Literate Bartender's Book Dec 26, 2009
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.