Robert Simonson didn’t just drink himself around the world for fun. In the new book A Proper Drink: The Untold Story of How a Band of Bartenders Saved the Civilized Drinking World, Simonson goes through the cocktail crazy of the early 2000’s and explains how an unlikely group of individuals created a revival in the cocktail drinking culture. The book covers everything from New York’s infamous Rainbow Room to quiet Austrian bars heard of by very few. He interviews individuals to find out how their drink recipes and dedication to proper ingredients and often unorthodox methods helped to create some of the most amazing drinking holes in the world.
I loved reading about the revival of the Speakeasy style bars like Milk and Honey, and the resurgence of Tiki Bars in places like Los Angeles and San Francisco. Some of the coolest parts of this book involve the recipes at the end of the chapters. Don’t look for a recipe for a Cosmopolitan or Appletini. These drinks require ingredients that you’re going to have a hard time finding at your local liquor store, unless it’s a BevMo or large liquor chain with an interest in unique ingredients. There is definitely a leaning toward whiskeys and less sweet drinks. I plan to try a few out, as I’ve never worked with bitters before.
A Proper Drink is a fun book to read, even if you have no experience in the bartending world. It gives a deeper look at restaurants, bars, and what it takes to keep one creative and afloat during challenging economic times.
A Proper Drink is now available from Ten Speed Press. It is best read with a drink (even a non-alcoholic one) in your hand.