Archive for the ‘Bartender Books’ Category

A Very Important Book

Thursday, November 30th, 2017

Robert Simonson’s book, 3-Ingredient Cocktails, is one of the World’s Most Important New Cocktail Books.

Let me explain

I frequently witness bartenders today make incredible new cocktails using accents, mists, foams, dashes,and a tapestry of ingredients that, when they come together in harmony, show artistry and a deep understanding of the craft of mixology.

Yet many bartenders today forget that not all masterpieces call for a patchwork quilt to display their mastery.  Often, just three ingredients do the trick. And these, when it comes down to it, are usually my favorite tipples.

At a recent Cocktails in the Country Retreat in the Hudson Valley, as the bartenders were busy creating some new drinks, I wandered behind the bar and made myself a 3-ingredient cocktail–don’t ask what was in it, I often just see if “these 3” ingredients work well together, and I vary ingredients every time.  A very accomplished Manhattan bartender asked for a sip of my drink, then asked what was in it. I told her which 3 ingredients I’d used to make the drink, and she looked puzzled, “But it’s so complex,” she said. That one remark set off an alarm in my head. Something must be done, I thought.  Well Robert Simonson just did it.

It’s very important, I believe, that this classic style of cocktail is taught to all bartenders new to the craft, and it’s just as important that accomplished mixologists remind themselves on a regular basis just how vital it is to grasp how these cocktails, so seemingly simple in structure, become so very complex when the ingredients meet in harmony.

Robert has assembled the best of the bunch of 3-ingredient cocktails in this tome, and as usual, he’s done it with style.  If you’re lucky, someone will think enough of you to buy you a copy of this book over the December Holidays. If not, get yer hand in yer pocket and buy it for your own self.

Buy 3-Ingredient Cocktails HERE.

Buy A Proper Drink: The Untold Story of How a Band of Bartenders Saved the Civilized Drinking World HERE

And find other great works by Robert Simonson HERE

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Jim Meehan’s Bartender Manual

Wednesday, October 4th, 2017

This book just landed on my doorstep, including the luverly little note that Jim wrote  Thanks so much, Jim.

Here’s a pic of Jim at Cocktails in the Country 10 years ago

I haven’t read this book yet, but I’ve done a great deal of skimming through it’s pages, and, as expected, I’m thinking that this is the definitive guide for bartenders in the 21st Century.

Jim’s the Ultimate Wise Guy in the Cocktailian World.

I’ve done a lot of thinking about this, and I think I’m right in predicting ing that, 100 years from now, when bartenders look to the past, the names they’ll cite as their main influencers will be Jerry Thomas, Harry Johnson, David Embury, and JIM MEEHAN

You Done Good, Kid!

Buy the Book HERE

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Bartenders’ Bookshelf

Wednesday, August 9th, 2017

A few new books have come my way recently, so here’s a look at the tomes that strike me as being well worth the price of admission.

B.A.S.T.A.R.D.S. by Brian F. Rea   

(Bars And Saloons, Taverns And Random Drink Stories)

A 175 page, 150+ images entertaining, funny irreverent memoir from the loungasaurus of the bar/drink trade. Stories of strange bartenders (Draino, Suck ‘em up Sam, Drink Magician Jason, etc.), weird cocktails, latrine bars, authors DUI on a bicycle, bar staff and customer complaints about each other, and church and bar similarities. Plus the testicle festival, classic cocktails and variations, dark ages of bartending, hangover helpers (good and God awful), Forbidden Fruit/Chambord and chastity belts, and Cock-Ale (the beginning of mixed drinks). Followed by whine tales, Stink to Drink (authors entry to the bar/drink trade), brief drink book reviews, Shampain, Mickey Finns, etc., as well as bar/drink cartoons, images and stories, together with interesting historical aspects, and observations of drink and drinking establishments. And….this is just Volume I!. You should be 21 (LDA) to read this book.



Spirit of the Cane

Nine years after they first published their first history of Cuban rum, authors Anistatia Miller and Jared Brown have finished scouring libraries, archives, and databases gleaning as much of the truth about the origins of Cuban rum. Their findings include some rather eye-opening discoveries about the contributions made by Spanish, French, British, and Dutch sources that positioned this seductive spirit ahead of other Caribbean spirits by seeking and adapting new technologies and techniques to its production which is appreciated around the globe.



