November 23, 2008

The Essential Cocktail by Dale Degroff (Clarkson Potter, NY; $35)

Dale Degroff is legendary in bartender circles, the guy who kicked off the modern-day cocktail renaissance when he started mixing drinks at The Rainbow Room in 1985. He drafted one of the first cocktail menus, based on recipes mined from old cocktail books made exclusively with fresh-squeezed juices and homemade syrups. As he tells it, the effort nearly killed him and everyone else behind the bar, but it also made him a star. Here, he offers 100 of his favorite cocktails with detailed mixing instructions, as well as stories that make reading it nearly as entertaining as sitting across from the bar from him.

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