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June 23, 2015

The Essential Bar Book

Celia Sin-Tien Cheng

“The Essential Bar Book” by Jennifer Fiedler covers 115 cocktail recipes. Though there are no photos for reference, I appreciate her no-nonsense approach, which comprises both a comprehensive overview of classic cocktails and historical references where appropriate. Each entry is short and sweet, making the book perfect to use as a cocktail dictionary. Furthermore, once you get the hang of making drinks and know your own preferences, it’s easy to build upon and modify the recipes. For example, I prefer my gimlets less sweet, so I use less simple syrup. The book itself is small enough to keep at hand, making it an excellent choice for everyday reference to expand your knowledge of the art of mixology.

I set out to re-create my mother’s favorite cocktail, the brandy Alexander. I didn’t have crème de cacao, and when I stopped in Black Label Wines to buy it, they recommended I substitute Kings County Distillery’s chocolate “flavored” whiskey. It turned out to be an excellent suggestion, as the chocolate notes added a new dimension to this classic drink.

Check out my brandy Alexander recipe.

Celia's Brandy Alexander

Celia's Brandy Alexander

Jennifer Fiedler

Serves 1
  • 1 oz brandy or cognac
  • 1 oz King’s County Distillery’s chocolate “flavored” whiskey
  • 1 oz pure maple syrup
  • 1 oz heavy cream
  • a dash of ground nutmeg

Place first four ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake. Strain into a cocktail or martini glass, add a dash of nutmeg and serve.