Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Book Review- Mr. Boston: Official Bartenders Guide
I'd heard that Jim Meehan was working on a new and revised edition of the venerable Mr. Boston guide and to be honest, I was curious just how much the publisher would let him revise it. I own more copies of Mr. Boston than any other book (currently 31 copies ranging from really old to copies from the last few years. Hint- when purchasing a Christmas gift for a bartender, he might already own a copy or two of Mr. Boston), and while I never, ever crack them open, I still can't bear to part with any cocktail books so they sit high on an out of reach bookshelf, taking up space and needing a good dusting. I don't keep Mr. Boston behind the bar, and the last time I can remember using one to look up a drink was 1994 when I was wearing a bolo tie as I worked a Stuart Anderson's Black Angus Fun Bar. Whatever I made was clearly not what my customer was expecting and I felt pretty burned by the guide. Since then, I've always held a rather low opinion of the Mr. Boston guide and I tend not to reach for it when I have questions about a cocktail.
That all changed last night. I got home and found a copy on my front doorstep. Let me just say now that Jim Meehan should be congratulated on a job well done. Instead of adding a 32nd useless copy to my bookshelf, this new edition (I believe it hit bookstores yesterday) mixes classics with 200 modern classics from some of the top bartenders in the country (including Oregon's Kevin Ludwig, Kelley Swenson and Ryan Magarian). The book is beautifully photographed by Ben Fink, not something I was expecting, and there are some nice tips and hints scattered throughout the book from people like Dale DeGroff, Robert Hess and David Wondrich. This book is easy to use, dividing most of the drinks by base liquor, but also has sections on hot drinks, frozen drinks, eggnogs, punches and even wine in mixed drinks. This is a great reference now, and I was inspired to work on a couple of new cocktails after reading a few of the drinks contained inside of this volume.
At $14.95, this is a great reference and every bartender should own a copy of this book. It provides a concise reference for what the modern bartender needs while also offering up cocktails from the most creative minds in the business right now. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.