cover image Signature Cocktails

Signature Cocktails

Amanda Schuster. Phaidon, $39.95 (432p) ISBN 978-1-83866-755-9

Schuster (New York Cocktails) brings together an elegant and comprehensive collection of 200 cocktails that “stand the test of time.” Presented in chronological order and enriched with engaging anecdotes and backstories, each recipe lists year and place of origin (including the bar where the drink was born), inventor, type of alcohol, and type of glassware. The headnotes are fascinating—the Atholl brose dates to 1475 Scotland, when the Earl of Atholl supposedly laced well water with alcohol to ward off attackers by getting them drunk. In the 1850s, legendary New York City bartender Jerry Thomas was the first to record a recipe for the blue blazer, a flaming hot toddy that he passed between two cups “in a long, perfect, blazing arc.” Some drinks are representative of place (for instance the rum daiquiri and Cuba), while others speak to a person or, in the case of the spiced port drink known as a smoking bishop, a work of literature: it was popularized after Charles Dickens included a reference to it in A Christmas Carol. The timeline runs up to the present day, with recent options like the white negroni invented in 2001 Bordeaux and a saffron-inflected gin sour created in 2008 Seattle. Capping things off is the Phaidon 100, a gin cocktail incorporating balsamic vinegar and garnished with white chocolate, which was created in 2023 to mark the centennial of the publisher. These bright, attractive cocktails are sure to wow any aspiring mixologist. (Oct.)