Craft cocktail books are not hard to find anymore. Unfortunately, finding a good mixing guide for an aspiring home mixologist is rare. Like I say, there are great books out there but when every recipe calls for one or more exotic spirits that have to be special ordered, the books looses some of it’s practical appeal (looking at you Dead Rabbit). Maloney’s The Bartender’s Manifesto is manifestly not in that rarified and unapproachable category. Maloney’s Manifesto is eminently practical and approachable for the home mixologist who wants to pick up pro tips to refine their game or is just starting out and obsesses about doing it right. Be aware, though, that The Manifesto will make demands of you. This is not a book about 100 recipes using 10 simple ingredients. You’ll need to start stocking your bar. The difference here is that Maloney’s shopping list includes good quality but very useful spirits. These are not bottles that will get used once and sit on your shelf for 10 years. Investing in these bottles will build a perfectly usable tool chest that will be used for hundreds of different cocktails and will fuel your experimentation for years to come.
The book begins with the basics; a bit of the science and chemistry of the art form. Maloney teaches us just enough about finding the balance of booze, water, texture, aroma, and temperature. Just enough is discussed of the tools such as the shaker and the glasses with guidance on when and how to use them. However, this book will not teach you the difference between a Boston Shaker and a Cobbler Shaker. You’ll need to research some of the basics on your own. Maloney will be teaching us the how and why of mixology as practiced at The Velvet Hour. But that is perfect for the audience I expect this book to appeal to. The aspiring home mixologist will likely have the curiosity and drive to research on their own if they haven’t already. The Manifesto guides and refines.
The real meat of the book is in the recipes. Plan to take your time with each recipe. Set a goal to try one or two a week. You will want to be able to experiment and absorb the lessons The Manifesto teaches. As I mentioned, the ingredients are accessible and practical. By pacing your journey through the book you will build your home bar along with your skills and palette. The most valuable part of the who Manifesto is that each recipe includes commentary on how the fundamentals from the first part of the book come into play to make the cocktail perfect…and how you can mess it up. This isn’t just a recipe. Each recipe is a lesson in the master class that is Maloney’s Manifesto. Pay attention to his tasting notes as you craft each cocktail.
If this is your first craft cocktail book, you won’t be disappointed. It’s a great start. If you are an experienced mixologist, this is a masterclass and you will not be disappointed.
Favorite recipes from The Manifesto (so far)
- Rhymes with Orange (p. 204)
- Blue Ridge Manhattan (p. 156)
- Bitter Giuseppe (p. 109)
- The Libertine (p. 90)
- Negroni Tredici (p. 261)