Cocktail book review: Bourbon Bartender: 50 Cocktails to Celebrate the American Spirit by Jane Danger, Alla Lapushchik
So, what exactly is bourbon? Bourbon is whiskey produced in the USA that is made from fermented mash of 51% corn, with 80% alcohol by volume (160 proof), stored at not more than 62.5% alcohol by volume (125 proof) in charred new oak containers.
“It’s robust sweetness and underlying bit support a body of invigorating spice, tangy citrus, and energizing bitterness. It’s big bold notes of vanilla, cinnamon and stone fruits eagerly romp with other ingredients. It likes nothing more than to tumble into a glass with a few mixers.”- Clay Risen
Bourbon is the perfect companion for cocktails, whether it be a Southern classic such as the Julep (mint leaves, bourbon, demerara syrup), a Silver Whiskey Sour (bourbon, demerara syrup, lemon juice, orange juice and egg white) or a New York Sour (bourbon, simple syrup, lemon juice and a red wine float made with dry red wine). Being a child of the 80s, I couldn’t help but love the cocktail Guns N Rose (bourbon, apricot brandy, lime juice, orange juice, sparkling rose), which is the ultimate summer cocktail with a kick.
For those who like their cocktails hot, why not give the Minnesota Breakfast a whirl? Given it’s my home state, I’ll certainly be trying this cocktail made with bacon bourbon (yes, that’s a thing), spiced rum, Benedictine, maple syrup (another favourite ingredient), hot water, butter and cinnamon. If that doesn’t warm your cockles, I don’t know what will!
The book has gorgeous cocktail photos throughout alongside fun facts and quotes. I particularly enjoyed these cracking quotes:
Hollywood legend Ava Gardener – “I wish to live to 150 years old, but the day I die, I wish it to be with a cigarette in one hand and a glass of whiskey in the other.” A pretty decent philosophy in my estimation, with the exception of the cigarette.
Comic W.C. Fields – “Once during Prohibition I was forced to live for days on nothing but food and water.” We can sympathise.
We also liked that the book included recommendations for where to find the best bourbon bars in the States. I’ll be sure to visit the Butcher & the Boar the next time I’m in Minneapolis but sadly, I’ve just missed out on the Whiskey on Ice Festival, which was held in Bloomington, Minnesota on the 21 April.
With a wealth of innovative bourbon recipes, some classic and some new, it’s a must-read book for any bourbon lover.
Bourbon Bartender: 50 Cocktails to Celebrate the American Spirt by Jane Danger, Alla Lapushchik foreword by Clay Risen is published by Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. Available online and at all good bookshops or at Amazon.co.uk for £16.99 (hardcover).
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