Book review: Signature Cocktails by Amanda Schuster

This is a beautiful, art-deco tome that puts me into a cocktail mood just by holding it in my hand. The red and black cover embossed in gold. The heavy, luxurious paper stock. The superb photography on every spread. It really does a lot to draw you in and, once you’re ensnared, Schuster’s writing more than follows up on the promises this book-as-object whispered into your ear about having a good time together.

The deal is that each of the 200 cocktails featured is somehow iconic by virtue of its links to a time, a person or a place — that could be the bar where it was created, the city or the country. It covers about 500 years of bibulous history, and each entry has a handy quick-reference that shows where and when it was invented, who first made it, what its main spirit is and what glass to serve it in.

This book a great book to enjoy with a glass in your hand. The recipes are clear and easy to follow, plus there’s Schusters take on each one — nothing too heavy, just a few paragraphs to give a bit of extra depth and context. I always think knowing a bit about your drink is a great way to enhance your enjoyment of it. Schuster has been writing about drinks (as well as food and travel) for two decades now, and her knowledge really shines through.

Signature Cocktails by Amanda Schuster is published by Phaidon.

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