The Cocktail Competition Handbook

So you want to win a global cocktail championship or for that matter even a local one. Whether you‘re a first-timer or a grizzled veteran of the cocktail competition circuit, it never hurts to hone your skills to a sharp edge thanks to the tips and tricks in The Cocktail Competition Handbook by Andy Ives. Editor of the BarLifeUK website and an active competition judge, Ives offers up sound advice selecting the right competition to enter, creating a drink, devising a presentation, and then delivering it to a judging panel.



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Complete List of Books by Gary “gaz” Regan

Saturday, May 21st, 2016

1991 : The Bartender’s Bible

1995 : The Book of Bourbon and Other Fine American Whiskeys (with Mardee Haidin Regan)

1998 : The Martini: A Postcard Book (with Mardee Haidin Regan)

1998 : The Bourbon Companion (with Mardee Haidin Regan)

1999 : The Martini Companion (with Mardee Haidin Regan)

2002 : New Classic Cocktails (with Mardee Haidin Regan)

2003 : The Joy of Mixology

2009 : The Bartender’s GIN Compendium

2010 : The Cocktailian Chronicles: The Professor Years, Volume 1,

2011 : gaz regan’s annual manual for bartenders 2011

2012 : gaz regan’s annual manual for bartenders 2012

2012 : gaz regan’s 101 Best new Cocktails 2012

2013 : gaz regan’s annual manual for bartenders 2013

2013 : The Negroni: A gaz regan Notion

2014 : gaz regan’s 101 Best New Cocktails, Volume III

2015 : gaz regan’s 101 Best New Cocktails, Volume IV

2015 : The Negroni: Drinking to La Dolce Vita

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The Negroni: Drinking to La Dolce Vita, with Recipes and Lore

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

Rega_Negroni - Copy

This reminds me of the time when I had to buy cassettes to replace my vinyl collection, and shortly thereafter, I had to buy all the albums again on CDs.  You bought the first edition of my Negroni book?  Thanks.  Now get your hand in your pocket and buy this brand new, fabulously illustrated, completely re-edited book, issued by the wonderful folk at Ten-Speed Press.

You won’t find my signature finger-stirred Negroni in this book, but I think you can figure out for yourselves how to fix one of those babies.  As to why I stir Negronis with my finger, well, I must tell you that I do have a very good reason for this.  But now’s neither the time nor the place, so I’ll leave you with an excerpt from this new edition of my Negroni book, plus some links so you can buy the darned thing and help me buy that small cafe in Cognac, France, where the finger-stirred Negroni was born.  Perhaps you’d like to buy a few extra copies for your friends?

Ta Muchly!

with lotsa love from gaz regan sig - Copy (2)







Excerpt follows these links.  Promise.











Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.


The crowning glory of Campari-based mixed drinks must be the Negroni. Made with equal parts gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari, the Negroni is traditionally served on the rocks with a slice of orange. So, at what point in a meal do I order my Negroni? Whenever I darned well feel like it. That’s when. Sometimes it serves as my digestivo, sometimes it’s my apéritif, and sometimes I order a Negroni when I have no plans to dine at all. It’s a robust cocktail that’s not as strong as, say, a martini, but it lets you know that you’ve had something substantial to drink.  —Gary Regan

It may seem odd to start this book with an epigraph written by . . . me.

The quotation above is from a piece I wrote for Los Angeles magazine in September 2001. Yes, you read that right, 2001—well before the craft cocktail craze, let alone the Negroni craze, that is currently sweeping the country was in full swing. The title of my article was “Italian Sophistication: Bitter Is Better,” and I feel even more strongly about that assertion now than I did nearly fifteen years ago.
I honestly don’t remember my first Negroni, but I know that the Milanese theory that one must drink Campari three times before starting to like it certainly never applied to me. Campari was a love-at-first-sip sort of thing for me. I’ve a passion for all things bitter—save for the odd ex-girlfriend.

The incredible aspect of the Negroni that not everyone understands—or agrees with—is that it works every time, no matter what brand of gin or sweet vermouth you use. And you can slap my wrist and call me Deborah if it doesn’t also work no matter what ratios you use.
Seriously, try it. Go up on the gin, the Campari, or the vermouth. These three ingredients are soul mates, and they support each other no matter how you try to fool them.

