The Wild Vine is a must read for any lover of American wine or what we like to call "weird varietals". Weird varietals are obscure wines that are often made from indiginous grapes or hybrids. In this case, The Wild Vine chronicles the birth, growth and near death experience of Norton, a grape that its author calls the most American of grapes. As you learn in the book, it's obscure, a hybrid and indiginous to the United States.
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Poptails was made for this scorching summer heat! If you are wondering what poptails are, they are essentially popsicles made with booze. Yum! We received this book a few weeks ago and hadn't gotten around to reviewing it. It's hard to be excited about poptails when San Francisco has barely broken 70 this summer. However, we were inspired by the Oxley poptails that we had at the 2012 Tales of the Cocktail. As you can imagine, July in New Orleans is scorching hot with humidity so thick that you can cut it with a knife. It makes me sweat just thinking about it. Luckily, every day at high noon, Oxley served poptails made with their delicious gin. I was inspired.
This week's book pick is Thoroughly Modern Milkshakes, an appropriate pick given the sweltering heat consuming most of the United States. I love milkshakes, actually, I really love malts, and was pretty excited to see this book show up. Thoroughly Modern Milkshakes covers everything from the basics, chocolate shake anyone, to the exotic, ever try a raspberry rose shake. We tried a few of the recipes and it is clear that Adam Ried, author of Thoroughly Modern Milkshakes, knows his stuff.
The first print of The Savoy Cocktail Book was written during the darkest hours of Prohibition by a barman that sought refuge at the famed American Bar in the Savoy Hotel in London. Like many great American barman, Harry Craddock was forced to flee his native land in order to ply his craft. Luckily for us, he headed off to the American Bar where he was the head barman from 1925 to 1939 and wrote this time honored cocktail book. For those in love with the current craft cocktail movement, this book can be your blueprint. For many years, it was the bartender's bible and served as an oasis in the American bartending movement, which has only now began to truly recover from Prohibition.
When The Rivers Ran Red examines the impact of Prohibition on California's wine country, particularly the famed Sonoma County. Vivienne Sosnowski spent many hours researching this little discussed topic, including hours of oral interviews with the few survivors of Prohibition, who were in their 90's by the time Ms. Sosnowsky interviewed them. I have to admit that this book made me see red when reading it. Living in San Francisco, we are in close proximity to the wine country, and I particularly love Sonoma Valley. I could only imagine the impact that Prohibition had on so many hard working Americans in the wine industry.
From the author of Bright Lights, Big City comes Bacchus & Me, Jay McInerney's exploration of the world of wine. A successful author and a connoisseur of fine wine, McInerney was approached to be the wine writer for Conde Nast's House & Garden. Today, McInerney is the wine columnist for the Wall Street Journal. Bacchus & Me is compilation of stories that he wrote while at House & Garden.
Mr. Burke was very particular and fastidious in his instructions. This trait shines through in his instructions from eating while drinking, whether those drinks are wine or cocktails, to the number of shakes or stirs to execute the perfect cocktail. According to Mr. Burke, cocktails should accompany appetizers and he provides a number of appetizer recipes. Interestingly enough, a number of these recipes call for anchovies, something that most Americans wouldn't touch with a ten foot poll in the 21st century but that are so delicious if you give them a try.
We recently received a copy of Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones by the folks behind Bi-Rite Creamy. OMG, I could barely contain my glee. Bi-Rite Creamery has the closest to perfect ice cream that I have ever tasted. And, take it from me, I am quite the connoisseur. I can't even think of one place that I have visited where I didn't sample the local wares. Seriously, if you get to San Francisco, make sure that the Bi-Rite Creamery is on your list of San Francisco landmarks. You will not be disappointed.
The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook did not disappoint. It was the perfect blend of Mad Men recaps paired with the booze and food consumed on the show with a shot of historical context on the side. It was like the Boilermaker of books. Kudos to the authors who must of watched hundreds of hours of Mad Men to nail down such details and researching the recipes. Also, since Mad Men has been off the air for so long, it also helped me remember the details of the past seasons.
Cooking My Way Back Home has an amazing array of recipes, all of which would make great accompaniments to booze, whether that be cocktails, wine or beer. It's the perfect food to serve at a boozy dinner party. Personally, those are my favorite kind. There is nothing better than spending an evening with friends around the table with platters of delicious food being passed and free flowing wine and cocktails. I can guarantee that the recipes in this book will not disappoint!
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