A very interesting book full of knowledge and the most lovingly obsessive list/classification system we have ever seen.
Title : 901 Very Good Cocktails
Subtitle : A Practical Guide
Author : Stew Ellington
Publisher: Self Published
Binding: Hardcover with Wire Binding Ilus., 234 pages
Notes: A rather large format cocktail recipe book ( almost a folio size) but with an important difference from all those coffee table sized cocktail recipes books – you can actually use this one. Under its hardcover binding is a double wire binding so you can actually la the book open or flat and it stays open so you can actually read and use the recipes inside and have both hands free.This coupled with the high contrast, easy to read type, and excellent cocktail selection makes it an invaluable and well thought book for actually using and it’s usability. It’s well made, workmanlike,yet artful with a no nonsense in construction and content – except when he is being purposefully amusing or entertaining ,rather than pretentious or assuming you have unlimited money and space to indulge your habits as many books seem to be.
The book starts off with some good common sense advice and guidance on equipment, supplies, techniques, and sensible brand recommendations that won’t bankrupt you. 901 Very Good Cocktails then proceeds to the indices followed by an alphabetical listing of all the cocktails with some good, large sized pictures of what some of the drinks should look like ( always helpful in my mind) While the photos are not cocktail porn quality in terms of reproduction, they are accurate, colorful, and look good. It also has an entertaining selection of reproductions of engravings from antiquarian sources to make it more visually interesting. Remember this is a working book not an art coffee table book – and is reflected in the very modest price for the overall value you get from this excellent book. If it was too fancy you would leave it on a shelf out of harms way and not enjoy it nearly as much.
Another interesting and amusing point about this book is its 68 lists or indexes that break down the 901 cocktails in just about every possible criteria from the subjective to the sublime and many shades in between which add to the enjoyment of the book and no small amount of self reflection while selecting a cocktail – which is usually if not always, is a good thing.
Final Thoughts: A well thought out and practical from any number of possible ways. From the lay flat wire binding, large type, indexes, etc., and the large amount of well chosen cocktails make this book a great addition to your cocktail library and behind any bar.