November 23, 2008

Artisanal Cocktails by Scott Beattie (Ten Speed Press, San Francisco; $24.95)

Scott Beattie, the bartender at Cyrus in Healdsburg, takes the cocktail renaissance in a new direction in Artisanal Cocktails. He’s as much a mad scientist as any molecular mixologist, but rather than probing the possibilities of lethicin granules and gelatin sheets, he’s obsessed with using what’s local. In Sonoma, that means citrus all winter; rhubarb in spring; berries and herbs all summer long and apples and grapes well through the fall. Even the spirits are local—Distillery 209 Gin, Domaine Charbay’s flavored vodkas, and Germain-Robin’s brandies play central roles. His drinks are as vibrantly flavored as they are visually stunning, with green ribbons of herbs clinging to ice cubes and shapely fruit and flower garnishes. They may be hard to replicate outside of Sonoma, but they should inspire like thinking wherever you are.

This review first appeared in Wine & Spirits Magazine.

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