Cocktail Hacker

    Hack What You Drink

Review – The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Bartending

Posted by Reese on 2011-12-26 @ 07:20pm

Today’s post is from my girlfriend and Cocktail Hacktress in training, Elisabeth.  She was excited to tackle this book as it’s a good intro to bartending and cocktail making in general.

Let’s face it– Reese is far from an amateur when it comes to mixing drinks.  So when “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Bartending, Second Edition” was delivered to his house, it got passed to me.  I have learned a few things about cocktails over the past few months dating The Hacker, but took the time to refine my skills a little with some hands-on time.

Marie Antoinette

Perhaps most pleasing about this book is that you don’t feel like an idiot when you read it.  Your first few chapters provide you the basics on everything you need to know to bartend like a champion.  There are brief introductions to the major types of liquor which are informative and brief.  There are a few quick recipes for basic ingredients like simple syrup, followed by a list of “must haves” for your home bar.  After a quick review of my own liquor cabinet, it became abundantly clear that I am not well stocked.  The “basics” however are fairly easy to obtain and even I can find decent vodka or white rum at the liquor store (hint: it is not the $4.99 special).  If your stash has a few more bottles than mine, there are two more extensive lists that you can use to fill out your bar, should this be your goal.  I found this section particularly useful because it will help anyone buy appropriate liquors depending on how serious they are about bartending.  If I wasn’t dating Reese (who is more than happy to fill out my stash when necessary), I would definitely stock up to cover the basics.

Finally, Reese and I perused the recipe sections.  These are grouped by liquor type (which I find to be useful with a limited bar).  All recipes I consider to be staples are covered in the book—these are the ones we all know enough about to order at a bar.  There are also some you probably don’t order, giving you many options for mixing up something delicious for friends and families.  Reese appreciates that the recipes use real juices versus something like sour mix.  Most of the classic cocktails are recipes he would mix up and are sized appropriately for his taste.

Overall, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Bartending is a good, complete intro to bartending.  If you got a cocktail shaker from Santa, you’ll definitely want to buy this book.


† The product reviewed here was provided to me as a free sample. If you’re wondering what that means check out my sample policy.