If you were one of those kids that used to avidly read the books called Choose Your Own Adventure, then do we have a Cocktail book for you.
Aimed squarely at home mixologists, with an insatiable curiosity for all things mixed spirits, the book Be Your Own Bartender takes an ‘Adventure’-style approach to what you’ll be drinking tonight.
The book goes through a series of questions – Feeling kinda Spritzy? (Who isn’t?) Will you put in a little effort? (Maybe …) Do you like smashing things? (Hell, yes … ) Like things a little fruity? (Darling, who doesn’t …?) And so on …
And from these simple questions, you can pick your own Cocktail adventure, as the book pin-points pretty closely a drink it thinks you’ll enjoy.
What Sort Of Mood Are You Setting?
The difference with this book is that while there are recipes, you get to them via flowcharts. Ideally, the flowcharts are intended to help mimic the bartender-guided experience you might get in a commercial bar.
In fact, the flowcharts allow you to work out what you want while making the process of flipping through a cocktail book with over 170 recipes feel much less daunting.
Embracing the idea that the journey should be as fun as the destination, the authors, Carey Jones and John McCarthy devised these chart, really a series of genius shortcuts, to help you pick the perfect drink.
Now you may not think flowcharts are fun (and if you’re used to looking OH&S flowcharts, we feel your pain) but when it comes to a what you should make for any boozy occasion, or even just what you should with a particular choice of booze itself, flowcharts do actually make it fun.
So whether you are looking at spirits or experiences, this is a book that allows you to choose the exact cocktail that you didn’t even know you wanted.
Can We Put A Tingle On Your Tongue?
While the book has its share of basic cocktail recipes, it’s also interspersed with more inventive options (some are twists on classic drinks, others were dreamed up by the co-authors) that have their very own flowchart called Cocktail Nerds.
Most of the cocktails though are fairly straight forward. This is not to say they’re not good or tasty, rather that they are just not overly complicated or needing to be garnished with an exotic flower that only blooms on the second full moon.
The simplest way for readers to start is by turning to their spirit of choice (there’s a vodka chapter, a rum chapter, etc.) and taking a stab. There, they’ll be tasked with working through a rather beautifully laid out chart that indicates the adventure is about to begin.
So, you want a Gin cocktail—really Ginny, or kinda Ginny? If only kinda Ginny, do you like fruity flavours or floral? Is this just for you, or for a party? And so on.
Or maybe you’d rather pick Whiskey at the start, you may find yourself faced with a recipe for a “Lemon-Mint Buck” (rye, ginger ale, and lemon juice shaken with muddled strawberry, cucumber, and basil), or a “Kick the Safe” (Jack Daniels, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, Angostura bitters, and hard cider).
I’m imagining a drink that’s …?
While other cocktail books may seem to offer drinks that always have that one ingredient that is hard to find, impossible to make or just way too much trouble, Jones and McCarthy wanted their cocktail book to feel approachable.
In other words, they wanted to provide their readers with a fun (and actually functional) roadmap to drinks that you are actually going to enjoy. This book aims to combine fun with an interactive experience that allows you to really find what you want.
While Be Your On Bartender may not have as much murder and mayhem as that childhood favourite, Choose Your Own Adventure, there’s still enough happening to make both the novice and the expert Cocktail connoisseur love the adventure it provides.
So, Rum? Feel like breaking a trade embargo? Do you like Cocktails that bites back? Personally, I think we could have some fun with this …