25 January 2015

Death & Co





Death & Co is how I have been feeling lately, but I won't bore you with the details.  But I will try to start posting on a regular basis. 

So Death & Co was a Christmas gift.  Every year my friend, Ann, goes to my Amazon Wish List and buys me cookbooks.  But in the last few years, she has also gone a bit rogue by choosing an extra book she pick on her own.  This year, that book was Death & Co.

When I opened it, I told her that I was, indeed glad to get the book.  It had sold out at many bookstores shortly before Christmas and was quite a find.  Ann said proudly, "I know you like books about offal."   Now here was a dilemma.  Do I say but this is not a book about offal, it's a cocktail book?  Do I ignore the comment?  Does it matter?

Not really.  While Ann loves to eat, she is not a big cook, so it really didn't matter.  "It's a cocktail book," I said and Ann seemed pleased as she will drink cocktails but won't eat offal, so it was  kind of a "win/win" for both of us.

Death & Co is the cocktail book from the bar of the same name.  It has been that IT place to go in New York for grand chefs, hipster dudes, and other mere mortals.  The reason that there is so much respect for this bar is because they know their stuff.  David Kaplan, Alex Day, and Nick Fauchald have committed to paper the aesthetics of the bar. 

In the old days of cocktails, a gin and tonic was a gin and tonic.  Now days, there are hundreds of gins and more than a few different tonics.  (As the owner of over 15 gins and and a handful of tonic options, let me just say how happy I am about the proliferation of independent spirits, but I digress....) Today's world is filled with craft spirits, each having its own taste and flavor.  Add hundreds of new spirits to an equal number of new bitters and mixers and cocktails are exploding every where.

Death & Co like a good cocktail offers up a base of history, a bit of technique, a dash of science and mixes it together into a cocktail book that will stand the test of time.  Yes, fifty years from now, your grandchildren will be thumbing your old copy of Death & Co in their first apartment in Brooklyn...or probably Hoboken, as Brooklyn is already too expensive for you to live there!  The real question is how many of these specific "craft" spirits will still be here fifty years form now or even ten years from now?

My very favorite of all time gin, Veranda, had only a brief run over a decade ago in Vermont.  It was before every other disgruntled business owner opened a distillery.  It was before anyone ever mentioned craft spirits or cared that much about cocktails.  Still, it was sublime.  Then it was gone.  What makes Death & Co such a comprehensive work, its detail to specific ingredients, might just be the death of the book in the future.  So before we lose this wealth of glorious ingredients, get out there and have a drink.  While you may not be able to afford Brooklyn, you may be able to still drink one.


Brooklyn

2 ounces Rittenhouse 100 Rye
3/4 ounce Dolin Dry Vermouth
1/4 ounce Amaro Ciociaro
1 teaspoon Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur

Stir all the ingredients over ice, then strain into a coupe.  No garnish


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