INTRODUCTION THE RULES
Every one of the eighty-three drinks in this book calls for just one bottle. That means the vodka in your freezer, or gin, agave spirits like tequila and mezcal, rum, pisco, Cognac, bourbon, rye, or Scotch.
None of these drinks require bitters, vermouth, or liqueurs.
There’s no amaro, no aperitif wine, no absinthe. Just one bottle of booze—which you might already have in your liquor cabinet or on your mantel—and ingredients you can find at your favorite grocery store. These drinks call on herbs and fruit, vegetables, spices, vinegars, honey, maple syrup, soda, and other common ingredients to build complex, unusual flavor profiles.
Cocktail historians might point out that the technical, “official” definition of a cocktail includes a base spirit, a sweetener, bitters, and water (usually of the chilly sort). So, I suppose, if we’re being very literal, these are drinks (or sometimes highballs or sours, fizzes or smashes) and not cocktails. But there are all sorts of things that can add a bitters-like experience (and depth of flavor) to a beverage: citrus pith, say, or tea, spicy cinnamon or ginger or black pepper, or the quinine that’s in your tonic water. I’m fine with calling these drinks by whatever name you want, as long as we both have something cool to sip while we argue about it.
To build this book, I reached out to some of the most creative bartenders in the Bay Area, where I live; in New York, where I started my drinks-writing career; and in Portland, where I was raised. I gathered and tested recipes from fantastic bar directors and drinks creators based in Chicago, Seattle, London, Boston, Los Angeles, Miami, and Minneapolis, among other cities. These industry stars are pros at balancing flavors and giving each drink that essential element of surprise.
Copyright © 2018 by Maggie Hoffman. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.