I'm taking a moment to feature The Periodic Table of Cocktails, a book written by Emma Stokes (widely known to many as GinMonkey) who is our best-est Gin-drinking buddy. How she had time for it given the vast amount of everything else she seems to fit into her life is beyond me, neither-the-less she has still produced a book that in my opinion is a perfect starting point for those starting to explore the world of cocktails. It should be top of the list of for anyone wondering what to get for a friend or family member who loves booze this Christmas.
Is it exhaustive in terms of cocktail recipes? No – the format of the book (and series of books) links it into the famous Periodic Table of Chemical Elements. In this case, Emma has carefully chosen 106 serves and grouped them by spirit base and serve format. Clever right? If you like tequila, then you’ve 10 options to explore. But say you like your cocktail booze lead, then you can explore the left-hand side of the table. Longer serves occupy the right-hand side, although the distinction isn’t as black and white as that statement sounds.
The individual cell in the table is the cocktail, with its unique number in the top left corner. The number of ingredients in the serve is indicated by the number in the top right corner. A further nice touch is the progression of spirit base from the top to the bottom of the table. Light through to heavy in terms of spirit flavour. With all this assistance, gazing on the table very quickly allows you to select an option that reflects your personal preference or libation mood.
If I was being picky – a third number in each cell would quickly allow me to jump to the appropriate page number for the recipe and details, but then again, that wouldn’t fit with the format of the periodic table would it?
Each style of drinks gets a nice summary introduction with sufficent background to help educate the reader. There are contributions from Emma’s extensive drinks industry network, that lend their input to give further authenticity and colour to the book. It’s here that I’m almost a little embarrassed to admit that even I get a mention. Emma wanted to talk about Mai Tai’s and who was I to turn her down? Thank you Emma – I’m honoured to be in such esteemed company.
It goes without saying that this is a wonderful Christmas gift idea. As I mentioned before – it’s probably best for those starting out, although I suspect there’s something for everyone here. Plenty of classic serves featured, but also plenty that allow the format to work even if they aren’t the most well-known – so there’s room to explore. What you won't get is pages of background and investigation on the Negroni for example - other books pick up that sort of challenge. Great price too – an RRP of £9.99 (with Amazon listing it at an absolute steal of only £6.99). I can see it being an invaluable reference for us as we dabble with spirits outside our much-loved rum base (did I ever tell you I’ve a love for tequila as well?).
Great concept, well interpreted. Strong work Emma!
ISBN: 978 1 785 03166 3