In "Shaken and Stirred," his biweekly Sunday Styles column, now an original book of his drinking adventures, the intrepid New York Times reporter offers a gimlet-eyed look at contemporary culture through the panoptic view of a cocktail glass. From the venerable martini to the young Dirty Jane, Hamilton shares his tip on the sip.
You hold in your hands a guide to "how it goes down." Not a cocktail manual or a Baedeker to the bar scene but a drinker's guide to drinking. These are four-ounce adventures of cocktails and the people who make them, from the bartenders and chefs to the patrons, the politicians and the power players of the liquor industry.
There are tales of the Champagne high life, the Long Island Iced Tea low life; men like Dr. Brown and his celery soda, and women like Eve and her Apple Martini. Hamilton's weekly Runyanesque rounds cover all the watering holes and their poisons, from the East Side's Southside to the Incredible Hulk in the Bronx, and monitors the latest trends, from the ultra-premium vodka wars to the Red Bull market. Shaken and Stirred is a report on a popular culture that comes alive after five, when the mood turns social and the moment is sweet (or sour, or bitter, or dry).
Hamilton has also picked up the best (or the most unbelievable) cocktail recipes from bars, lounges and restaurants in New York City and beyond. There is common sense and creativity in the classics, and new inventions with their eye on the prize, such as the Huckleberry Ginn and the Bleeding Heart."drink me," said the bottle in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Hamilton has, in every instance, and bottled his thoughts in sixty-four essays that are as readable as they are drinkable. Mix a gimlet, or a Minnesota Anti-Freeze, or a Gibson or a Bone. And spend a night in, on the town.
After decades of being seen as an old man's drink, whiskey is booming in popularity. Craft distilleries are popping up all over the United States, making whiskeys not just from corn, rye, and malted barley, but also from grains such as quinoa, blue corn, and triticale. Cocktail lovers, moving away from sweet and fruity flavor profiles, have embraced the earthy, bitter, savory notes that come from the “brown” spirits. In this collection, Shrubs author Michael Dietsch reaches out to those cocktail drinkers with recipes both classic and original, in historical order.
He begins with colonial-era drinks such as Cherry Bounce and the Stone Fence, moving to early whiskey drinks like the Toddy and Julep, and then into the cocktail explosion of the Jerry Thomas era circa 1880s. This leads to the drinks of pre-Prohibition, Prohibition, and post-Repeal, and then to a section on the cocktail renaissance of the last 15 years.
Author Michael Dietsch writes, "Whiskey is a spirit with a story," and he includes an overview and some history without losing sight of the pleasures in drinking the stuff. His cocktail recipes are also infused with stories, making this book a joy to both read and use.