Artisanal Cocktails: Drinks Inspired by the Seasons from the Bar at Cyrus

Scott Beattie, Author, Sara Remington, Photographer . Ten Speed $24.95 (150p) ISBN 978-1-58008-921-0

As cocktail culture becomes ever more popular, mixed drinks grow ever more refined and complex. Beattie, barmaster for Cyrus Restaurant in the Sonoma wine country, embraces this trend with 50 recipes that are rich in rare fruits, fresh herbs and dried spices. Pickled hearts of palm and a chili pepper spice up the rum drink called a Hot Indian Date, and edible flowers color several concoctions such as the Sunny and Dry, which calls for black-eyed Susan petals, spearmint leaves, cucumber and gin. Even the mainstay simple syrup gets the treatment. Anise, fennel seed, cinnamon, cloves and peppercorns are blended in to create Chinese five-spice syrup. As the subtitle suggests, the recipes are grouped by season. Theoretically, this is a fine approach, but Beattie is a pure Californian. His view of winter is that it's “gray and rainy” and that California is “blessed with so much wonderful citrus.” Such warm-weather mentality perhaps explains why the margarita is a winter drink, the mint julep forgoes Derby Day for summer, and soul-warming options like the Manhattan and hot buttered rum turn up in the spring and fall, respectively. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 10/06/2008
Release date: 11/01/2008
Genre: Nonfiction
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