Interesting cocktail books are a bit of a rarity in the world of drinks. Most books just rehash old recipes or publish cocktails that may be made in a high-end bar but that no home mixologist would ever attempt to recreate. Furthermore, few cocktail books give any background of the drinks themselves, something essential to being a great host. Knowing the history and back story of the drink you are serving at a party can create a topic of conversation among guests, but it also allows guests something memorable to take home even after your event is done.
With all of that in mind, Portland bartender David Cooper has created a short book called “Drink Primer” covering essential barware, 30 great recipes, and the stories behind the cocktails. Beautiful illustrations by the author add to the value of the book, and Cooper’s wry wit and natural charm imbue every page. While this book is a self-published cocktails guide, the recipes, writing and illustrations are truly first-rate, and it is clear that Cooper’s book has been a true labor of love for him.
What is really valuable about Cooper’s “Drink Primer” is that he cuts out the fluff. Too often, cocktail books will fill pages upon pages with obscure drinks like the Woo Woo (peach schnapps, vodka, and cranberry juice) rather than focusing on classic drinks and techniques. While Cooper’s “Drink Primer” won’t make someone a professional bartender, by learning and practicing these 30 drinks (or some number less), one will learn a number of the important skills essential to being a professional bartender and begin to get some insight into how professional drinks are constructed.
Cooper’s “Drink Primer” is a great addition to anyone’s cocktail bookshelf, whether home enthusiast or professional. It is a great addition to the world of cocktail books and the type of book that you’ll appreciate more the longer that you own it. Pick up a copy of the “Drink Primer” and you will begin to appreciate the time, dedication, and effort that were put into this cocktail book.
Disclosure: I received a sample of this book from David Cooper for review. No other compensation from David Cooper was received.