We’ve got no shortage of cocktail recipe books around these parts. Cookbooks built around booze — that’s a rarity, and I guess it’s because book publishers just get queasy about the idea of using something other than wine in a recipe for fear of turning grandma off.
Kristy Gardner’s 100 recipes in Cooking with Cocktails are high-end items, separated by course starting with (foodless) cocktails, then moving on to appetizers, entrees, sides, and sweets. Many of the recipes run to 15-plus ingredients, but if you’re feeling more restrained you’ll find some that number under 10.
Lots of the stuff in this book looks really good — and the lush photography, featuring every recipe, is a huge plus. Am I going to make Bourbon-Soaked Cherries Tiramisu? You bet. Do I want Cuervo and Tecate Pork Carnitas? Yes indeed (though I will use a better tequila. Come on, Kristy). Lots of the recipes are spins on classics like Beef Bourginon, burgers, or steamed mussels, but Gardner brings enough to the table to make you want to follow her instructions verbatim.
Gardner is as sassy a writer as she is a chef — her first two instructions to the reader are “Read the Damn Recipe” and “Google That Shit” — so even just browsing Cooking with Cocktails is lots of fun. I of course suggest pouring yourself a stiff one before you even think about which recipe you’re going to cook, of course — and I think Gardner would agree. Give it a whirl.
A- / $20 / [BUY IT NOW FROM AMAZON]