We can hardly believe that New Year's Eve is around the corner! If you are looking for great cocktail recipes and finger food, then this is the book for you. The New Old Bar is the latest book from Steve McDonagh and Dan Smith of the Hearty Boys (winners of the first Next Food Network Star) out of one of my favorite cities - Chicago! And, the recipes have Chicago written all over them.
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For any of you movie buffs, the 1976 battle between French wines and their upstart American counterparts entitled the "Judgment of Paris" was chronicled in the highly fictionalized movie Bottleshock. While Bottleshock was certainly entertaining and spotlighted the super cute Chris Pine, it didn't exactly stick to the story. If you are interested in how the tale actually unfolded, pick up George Tabor's Judgment of Pari
In The Billionaire's Vinegar, Benjamin Wallace investigates one of the largest, if not the largest, alleged frauds in the wine business. The Billionaire's Vinegar is a fascinating look into the world of high stakes, high priced wine. Loads of wine obsessed rich people looking to possess rare and elusive bottlings. You can see why this book is fascinating - it quickly caught my attention, and I was engrossed to the end.
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.
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.
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