cover image Bar Chef: Handcrafted Cocktails

Bar Chef: Handcrafted Cocktails

Christiaan Röllich and Carolynn Carreño. Norton, $35 (352p) ISBN 978-0-393-65156-0

In this inspired collection of 100 original craft cocktail recipes, Röllich thinks about and creates cocktails like a chef. Röllich, who runs the bar program for the Lucques restaurant group in L.A., pairs fanciful flavorings from syrups, tinctures, juices, and bitters with a wide variety of spirits. Especially fine are the fiery yet nuanced mezcal concoctions that include the Pistolero, a blend of mezcal, ginger honey, and chile de arbol. Noting that mixologists often frown upon vodka for its lack of flavor, Röllich solves the problem by creating infusions. Indeed, his signature drink, the Green Goddess, is a verdant mix of green tea, vodka, and cucumber and jalapeno juices, with a hint of absinthe. Gin, rum, whiskey, and brandy are also covered in depth, and there is a challenging chapter on creating homemade vermouths, liqueurs, and bitters. Röllich, along with coauthor Carreño (Forks over Knives: Flavor!), writes with the authority and straightforward style of a working bartender (“I make my own Campari or vermouth, but if you don’t feel up to it, you can absolutely use store-bought”). Additionally, there are origin stories and bottle recommendations for many types of liquor, and plenty of excellent photos. This refreshing collection is a must-have for those seeking a no-nonsense approach to making high-end drinks. (Apr.)