Just a Bunch of Drinks

Over the years cocktails with a lot of drinks have been popular. Sort of compendiums of the state of the cocktail art, as it were. The first of these may have been “The Savoy Cocktail Book.” Other big ones include the various Mr. Boston Guides, Cocktail Bill Boothby’s “World Drinks and How to Mix Them,” and one of the most influential modern drink bibles, “Jones’ Complete Bar Guide.”

They tend to be long on recipes, but short on instructions, details, or information.

In his annually published DiffordsGuides to Cocktails, Simon Difford has been a bit different. He usually has a good section on methods, pictures for each cocktail, origin details for many cocktails, and little articles about featured cocktails. He also has an exceptional index of ingredients and recipes which include them. Not to mention a short list of some of the world’s best bars.

Now up to DiffordsGuide # 7, in many bars these annually released books have become the go to guides for young bartenders, especially those of the European persuasion.

In number of recipes, DiffordsGuide #7 does not let us down. Including over 2250 drink recipes, you’re not going to run dry any time soon.

One of the nicest things about Difford’s Guides is that they not only include drinks from American bartenders, but also from Europe and the world. It includes relatively recent cocktails from San Franciscans Jacques Bezuidenhout and Dominic Venegas, along with many of the leading lights of modern Europe’s bar scene.

I find it interesting that, as in all Mr. Difford’s books, there are rather a lot of very sweet sounding cocktails and many layered shots, (or “Shotails” as Mr. Difford likes to call them.)  I’m not sure if this is a difference between West Coast and European taste, or just Mr. Difford’s preference.

Still there are enough interesting old and new classics in Difford’s Guide #7 to keep any person entertained for, well, the rest of their life.  Certainly no cocktail enthusiast would complain if they found one under their Christmas, (or Valentine’s Day,) tree.

Full disclosure: When I read on the Spirits Review Blog that a new Difford’s Guide had been released, I sent a note to Christopher Carlsson asking how he had got his sweaty little hands on a copy. He suggested I contact them. I did, and they were kind enough to send a copy for review.