August 03, 2013
Edible Cocktails by Natalie Bovis
Ok, I always try to make at least 10-20% of the recipes in a cookbook before reviewing, but I'd be a downright drunk if I tried to do that with this one. I just can't consume that much alcohol by myself. But I did get to try a few, and I thought this was an interesting book.
The book is split up into several different parts. There is an introduction and list of kitchen and bar tools and their uses, glasses, and the types of alcohol. Chapter 2 talks more about gardening and growing your own ingredients. Then we get into the chapters that actual deal with making the drinks, starting with a very large section on grapes and including grape based cocktails, sparkling cocktails and specialty sangrias. Out of this section I tried the Classic Champagne Cocktail and the majority of people with me who tried it enjoyed it. The bitters gave it a very unique taste.
Chapter 4 is syrups, shrubs, and other sorts of additives. There are actually recipes for jams in this section, although I prefer to use actual jam books for that sort of cooking (although there is a recipe for making your own pectin). The variety of syrups is endless though and there was a huge selection. I made the cherry-cinnamon and it was only slightly medicinal tasting but the taste was good and it had a nice thickness to it.
Chapter 5 is the odd one. This has all the infusions with ingredients like meat and eggs. I'm a sucker for Bacon so I made the Smoked Bacon-Washed Bourbon and the accompanying Bacon Cherry Creek Cocktail. By itself the bourbon had a slightly fatty flavor and the smoke was strong. When mixed into the cocktail I thought it was horrendous. My grandpa liked it though and thought it had a strong smoke flavor but was light on the cherry. If you're not into bacon there's recipes using prosciutto and chorizo too. Also in this chapter I tried out the Homemade Irish Cream. It did taste like the popular brands but was quite a bit stronger. I had to cut it with more than the usual amount of chocolate milk that I normally use.
Chapter 6 is the Mixers, Garnishes and Ice. This is where you find the salt and other such things. I didn't give anything a try, but they had a few interesting recipes like the Strawberry Pink Himalayan Salt rim. The last chapter, 7, is also one I didn't utilize but it just had a lot more drink recipes from margaritas to martinis.
I think this is definitely a book that would be more utilized by an experienced mixologist. As only a casual drinker that enjoys a wine cooler now and again, getting over the sticker shock for some of the prices and then the complicated mixings of the alcohol was a little much for me. But I appreciated all the fresh ingredients and the syrup mixes. Using some imagination, a lot of these ingredients could be put to use for non-alcoholic drinks too (there's a recipe for lemonade in the book that would be good to mix the syrups with).
The format is nice, with bright colorful pictures and the text was easy to read. While there was the introduction and beginning to let you know what some of the terms meant, it was still hard for a beginner though.
There's definitely a better audience for this book than me, but it was still well done. I can see a lot of people who enjoy their mixed drinks really loving this book and using it for all sorts of events.