A sparkling handbook for bartenders and aficionados, full of intriguing information and literary charm.

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RECIPES & HISTORIES OF CLASSIC COCKTAILS

Readers can bone up on the lore of iconic cocktails while they learn how to make them with this mixological primer.

Oh, a London bartender, offers an encyclopedic overview of noted drinks, from the absinthe frappé (concocted of absinthe, sugar syrup, and soda water) to the zombie (a symphony of gold rum, Jamaican rum, Demarra rum, lime juice, falernum, absinthe, angostura bitters, grenadine, white grapefruit juice, and cinnamon syrup). The author tackles icons like the Manhattan and the margarita along with obscure gems like the monkey gland, which was inspired, it is averred, by a Russian doctor who pioneered primate-to-human testicle transplants. Each alphabetical entry gives simple recipes for making the drink and its major variants along with deep drafts of backstory on its origins and naming quirks—the Alaska was invented in South Carolina, it seems, and the coffee cocktail has no coffee—as well as the bartender(s) who developed it and famous barflies who imbibed it. Hemingway, of course, is the book’s presiding spirit. Readers meet him drinking mojitos at La Bodeguita, daiquiris at El Floridita, and Bellinis at Harry’s Bar in Venice and composing his own cocktail, the Death in the Afternoon, from absinthe and Champagne. Like any good barroom discourse, Oh’s beguiling work happily dives into arcane trivia. “Martin Cate makes a compelling case that the Martinique style rum Vic was talking about was not the AOC rhum agricoles we assume from Martinique (made with pressed sugar cane juice) but rather molasses based ‘rhum traditionnels,’ ” the author explains in a passage on the provenance of the mai tai that will satisfy the cognoscenti. But his writing finds poetry in every aspect of a drink, from the serving temperature (“An ice-cold Martini is like the first sip of water for a desert strandee—nectar from the gods; a warm one is a human rights violation”) to mixing techniques (“Always stir a Martini; it should be limpid, liquid silk—not aerated and light from shaking”). The volume is also a feast for the eyes, with color photographs by Bragg and an amber color scheme that draws the eye like the glowing depths of a whiskey bottle. Readers will savor Oh’s prose as much as they do the libations that flow from his recipes.

A sparkling handbook for bartenders and aficionados, full of intriguing information and literary charm.

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-91-621550-4

Page Count: -

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 7, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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The lessons to draw are obvious: Smoke more dope, eat less meat. Like-minded readers will dig it.

F*CK IT, I'LL START TOMORROW

The chef, rapper, and TV host serves up a blustery memoir with lashings of self-help.

“I’ve always had a sick confidence,” writes Bronson, ne Ariyan Arslani. The confidence, he adds, comes from numerous sources: being a New Yorker, and more specifically a New Yorker from Queens; being “short and fucking husky” and still game for a standoff on the basketball court; having strength, stamina, and seemingly no fear. All these things serve him well in the rough-and-tumble youth he describes, all stickball and steroids. Yet another confidence-builder: In the big city, you’ve got to sink or swim. “No one is just accepted—you have to fucking show that you’re able to roll,” he writes. In a narrative steeped in language that would make Lenny Bruce blush, Bronson recounts his sentimental education, schooled by immigrant Italian and Albanian family members and the mean streets, building habits good and bad. The virtue of those habits will depend on your take on modern mores. Bronson writes, for example, of “getting my dick pierced” down in the West Village, then grabbing a pizza and smoking weed. “I always smoke weed freely, always have and always will,” he writes. “I’ll just light a blunt anywhere.” Though he’s gone through the classic experiences of the latter-day stoner, flunking out and getting arrested numerous times, Bronson is a hard charger who’s not afraid to face nearly any challenge—especially, given his physique and genes, the necessity of losing weight: “If you’re husky, you’re always dieting in your mind,” he writes. Though vulgar and boastful, Bronson serves up a model that has plenty of good points, including his growing interest in nature, creativity, and the desire to “leave a legacy for everybody.”

The lessons to draw are obvious: Smoke more dope, eat less meat. Like-minded readers will dig it.

Pub Date: April 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4478-5

Page Count: 184

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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