A creative recipe collection featuring 365 days’ worth of history-themed cocktails.
Emmy Award–winning TV writer and producer Whitacre’s enthusiasm for cocktails is infectious as she encourages liquor store owners, armchair bartenders and house party hosts everywhere to “be inventive and imaginative and do it with enthusiasm and style.” Her volume’s bright, pastel-colored pages and sharp design inspire readers to dive right in and behold hundreds of cocktail recipes, from the whimsical and classically uncomplicated to the decadent and sophisticated—each inspired by a significant day in history. Encompassing sports, entertainment, food, music and business, many of these historical factoids are firsts: The first Rose Bowl, in 1902, inspires the book’s New Year’s Day drink, the “Rose Cocktail”; the first circus, in 1884 (“The Pink Elephant”); and the first drinking straw patent was granted in 1888, commemorated here by the “Sip & Go Naked,” a stiff combination of gin, lemonade, beer and water for two. Similarly, the “San Francisco Cocktail” combines sloe gin and two types of vermouth, memorializing the groundbreaking of the Golden Gate Bridge in 1933. Next to specialty drinks such as the “International Stinger” (combine amber-blended Metaxa and sweet Galliano) and decadent Christmas- and Honolulu-themed punches are more conventional recipes for cocktails—banana daiquiris (for the debut Tarzan comic strip in 1929), whiskey and beer boilermakers, and the simple “Mona Lisa,” which combines just two ingredients: vodka and lemon soda. Iconic performers make their marks with signature libations, as with Little Richard’s “Fru Fru,” George Burns’ “Smoky Martini,” Elvis Presley’s bourbon and chocolate-milk infused “Velvet Presley,” and John Wayne’s Cointreau sipper, “The Duke.” Major and minor holidays are duly commemorated with jubilant fanfare: Cherry Heering liqueur and peach schnapps brighten a Valentine’s Day glass full of “Cupid’s Cocktail,” and Halloween inspires a potent brew of tequila, crème de cassis and ginger ale in the “Diablo.” Recipes incorporating uncooked egg yolks or whites—as in the “Corn Popper Highball,” which serves 10—seem tailor-made for risky drinkers only. Readers need not be mixologists or booze connoisseurs; all that’s necessary is an aspirant interest in spirits, a well-stocked liquor cabinet, a shaker and a curiosity for world history.
Cheers to this bevy of spirited recipes brimming with history, which will keep cocktail fans cheerfully buzzed all year long.