Personally, I go for a long-on-the-gin Negroni, and when I build them at home, which is very frequently, especially during the warmer months, I tend toward around four parts gin to one part each of sweet vermouth and Campari. I came up with this formula in 1999 for the very first issue of my Ardent Spirits email newsletter, which was published in February, just in time for Valentine’s Day. Originally I called the drink the Valentino, but I soon gave that up. It’s just a damned strong Negroni—the way I like ’em.

There are people who will argue that unless the drink is made with equal parts of the trinity that tumbles into the glass and unifies as a Negroni, it cannot be called a Negroni. I’ll fight to the death for their right to say that, but they’re wrong.

First, I need to point out that there is no regulatory board governing the names of drinks. And next, I should say that I believe we’d do ourselves a service by looking toward the world of food for guidance in this matter. After all, both chefs and bartenders are in the business of following or creating recipes, right?

If a chef makes a béarnaise sauce, do you think he or she first finds out how Jules Colette, the chef who created the sauce Paris in the 1800s, made his béarnaise? No, of course not. And neither do chefs go running to the library to find out the exact recipe for lobster thermidor as it was prepared at Marie’s, the restaurant where the dish originated—again in Paris—to honor Victorien Sardou’s play Thermidor.

I think it’s important, whenever possible, to find out how specific cocktails were originally made. And in the case of the Negroni, we’re lucky to have the 1:1:1 formula as a template. But each and every bartender out there, I think, enjoys putting his or her own twist on all of the classics, so let’s not get bogged down in minutiae. Don’t you love going to Tommy’s for a margarita because they make their very own version of the drink there? And it’s still a margarita, right?

And for those folk who still insist that the original formula is the only way to go, I applaud your stubbornness—and hope you’ve managed to locate the same brands of gin and vermouth as Count Negroni used back in 1919 . . .

For this book, I’ve traveled far and wide to ferret out the absolute best Negroni recipes—variations, riffs, abominations, whatever you want to call them—in the world. Some are pretty darned close to the gin-vermouth-Campari version we’re all familiar with. Others swap in unusual and unexpected modifiers, base spirits, and amari. Some look and feel like a classic Negroni but reveal themselves to be strikingly different upon first sip. Others aren’t even red. (“A white Negroni?” you say, aghast.)

What these drinks have in common is their complete and utter deliciousness. And they all owe their existence to the same forefather; they were all built on the same foundation. That foundation is the Negroni, born in Italy (we think), under circumstances that are still fiercely debated to this day, and which I will try to outline for you in the pages that follow.
East India Negroni

Jim Meehan, PDT, New York City

According to Jim, “Lustau’s East India Solera sherry is similar in style to the fortified wine that botanist Joseph Banks might have stocked when he sailed with Captain James Cook, the British explorer, in the late 1700s, and it’s a great stand-in for sweet vermouth in this sugarcane-based variation on the classic gin drink.”

2 ounces Banks 5-Island rum
3⁄4 ounce Lustau East India
Solera sherry
3⁄4 ounce Campari
Garnish: 1 orange twist

Stir all the ingredients with ice in a mixing glass, then strain into a rocks glass over 1 large ice cube. Garnish with the orange twist.

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The Negroni: a gaz regan notion

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013


I’m really happy with this new book in its splendiferous colorful state, and beautifully designed by the wondrous Anistatia Miller of Mixellany, Ltd.  There’s a little surprise within these pages that you’ll not see in the table of contents, but if you turn to page 156 you’ll not only hear my true thoughts about a certain David Wondrich, you’ll also find a first-hand account of an American newspaperman meeting the one and only Count Camillo Negroni in Italy, circa 1928.  Thank you, Mister Wondrich.  Here’s a teaser:

“I went out to the Rockies in the late ‘80s and fell in love with the country. I learned enough about stud, keno and faro to get broke and stay that way. Punching horses suited me to death and I went adventuring over the ranges.” [Count Negroni’s] colloquial English was shot with a strong Italian accent, though he nursed his glass like an old-time broncho buster—with the entire right hand.


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