May 26, 2012

Recipe: Review: Edible Cocktails – From Garden to Glass

Author: Chris Perrin

Edible Cocktails – From Garden to Glass

So, I was lucky enough to receive an copy of  Natalie Bovis’ (aka The Liquid Muse aka the person responsible for getting me into blogging) new cookbook Edible Cocktails: From Garden to Glass – Seasonal Cocktails with a Fresh Twist and am I impressed.  I’m not much of a mixologist, in fact most of my at-home mixed drink making involves a one second pour of vokda or gin and filling my glass with soda, but I know a good cookbook when I see one.

And when I see Edible Cocktails, I see one.

What’s the Book About?

The premise behind Edible Cocktails is simple: take everything that’s great about farm-to-table dining and apply it to mixology.  Organic produce, Slow Food (er Cocktails), growing your own ingredients, it’s all in there, but for cocktails.

It’s not something I had thought of, but it makes so much sense.  If I want only the best, freshest, most-carefully-raised produce in my dinner, why not in my drinks as well?  If I care about the tomatoes that go into my marinara, why not the tomatoes in my bloody mary?  If I care about the herbs on my roast chicken, why am I not striving for the same in my mojito?

To make this vision reality, Edible Cocktails gives you a wealth of information about what you can grow at home, basics on how to grow them, and a full rundown of the different types of liquor and tools you will use to make excellent drinks.

Oh, and there are recipes.  Lots of recipes!  They range from classic martinis to sours to pizza slice cocktails to bacon cherry creek cocktails…and that’s just the drink recipes.  There are syrup recipes, mezcal recipes (chorizo mezcal anyone???), garnishes, and instructions on making your own liqueurs, like homemade Irish cream–all of which keep the focus on farm to table cooking and mixing.  That’s pretty sweet.

Fun Fact(s) I Learned Reading It

One, whisky and whiskey are both proper spellings of the hard alcohol.  However, whisky applies mainly to Scotch and whiskey to everything else, including American bourbon.

Two, a cocktail and a mixed drink are not the same thing.  Cocktails only refer to a subset of mixed drinks!  This means Americans have been using the term wrong (including me in the paragraphs above… d’oh!)

What’s Well Done

Edible Cocktails is filled with information, but it’s not a textbook.  The photos are gorgeous and the layout makes absorbing all of Natalie’s information easy.  It never feels like this book is an info dump.  It’s more like a conversation with a good friend who just happens to know how to mix a fantastic drink.

What’s A Little Rare

No pun intended, but I wish there had been more conversation around using meat and raw eggs in cocktails.

I have this feeling that Natalie is perfectly fine drinking an infused liquor that has had meat in it or a drink with a raw egg, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that a lot of American audiences (myself included) are not.  We need to be warmed on the subject, given reassurances, and given more tips on how to avoid foodbourne illness.

Overall

With that said, this is a great cookbook.  Edible Cocktails is very clever idea whose time has come and who better to help us through it than bar industry veteran, multiple mixology cookbook writer, and long time cocktail blogger Natalie Bovis?

Enjoy!

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2 Responses to “Review: Edible Cocktails – From Garden to Glass”

  1. Natalie Bovis Says:

    Hi Chris,

    Thank you for such a lively and well-thought-out review. I’m so happy you enjoyed the book. And, that’s an interesting point about addressing people’s concerns regarding meat and eggs. It’s something I will make a point of touching upon in my upcoming classes. (basically, farm-fresh, hormone-free, and organic applies here, as well, to ensure the freshest, safest, healthiest result… There has been some dispute regarding pasteurized eggs in drinks – but perhaps that’s a whole new conversation.)

    Many thanks – and cheers! Great blog.

    Natalie

  2. Chris Perrin Says:

    Hey Natalie,

    Thanks! That means a lot!

    With the meat and eggs, I think we’re conditioned to think that meat sitting, even if it’s infusing in alcohol, is a bad thing (for instance your chorizo mezcal) and the fact that undercooked eggs have caused foodbourne illness (though honestly, I can’t help but wonder how much of that is sensationalism.) I know you can educate us into confidence about meat infused liquor and eggs in drinks, but for what it’s worth, my word of caution is that of the studies I’ve seen, farm fresh, organic, etc. meat tests just as high for things like bacteria as factory farmed. Or in some cases higher because of the lack of antibiotics.

    Or, if I’m being glib, chicken’s poop. Even organic chickens. :)

    I’m not sure if I’m just a case of knowing just enough to be dangerous, but I would assume there are others like me. Maybe?

    I hope it helps. It’s still a great book and I was thrilled to be able to review it…even if it took me longer than I would have liked. :)

    Chris

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