Book Review: Cowboy Cocktails: 60 Recipes Inspired by the American West

Book Review: Cowboy Cocktails: 60 Recipes Inspired by the American West

It’s been over a month since his last one, so another book from Andre Darlington is long past overdue. Today we discuss one of two books scheduled to be published by The James Patterson of Cocktails during the first half of 2024. We affix our gaze to the Wild West, to ask the question: what would be served in the saloons of yesteryear if the tools of today were at a saloon keep’s disposal?

By now, devotees of Darlington’s books will know the drill: pick a theme, include a generous number of recipes (this time the magic number is 60), add some easy snack recipes, flourish with well-composed photography, and top with a generous serving of light-hearted history and trivia. Newcomers will also find the suggested tools, glossary, techniques, and tips useful, especially if this is their first attempt at making cocktails. Most of these recipes are variations on classics with a Darlington twist added in some way, but they are creative enough that even advanced home mixologists will find something of use along the way.

Much to his credit, Darlington’s system of “compendium plus theme” works well and gets the job done. His books are accessible and largely free of pretense. The ingredient lists are simple and require very little of the acrobatics found in some of the more recent cocktail books where complexity is the order of the day. My only hope is that somewhere down the line he elects to pursue a theme a bit more off the beaten path. Perhaps a book on Dadaist cocktails, the mid-1980s New York Mets, or a salute to the adherents of Mankind United. Darlington, as usual, gets the job done and this one would be a solid selection as a gift for fathers Father’s Day or for the cocktail novice in need of inspiration. It would also prove most useful if one is hosting a viewing party celebrating the films of John Ford, or Blazing Saddles. Or both, as one does.


Cowboy Cocktails: 60 Recipes Inspired by the American West




Rob Theakston is a contributing editor to Drinkhacker.

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