Book Review: The Cocktail Cabinet

Book Review: The Cocktail Cabinet

Aimed at the beginning or aspirational mixologist who can sort of craft an Old Fashioned or G&T, Zoe Burgess’ The Cocktail Cabinet offers up a comprehensive orientation to some of the most fundamental cocktails, plus with a few refreshing twists along the way.

Burgess takes time, about a fourth of the book, to explain the techniques, ingredients, and terminology used for the remainder of the chapters and does so in a relaxed, informal tone so as to never read as patronizing or pandering to the newcomers. The remainder of the book is dedicated to over 80 recipes organized by profile (Champagne, bitter, sour, etc.) with details so simple it’s hard to stray into poorly executed territory. Many of the recipes steer towards generic names (i.e.: “bourbon” versus “2016 George T. Stagg,” “rum” versus “Hampden 2011 OB Habitation Velier”) and ingredients to provide ease of accessibility and minimize discouragement or abandonment. Unless the reader feels compelled to get highly specific and creative, there is no need to special order anything from the international supermarket down the street.

Stylish, minimal design is the name of the game here, with highly usable color keys and lovely infographics at the bottom of each page detailing the necessary ingredients for each cocktail. There are also vague, color-coded proportions presented in heatmap style in case there is a desire to ignore directions, cut to the chase, and improve fill levels based on intuition. This is not advised unless you are already a seasoned veteran, as things can get out whack easily if not careful. Really, there’s no need to skip the full experience when there’s so much knowledge to be gleaned from such delightful source material.

240 pages. Available starting September 2022.


The Cocktail Cabinet




Rob Theakston is a contributing editor to Drinkhacker.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.