Craft cocktail books are wonderful to flip through, but they invariably call for such obscure spirits that I rarely end up actually up making them. For the typical home mixologist, such concoctions rarely wind up as anything beyond aspirational.
Maggie Hoffman offers a solution of sorts in The One-Bottle Cocktail, a compendium of 83 drinks that can be made with just one bottle of booze. (And by and large, it’s a well-known bottle: vodka, gin, brandy, whiskey, etc.) No chocolate mole bitters. No imported vermouth. No fermented beaver cheese liqueur needed.
The catch is that in the absence of additional alcohol, you have to put something else in the glass in order to avoid being left with, say, a vodka on the rocks… which is a fine drink, but which doesn’t make for much of a book. And while Hoffman dispenses with those trendy bacon fat-washed bourbons and house-made smoke bitters, she makes up for it with rather complicated non-alcoholic ingredients. Among them you’ll find calls for Fresno chile, kiwi-cardamom syrup, ginger-berry kombucha, and even marshmallow cream. In other words, most of the drinks in this book will take some planning ahead in order to source the needed ingredients; it’s not a book to grab when you’re low on booze and find nothing in the fridge except mustard, hot sauce, and an old carton of eggs.
Nonetheless, there’s lots of fun stuff in the book — the many pictures look delightful — and I look forward to whipping up some of these drinks when the mood is right. That said, if I’m going to the store anyway to get these ingredients… well, I could probably pick up some vermouth along with the figs and tarragon, no?
B+ / $15 [BUY IT NOW FROM AMAZON]