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The Tropical Bar Book contains more than 150 tropical mixed drink recipes and over a dozen stories about drinking by such authors as Graham Greene, Malcolm Lowry, Jane Bowles and Ernst Hemingway. The book is also filled with historical anecdotes about rum, the Prohibition Era, and the European conquest of the Caribbean Islands, and plenty of useful advice about how to stock a bar and mix the perfect daiquiri. The color illustrations by Gunter Mattei add to the aesthetic appeal of this very interesting and unusual bar book.
My only criticism of this fine book is that the recipes are really intended for serious bartenders, serious entertainers and those in need of serious sedatives. Some of the recipes make very large quantities, such as the two recipes for Fish House Punch which yield nearly 10 liters. Even the single drink recipes turn out very potent drinks -- some of the daiquiri recipes call for a full 3 ounces of rum and cointreau. I find myself using the recipes as guides and cutting the liquors with larger proportions of fruit juice, water or syrups. Infrequent drinkers with small builds will not be able to handle more than about half a cocktail made from these recipes. The recipes are also quite elaborate, often calling for several different liquors. Glancing at the recipes on pages 90-91, of the six recipes, four call for 3 to 4 liquors and a fifth calls for five different liquors.
Overall, this book is a very enjoyable reading experience. It is as much a coffee table book or literary anthology as it is a book of cocktail recipes.
Publishers Weekly, 1989-05-26 Aficionados of rum drinks will relish this book, an unusual blend of historical sketches about rum, recommended basic necessities for the tropical bar, alcohol-inspired short stories and 152 recipes. Most of the last are based on rum, but a sprinkling of drinks using tequila, mescal or cachaca is included. Everyone will recognize a few of the 152 (all of which sound worth testing at least once)--but more are novel, collected from tiny, tin-roofed, palm-shaded tabernas on the Caribbean islands or invented by the author. The stories by Ernest Hemingway (``Daiquiris''), Jane Bowles (``Punch and Profit''), Malcolm Lowry and others, set in the tropics and peppered with bars and bordellos, are not necessarily these writers' best work; some are grim, rather at odds with a book implying the joys of a fruit-filled rum drink. But Mattei's full-color illustrations are provocatively lush, delicately mythic and pleasantly unsettling. (June)
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