, creating each of the 100 cocktails of years past. Having been pleasantly surprised by a Sazerac at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, I thought there might be something to the cocktails contained within this book.

The book itself is interesting; it’s bound with a lay-flat ring binding, which is a godsend. It starts with a good introduction to the sport, and spends several pages ruminating over each cocktail. Every cocktail has a picture of the final product, and there are often pictures of vintage spirits or contextual anachronisms that make sense. It’s definitely an eclectic publishing style, and the typesetting and structure may provoke pretty strong reactions one way or the other. Whatever your opinion on the presentation, it’s a well-written treatise on cocktails, rather than just an assortment of recipes. It seems a good basis for my noble endeavor.

It also helps that I like to drink alcohol. Cheers!